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Sweet, ingenuous memoire-type novel. Like the character, Lucy Barton, much lies beneath a deceptively simple surface. Evocative and memorable.
It was a very short book and I found it to be rather sad. I didn't see any joy in the story even the talks with her mother whom she hasn't seem for years. I found it to be a rather dark tale and in a way I enjoyed it but I was glad it was short.
The chapter are extremely short and go between Lucy's time in the hospital looking at the Empire State building and the rest of her life. I couldn't put it down.
Now New Yorker Lucy Barton is in the hospital for weeks with a hard-to-diagnose issue following surgery. She wakes one day to find her estranged mother sitting at the foot of her bed. The book is their conversations. Heartfelt and funny.
I read "My Name Is Lucy Barton" by Elizabeth Strout in 2016 when it first came out. I sped right through it, as it is a short book that draws you into the story of Lucy, her childhood and adult life. I recently reread it because I read Strout's new book, "Anything Is Possible" and Lucy Barton reappears in this book. Reading it a second time did not disappoint me. Strout does an amazing job developing Lucy's character. Her description of Lucy's childhood home and of he stay at the hospital paint a very vivid picture for the reader; it is as if you are sitting in the room as Lucy and her mother share memories and stories with each other. These conversations show us the complexity of relationships, especially the one between mothers and daughters. A thoughtful, compelling read.
This book is easy to relate to and the interest factor sky rockets. I just don't like the tone of the book. It comes off as sorrowful and melancholy although I liked the book very much.
Didn't know where this book was going while I was reading. Plus, it never really gave us any type of closure on things. It was very blah. But it was a quick read.
A very enjoyable book and very well written. It's like sitting down to have a long conversation with a friend you've just met. The imperfectness of people and experiences makes us who we are and in the end it's up to us to fulfill our own needs.
One of those "small but almost perfect" books. It reminded me of Vivien Gornick in it's love of Manhattan. Lucy can see part of the city from her hospital bed, where she is having a disjointed, but revealing conversation with her dysfunctional mother. I read it when I was on Sick Leave. It is not a Sick Leave book in my opinion. Staff Pickles.
I think the meaning of this book was lost on me, perhaps I missed the point. I don't feel like she got the closure on her childhood that she so seemingly wanted. I give it a solid "meh."
Lucy Barton lies in a New York hospital bed, seriously ill, watching the lights in the Chrysler Building. Complications have set in after an appendectomy and she is frightened and desperately missing her two young daughters. Her husband has called her mother to come, and she has. She is sitting beside the bed, not sleeping.
The two women have been estranged for years and the mother keeps the conversation light, circling between anecdotes about shared acquaintances from the past. This is a conversation where the important things are left unsaid, as they always have been....
The narrative is simply told in retrospect, after Lucy – a published and accomplished writer- has recovered from her illness and moved on to another phase of her life. Despite its 200 plus pages, the layout of the text provides a much shorter text, in brief chapters and surrounded by much blank paper. It is more novella than novel and it evokes the author’s earlier Olive Kitteridge in its knife-sharp approach to relationships. I’m bemused by reviews that focus on the love between mother and daughter. I find it far more unsettling and much darker than that.
For my full review see: https://residentjudge.wordpress.com/2017/01/31/my-name-is-lucy-barton-by-elizabeth-strout/
Wonderful yet bleak stories from a childhood revisited. How do we become who we are?
At 191 pages it is perfect for a book group. Lucy Barton's estranged mother comes to keep her company while she is in hospital with strange illness. It reminded me of a fictional "Glass Castle". Without a scintilla of sentimentality she lets us see a hard scrabble childhood and family ties that create both misery and solace.
Lucy wakes up in a hospital room to discover that she is with her mother whom she has not seen for many years. Lucy wants to start with a clean slate and forget her tortured childhood but her relationship with her mother is tense at best. They try to find some middle ground by reminiscing about old times, friends, and family. This is a touching story about the love, understanding and relationship between a mother and daughter.
This little book is indeed quiet, even though some of the thoughts of Lucy beg for screaming. This woman is the product of her upbringing in a family where the parents have little or no concept of being parents. Love is never shown and may not even be present - at least that is how Lucy sees it. The major part of the book recounts Lucy's time in hospital with an infection. Her mother comes and sits with her for an entire week, all the while reminiscing about the past in short almost wordless conversations. I found this book to be somewhat haunting. I was drawn in to Lucy's mind and was intrigued by both her craving for affirmation and her willingness to accept hurt. Although a quick read, I had to stop from time to time to absorb the story and its implications for Lucy.
I was drawn into this book - the characters were compelling. There was a quietness to the writing. The story seemed incomplete; more like a collection of thoughts and images. Shades of The Glass Castle.
I like the way Strout portraits people with the conflict between rich and poor, mother and daughter, warmth and coldness in our world.
I've read four books now by this author and she knows how to tap into our psyche and that of her characters.
In this novel, Strout is able to communicate the thoughts and emotions of a woman who is lonely and insecure, damaged by her childhood. Her yearning is palpable. The relationship of Lucy with her mother rings true and is heart-breaking although the author never resorts to sentimentality.
Lovely but sad. Not a conventional story. It flits from adulthood to childhood. It's about Lucy Barton & her struggle with an awful childhood. So much is unsaid, that makes it so desperate in some ways.
After loving Olive Kitteridge I was looking forward to another story that would grab me in a similar way but this book did not. The characters were strangely abstract and hard to empathize with.
My first book by pulitzer prize winning Elizabeth Stout was not a disappointment. A poignant look at a woman's struggle with her awful childhood. It's what Lucy does not say that is the most frightening and upsetting. You really want to feel close to the character but she doesn't let you. In the end you feel a sense of loss for the woman who never felt any validity to her life. It's almost as if the story is told in the third person, which help to distance you from Lucy. Disturbing and brilliant.
All this I love you I love you I love you Love You ..said repeatedly ad nauseum these days is laughable , ridiculous. Talk about overkill! In former days we just knew we were loved...cared for, clothed, educated etc. Get on with it!
I loved this book and disliked it at the same time. There was so much she left unspoken. The story was sparse yet beautiful and left you with the sense of wanting to comfort Lucy. This is the story of extreme poverty, physical as well as mental. I think Lucy was more damaged than she realized by her childhood and all the unspoken events she hinted at. It was less of a story and more of a rambling thought process.
This book gives a very insightful look into the nuances of mental instability and how it affects family dynamics. It may not appear to be well written, but the reader must remember that the main character's viewpoint also suffers from mental instability (most likely from her upbringing).