The debut novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author, Emma Gannon.

Knows her own mind.

OLIVE is many things, and it’s ok that she’s still figuring it all out, navigating her world without a compass. But life comes with expectations, there are choices to be made, boxes to tick and – sometimes – stereotypes to fulfil. And when her best friends’ lives start to branch away towards marriage and motherhood, leaving the path they’ve always followed together, Olive starts to question her choices – because life according to Olive looks a little bit different.

Moving, memorable and a mirror for every woman at a crossroads, OLIVE has a little bit of all of us. Told with great warmth and nostalgia, this is a modern tale about the obstacle course of adulthood, milestone decisions and the ‘taboo’ about choosing not to have children.



This was a refreshing read as it features a character who has chosen not to have children, and they seem very rare in a lot of fiction nowadays! It centres around her and her group of friends who have been together since Uni and the ups and downs that follow the lives of the women as they follow different paths.

Olive has a really great career as a journalist and you get the impression she always has her writer head on all the time as she does tend to over analyze every situation she finds herself on – my only gripe about the character! – and those thoughts then plague her response as she lets them fester.

As her friends around her begin to get married and have kids, she finds herself becoming an ‘outsider’ to their conversations and I can totally relate to her on that account! When she is suffering personally she doesn’t find it easy to share what she is going through as there’s always something else going on in their lives so she tends to keep things to herself and try to work through them, but does find salvation in the form of her elderly neighbour Dorothy and that was a really touching aspect of the book.

Her ex is still on the scene as they obviously still care for each other, it was just the issue of babies that split them. He wanted them, she didn’t. And it really captured the battle of emotions – the little comments of ‘you’ll change your mind’ to name but one! – that she faces over ‘her choice’! This book really does explore the judgement of others over a choice made by an individual that doesn’t fit the social norm! Why should young girls just grow up wanting to get married and have babies?! And why are those who choose not to do those things judged so much by others?

Olive gets to see that the life choices of her friends who she thinks have it all together, aren’t quite as great as she imagined and I think that helps show the balance between women on either side of the debate! As she investigates the ‘child free’ lifestyle for part of the article she is writing she meets a variety of people who think the same way as her, and those who offer therapy for women to change their mind.

I really enjoyed the wide range of angles about the debate that this book throws up and found it a really easy read. Seeing how their lives change over the years when looking back but what counts is the friendships that endure over the years despite the hiccups along the way. A really interesting read and nice to see a character in Olive that doesn’t conform! If only we lived in a world where others respected other people’s choices!!