This short and sweet book is written in third person POV through the eyes of Olive. Beautifully written, I felt transported into the magical and confusing world of a child, particularly one who is medically fragile. The reader is as confused as Olive is as she undergoes doctor visits and procedures, the reader interprets the world through smells and slight facial expressions as she does. We feel the fear of unknown as Olive does, but also the simple joys of being loved and comforted. Aside from the beautiful cover, pleasant typeface, and creative, clear writing, what makes this a 5 star book to me is that not only did I learn about a person very different from me, but it was a reminder and lesson for how I parent my children. Barbara reminded me through her story to slow down, to sing, and to fill my home with smells of hospitality. I’m adding to my to-do list to slow down with the laundry, it doesn’t need to be put away so quickly! But instead let’s pile op freshly dried, warm linens to snuggle into. She reminded me that my young toddlers are watching me, are watching my husband, and are watching me and my husband together. She reminded me that home is a safe place, and family is a safe place. How will I make my home and relationships safe and comfortable? I desire to fill our house with soft things, pretty lights, boxes of toys that we can play with together, and the ever present hope and delight of Jesus coming.
Like Nothing You’ve Ever Read Before
When the book came in I honestly thought to myself I was going to breeze through it…. but with Olive, you just can’t. This book is like nothing I’ve ever read before. It is an amazing story of a child with physical and developmental disabilities, including non-verbal communication. Now, I’m sure you’re curious as to why I’m saying that it’s like nothing I’ve ever read. The answer: the book is written in the point of view of the non-verbal main character! Y’all, when I tell you thought provoking and inspiring… it’s a total understatement. This sweet, short book, BLEW MY MIND. Being inside Olive’s head changed my sympathy to empathy and changed my heart for those with struggles even more than it already had been changed from my years in the public school system. I will be reading this book aloud to my girls in the coming months. They NEED to see the thoughts inside the head of someone they do not understand. I want to read this awesome book to my children so that when they meet Olive they can love her well.
Truth, Beauty, and Goodness
Olive is… you guys, I can’t even. I’ve tried to write this review a hundred times and I just can’t. Olive is the gentlest invitation to watch and listen; to savor our gifts. Throughout reading Olive, I was on the verge of tears and of laughing out loud all at the same time and I just couldn’t put my finger on why. I think maybe it was Barbara’s narrative style. I’m usually annoyed by descriptions. I skim over them to get to the “good stuff”, but she sucked me right in. I felt part of this little one and her family’s journey. It was just wonderful! My 12 year old daughter read it too and said, “Please tell Mrs. Braendlein that this is the best book. I’m going to tell all my friends about it.” So, please read this book. Share it with your people. We all sure could use some more watching and listening.
James S. Miller
The Perspective Change You Need
“Olive” is a captivating story that beckons readers to reap the benefits of stepping away from their usual perspective, even for a moment, to view the world from someone else’s eyes. This is a lesson we need now more than ever: to know that everyone has a story whether or not you understand it; every life has value whether or not you see the depth of it; and every one of us thrives on human connections. Read the book– it may be the perspective change you need right now.
Give it to your kids to read. It’s a delightful story of a special needs girl who doesn’t want your pity, but to show you how to love life, fight for it, and be happy. Mothers will find it a convicting reminder of how we are the atmosphere of our homes and children will be shown the world from a different set of eyes. I can’t quite place my finger on why, but it reminded me of Little House in the Big Woods.
This is the kind of story our world needs
I loved this book for its window into the world of a little girl who loves life, even though her life is not like everyone else’s. Olive is full of joy at the (seemingly) smallest of things, yet they’re actually the big things. The beauty of homemaking and the effect of attentive loving parents is on every page, as well as the comfort, courage, and strength it gives to Olive. I found this book heartwarming, real, thought provoking and inspiring.
A heartwarming bouquet
I recently reconnected with a good old friend. You know those people who feel like home? I love that. There are only a few friends who can do that obviously, but it’s a great feeling, especially when your family lives across an ocean. This amazing friend, who is so authentic, has gone through so much and also happens to have written a book. (This is something I’m sure I told her a bazillion times to do). This book is beautifully written. It makes me want to lick melted butter off fresh crumbly bread, roll around in a pile of freshly dried laundry, carve a giant orange pumpkin, kick over a Christmas tree, sip hot cocoa and return to the idea of having one best friend for life. This book is a heartwarming bouquet and it was a gift being able to read it.