Wednesday, February 24, 2016

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

"This must be the way most of us maneuver through the world, half knowing, half not, visited by memories that can't possibly be true."

This was beautifully written book.  It was powerful and raw and captured the very basic of human emotions and experiences.  It was about mothers and daughters and sisters and wives.  It was about what happens when love and security - the basic of all human needs - are not met and a family who struggles to survive despite that.

In this short book (176 pages) we meet Lucy Barton - a woman in the hospital for an extended stay after she develops an infection from what was suppose to be a simple operation.  We meet her mother who we soon learn that Lucy hasn't spoken to for years due to their trouble relationship.  Her mother stay for five days and during this time they talk mostly about family and friends from Lucy's past.  As the discuss ordinary things, Lucy gives readers glimpses into her troubled childhood living in poverty.  We get pieces of growing up and starting her writing career as well as her marriage and love of her two daughter.

This book was not at all what I expected it to be.  The story seems little disjointed and I kept wanting something more from the narrator, but I was never exactly sure what.  I think that was what the author was trying to do and, if so, she did it perfectly.  Lucy's story was complex and tragic and that for her family even more so.  The author was able to capture Lucy's character perfectly and readers began to slowly understand her as the pages unraveled - even though we only got a glimpse of the detail of her childhood.  I'm not sure that I would say that I enjoyed the book, but I defiantly appreciated the style and the emotions that it brought out.  I found myself liking it a lot more after having had finished it than I did while reading it - which I can't say has happened to me more than a handful of times. 

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