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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.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Bonny on 01-15-16
Because we all love imperfectly.
A character in My Name is Lucy Barton says "I like writers who try to tell you something truthful," and Elizabeth Strout has done just that. This book feels almost like the reader is being told a once-upon-a-time recounting of Lucy's life and relationships, in a personal, intimate conversation with her. It begins to feel like we are sitting at Lucy's bedside, along with her mother, as she recovers in the hospital. This experience is heightened by listening to the audiobook, with the excellent narration by Kimberly Farr.
“I write because I want the reader to read the book when they may need it,” Strout wrote in an email. “For example, when I first read ‘Mrs. Dalloway,’ I thought: ‘Wow, I really need this book!’ So I always hope that a reader will find the book when they need it, even if they didn’t know they needed it.”
And I did. I felt like Elizabeth Strout, through Lucy Barton, articulated and explained things I knew but couldn't express myself. The complexity of familial love, how things we wish we could hear from our loved ones just may not be possible for them to say, how we all love imperfectly, how we are all products of our background and experiences. I loved Olive Kitteridge, and My Name is Lucy Barton is even better.
28 of 30 people found this review helpful
By Kathy on 01-17-16
Too short (at first), of course, because Elizabeth Strout always leaves you wanting more, but the story she tells fits perfectly into these four hours. A great listen for a book group because you can identify the author's style and narrative ploys--you can see the "bones" of the book and how they support the whole. But if you just want to listen for the thoughtful, gentle, sneaky-smart observations that lace all the parts together, go for it. It's a fine and lovely listen. (I'm always distressed at those who review a "short" book and call the author lazy. Nonsense. It takes much more time and talent to "write short"!)
15 of 16 people found this review helpful