Review: Hating Olivia

Hating Olivia Book Cover

Hating Olivia
By Mark SaFranko
HarperCollins
November 2010
262pp

The Short of It:

Hating Olivia is about obsession and lust and how easily we can lose ourselves when we are confronted with it.

The Rest of It:

Max is the type of guy who cruises through life. He’s educated, but unfocused. He would rather write, than make ends meet but the writing doesn’t happen too often. Although a bit unstable when it comes to finances, overall he’s a pretty happy guy.

Enter Olivia Aphrodite. Olivia is drop-dead gorgeous. She too, is not too stable in the finance department and has made a living working dead-end jobs and letting men (with money), take “care” of her.

Although their personalities are quite different, Max and Olivia move in together and it goes downhill from there.

The story is told from Max’s point of view so what we get is the incredible frustration he experiences in loving a creature like Olivia. Max is consumed by her and completely obsessed with her. As their relationship progresses, he realizes that he needs to break it off, but how? How does one extract himself from an addiction such as this?

I must tell you right off, that there is a lot of sex in this little novel. A lot of sex, and a lot of language that you may not be comfortable with. Putting that aside, I found myself able to relate to both characters. Although you may never experience a relationship such as the one Max has with Olivia, you’ve probably known someone who has.

The story is a bit repetitive because this couple flounders over and over again while trying to make it work. But there was something about the novel that kept me reading. Perhaps, I wanted Max to find a way out. Perhaps it was a bit like watching a train wreck. Either way, I could not pull myself away from the novel and found myself completely wrapped-up in the story.

The writing is tight and the characters never waver. Also, Max is quite the reader so there are lots of literary references that you might enjoy. Overall, I enjoyed reading it even though it’s not something I would have normally picked-up on my own.

Source: Sent to me by the publisher.

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12 thoughts on “Review: Hating Olivia”

  1. I have not heard of this book, but yet, by the way you described it, I think I would love it — thanks so much.

  2. I haven’t seen Blue Valentine yet, but it seems like it may have a similar theme. I’m actually interested in this book now (does that make me unstable? haha).

  3. Too much of anything is not a good thing–and for me that encompasses sex and language in a book. A little is fine, but it gets tiresome after a while. Great review though! I will be passing on this one….
    *smiles*
    Oh–and how is the Boy feeling? Have you got any more answers? Thinking of you….

    1. We have an appointment with a specialist tomorrow. The office is clear across town, right smack in the middle of the day so it will be an all day thing. I hope we get some answers. He’s not been doing well and came down with pneumonia from the shallow breathing.

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