White Oleander by Janet Fitch {Book Review}

I first read this book in my late teens and I loved it for what I understood from it at that age.

I’ve also sent the movie a couple of times and it has remained one of my favourites over the years.

I spotted the book last year in my local second-hand store and snatched it up as the copy I read was a borrowed one.

It’s true what people say about reading the same book at different ages and seeing things for the first time, thanks to experiences and maturity to understand concepts I didn’t pick up on the first time.

DISCLAIMER: This review could contain possible spoilers based on my opinions. All opinions and views are my own.

Book Review: White Oleander by Janet Fitch #bookreview #bibliophile #BookAddict #bookworm #BookAholic


Astrid’s whole world revolves around her mother, Ingrid.

When Ingrid is imprisoned for the murder of her lover, Astrid is placed into the foster care system, spends time with different families and learning difficult lessons along the way. No matter what home she finds herself in, something always goes wrong.

Along the way, she has to go on a self-discovery journey, unlearn everything her mother has poisoned her mind with and discover who she is.


This book isn’t a quick read, not a slow pace exactly but you need time to wrap your head around the simple and the mystical writing styles and soak it all in.

The complex relationship of a mother and daughter is explored and the need to know your own identity, outside of what you’ve been conditioned with your whole life.

The negligence of a mother is very present in the theme and shows the consequences of a deprived upbringing, as well as adjusting to the real world when that presence is removed.

The depth of emotion ranges from obsession to hatred. The realisation of how you’ve been raised to view the world and how it owes you nothing. The book is emotionally draining, and not in the negative sense. It has serious themes to get a handle on and you should be in the right state of mind when reading this book. It can become a dark and depressing read.

The book deals with grief, family, identity, betrayal, suicide, substance abuse and so much more. The psychological complexity isn’t to go unnoticed, without it this book would’ve been just another drama to collect dust on the bookshelf.

The book makes you feel things, even if you can’t relate to every situation and emotion the characters went through, there’s some connection to draw a line to.

It also carries an important message for all to remember and apply to their own lives, that the closest people to us aren’t always good for us, and how important it is to break away from the toxicity. Even if it involves close family.

The book deserves all the praise it received, and should still be receiving as time goes on.


If you’re going to read this book for anything, read it for the poetic language. Words used in this book are deliberately choices to carry on the message of the book, and leave you thinking and comparing your own upbringing and what lacked there.

My Rating:

The book has a rating of 3.98 on GoodReads. I gave it a 5.

White Oleander by Janet Fitch {Book Review} #bookreview #bibliophile #BookAddict #bookworm #BookAholic

Have you read White Oleander?

You can purchase it here.

Do you have a book you want reviewed?
Send me an email: sincerelyyoursannie@gmail.com

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