My Name is Lucy Barton

My Name is Lucy Barton

by Elizabeth Strout

Overview: #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A new book by Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout is cause for celebration. Her bestselling novels, including Olive Kitteridge and The Burgess Boys, have illuminated our most tender relationships. Now, in My Name Is Lucy Barton, this extraordinary writer shows how a simple hospital visit becomes a portal to the most tender relationship of all—the one between mother and daughter.

Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn’t spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy’s childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lie the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy’s life: her escape from her troubled family, her desire to become a writer, her marriage, her love for her two daughters. Knitting this powerful narrative together is the brilliant storytelling voice of Lucy herself: keenly observant, deeply human, and truly unforgettable.

Debbie Weiss (03/11/16): I actually liked this book much more than I thought I would. I was one of the few people who was not wild about Olive Kitteredge, an earlier book by this author.

This book is a story of a relationship between a mother and a daughter. It was a difficult childhood for Lucy and she was able to escape her dysfunctional family right after high school. She married after college and lived at a distance from her mother and father and brother. She went many years without seeing them or communicating with them.

After a minor surgery, Lucy becomes quite ill and has to remain in the hospital for many weeks. Her husband has to care for the two young children so he contacts Lucy's mother and asks her to come visit to keep Lucy company so she would not be all alone.

It is not like the two of them immediately reestablish a loving, warm relationship. None-the-less, through conversations about people they both knew when Lucy was young, they do establish a renewed connection, fragile as it might be.

Any daughter who has wanted approval from her mother will be able to relate to this story. It made me sad, actually, that when I put the book down I was not able to call my mother and chat. It made me miss her even more than I already do.
Rating:****

Faith Bowers (01/26/16): The novel cocoons you. You enter her space and feel comforted even though the familial topics are tough based on a very poor dysfunctional family growing up in the 1960s. Ms Strout draws you in and you want to be a part of the connection between mother and daughter. They were never connected this way before and have something new to share that is so much nicer than Lucy's childhood.

The book is written in the first person of Lucy and we learn who she is and where she comes from. This is the first book that I truly liked that is also about what is not written in the words we read.
Rating:*****

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