Friday, 29 April 2016

"My Name is Lucy Barton" by Elizabeth Strout

"There was all sorts of unhappiness in Shirley Falls that night.  If Isabelle Goodrow had been able to lift the roof off various houses and peer into their domestic depths she would have found an assortment of human miseries."

Elizabeth Strout
   This is a quote from "Amy and Isabelle" by Elizabeth Strout.
   And this seems to be what Elizabeth does best- take the roof off the house to show the human misery inside.

I enjoyed "Abide With Me" about a widowed minister, Tyler, who was ineffective with his congregation and a disaster as a parent. This book was well-written with a great introduction, interesting development of characters, and a satisfying ending.

"Amy and Isabelle" was about a mother and daughter.  Amy, a high school student is in love with her math teacher.  Her mother, Isabelle, is filled with shame both about her daughter and her own past.
I enjoyed this book because of the beautiful writing.

"Olive Kitteridge" was interesting because it was about human nature.  It was not a direct narrative, but episodic with related stories- all relating to Olive, a very flawed woman.
Quote: 'Olive is a little of each of us'.  
We discussed this book at the library book club and it was not well-liked.  But I did appreciate the point that we are all flawed and searching for love and connection. 
Once again, I loved the writing.

   And so, we come to Elizabeth Strout's new book- "My Name is Lucy Barton"
    Lucy Barton, a young mother of two, is searching desperately for validation from her mother who comes to sit by her bed in the hospital for five days, then disappears from her life again.
   The chapters alternate between scenes from Lucy's sad childhood and the hospital room with her mother sitting at the end of the bed.
   "Lonely was the first flavour I had tasted in my life and it was always there, hidden inside the crevices of my mouth, reminding me."
   An incredibly sad book about the pain that lasts a lifetime.

Yes, Elizabeth Strout continues to take the roof off each house to expose human misery.

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