White Oleander is a 1999 novel by American author Janet Fitch. It is a coming-of-age story about a child, Astrid, who is separated from her mother, Ingrid, and placed in a series of foster homes. The book was a selection by Oprah's Book Club in May 1999 and became a 2002 film.
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- Then came a time I can hardly describe, a section underground. A bird trapped in a sewer, wings beating against the ceiling in that dark wet place, while the city rumbled on overhead. Her name was Lost. Her name was Nobody's Daughter.
- How it was. How it was the earth could open up under you and swallow you whole, close above you as if you never were. Like Persephone snatched by the god. The ground opened up and out he came, sweeping her into the black chariot. Then down they plunged, under the ground, into darkness, and the earth closed over her head, and she was gone, as if she had never been.
- People were just like that. We couldn't even see each other, just the shadows moving, pushed by unseen winds.
- This was an artist's stare, attentive to detail, taking in the truth without preconceptions. It was a stare that didn't turn away when I stared back, but was startled to find itself returned.
- Without my wounds, who was I? My scars were my face, my past was my life. It wasn't like I didn't know where all this remembering got you, all that hunger for beauty and astonishing cruelty and ever-present-loss.
- I had already seen more of the world, its beauty and misery and sheer surprise, than they could hope or fear to perceive.
- Don't attach yourself to anyone who shows you the least bit of attention because you're lonely. Loneliness is the human condition. No one is ever going to fill that space. The best you can do is know yourself... know what you want.