I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
Published by Random House on January 12, 2016
Genres: Contemporary Women, Domestic Life, Family Life
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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.
I have been wanting to read an Elizabeth Strout novel for a while now. I have had her book Olive Kitteridge for over a year and have not read it yet. So when I saw her newest novel My Name Is Lucy Barton on Netgalley, I immediately requested it. This examines the life of a mother, wife and author named Lucy Barton. It centers on a time when she is hospitalized and her estranged mother comes to visit her in the hospital. Those five days with her mother branch out to have a far reaching impact on the rest of her life.
Moving fluidly between the different stages of Lucy’s life, childhood, marriage, motherhood and beyond My Name Is Lucy Barton is a wide-sweeping tale of the heart of a person. This is not a read where anything is solved, great questions are debated, family rifts are healed or the like. It is more of a stream of thought bouncing around a life well lived and highlighting certain instances that helped shape who Lucy Barton is. I usually don’t care for this type of book, but the lyrical quality of the writing propelled this past the ordinary and made you feel as if the main character was actually speaking to you.
The world built was strong, the pacing was a little disjointing at first as chapters can leap twenty years forward or back, but by a few chapters in it was unnoticeable. The characters were strong and believable. It was the writing, however, that elevated this novel. It was so entrenched in emotion, each sentence built so beautifully on the previous. Elizabeth Strout is truly a gem of a writer and My Name Is Lucy Barton is a gem of a read.
Favorite lines – I have met many people, even from the Midwest, who tell me that you cannot hear the corn growing, and they are wrong. You cannot hear my heart breaking, and I know that part is true, but to me, they are inseparable, the sound of growing corn and the sound of my heart breaking.
Biggest cliché – “Going home again will invalidate all of my current life choices.”
Have you read My Name Is Lucy Barton, or added it to your TBR?