Tag Archives: Relationships

Transcontinental and Alone: White Oleander


I just got dumped by someone I was deeply in love with because she’s at a great distance and long distance doesn’t work anymore.

Also, I have read 3 nonfiction books recently and am thinking I’d like something more along the fiction front.

I’m more of a fan of the classics that postmodern, but am open.

Thoughts? What should I read next?


Waiting to Read in CA


Dear Waiting to Read,

Long distance relationships suck, let me tell you firsthand. I’ll spare you the details, but mine didn’t work out, either. Sometimes you can look past the distance and the fact that you’re in love with a voice on the other end of a phone, and sometimes, you’ve got to find your own way through the desert and live for yourself.

Maybe that’s why I related so much to “White Oleander”, by Janet Fitch. An intense firecracker of a novel, I’m recommending this one because it’s not about long distance relationships – not really. It’s about finding your own identity when you’ve been defined so long by someone else.  Possessing a narrative full of lush prose and amazing images, this book reads like poetry and non-fiction put together, if there is such a thing. It’s compelling, blunt, beautiful and painful, and it made me feel better after I was left bereft by the end of my own relationship.

Here’s the Goodreads summary:

When Astrid’s mother, a beautiful, headstrong poet, murders a former lover and is imprisoned for life, Astrid becomes one of the thousands of foster children in Los Angeles. As she navigates this new reality, Astrid finds strength in her unshakable certainty of her own worth and her unfettered sense of the absurd.

Sometimes, it’s about taking what you’ve learned from pain and beauty and applying it to your own life. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. It doesn’t mean that it won’t always hurt a little, especially if you’re really in love with someone. Astrid admits that hurt should show because it means you’re alive and stronger than before.

“In a perverse way, I was glad for the stitches, glad it would show, that there would be scars. What was the point in just being hurt on the inside? It should bloody well show.”

And she traces her way through a rough and horrible foster care experience, through “mothers” who were better and worse than her own, through different homes and different experiences, through being a broken child who grows into a broken woman. She’s broken, but she’s whole.

Without my wounds, who was I? My scars were my face, my past was my life.

The awesome thing about this book is that it’s not your stereotypical happy ending. That’s the main reason why I’m recommending it – it focuses on the journey and the learning. I think as a non-fiction reader, Waiting to Read, you’ll appreciate Astrid’s sometimes blunt, factual voice and harsh suffering better than an inspirational novel promising you everything will get better and be okay.

But here’s a tip from one who’s been there, who’s struggled, and who’s wearing her own scars proudly:

It’ll be okay.

Happy reading!

White Oleander, by Janet Fitch

White Oleander, by Janet Fitch