I am a proud Franco American. My original family name, Plourde, was changed by my great-grandfather or the census takers.

His direct ancestor, Rene Plourde, was one of the first farmer peasants to come to Quebec in the 1690s and there is a monument to him in St. Cyr/Traverse in Nouvelle Aquitaine, France. On my mother’s side we have Huguenot blood, and my ancestors on that side landed in the U.S. in the early 1700s.

I admire Rhea Côté Robbins, but disagree on every level with her assertion (Maine Voices, Jan. 11) that “Olive, Again” is in any way a racist or anti-French book. The main character is not the author. When readers assume this to be true, they are completely misunderstanding fiction. Because Tom Ewell is a horrible bigot, does that make Harper Lee a racist?

The character Olive Kitteridge is a complex character – one of the most intriguing in contemporary fiction. She is stubborn, opinionated and, at times, bigoted. Olive is above all else flawed, but still human. “Olive, Again” is one of Elizabeth Strout’s finest works.

Bruce Pratt

Swanville

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