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My Name Is Lucy Barton (2016)

by Elizabeth Strout

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Lucy Barton (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,1082463,514 (3.69)347
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.… (more)
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» See also 347 mentions

English (234)  Spanish (3)  Catalan (3)  Dutch (2)  Piratical (1)  Finnish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (245)
Showing 1-5 of 234 (next | show all)
Libby Audiobook

I decided to read this before going into Oh, William so I could get a feel for the characters & I’m glad I did. Lucy Barton is so real, so well developed that I had to make sure I wasn’t reading a biography. Strout makes you want to keep reading about Lucy’s life, which I’m definitely going to do.

During her 9 weeks stay in the hospital after a routine appendectomy, Lucy’s estranged mother comes to visit. What follows is a look into a relationship frought with land mines. Lucy is a “normal” person living a “normal” life, but her mother’s visit lets you into her past trauma. It doesn’t seem like an especially horrible past, but it is one that’s not a particularly loving one either.

Interwoven into the tense relationship there are stories of Lucy’s recent past as well. Life with her husband & children. The novel leaves you wanting to hear more about Lucy’s relationship with her husband & children. ( )
  whatalicesaw | Apr 26, 2022 |
I have enjoyed all of the Elizabeth Strout books that I have read so far, but this to me is by far the best. It is the best book that I have read for a long, long time. I have not read the other two Lucy Barton books, guess what I am going to read next!

I have been reading a lot of Elena Ferrante books recently and the styles of the two authors are very similar. You don't get 'chocolate box' characters doing all of the things in your dreams. You get real people doing believable things!

If you have enjoyed Elena Ferrante books read Elizabeth Strout. If you enjoy Elizabeth Strout books read Elena Ferrante. If you know of other authors who have similar styles please let me know.

I will be re-reading this book after the other two Lucy Barton books: it is that good! ( )
  pedrodeg | Mar 28, 2022 |
I enjoyed this on audiobook. I really disliked the narrator; her unconditional love for her horrible mother, cattiness towards her husband's new wife, and protracted bitterness towards The Artist are among the many reasons, oh, and all of her dialogue was annoying to me. The storytelling was good, though. Probably won't read any more of her books, I don't think it's my thing. ( )
  squarishoval | Feb 21, 2022 |
I am struggling to say I recommend this book. It is very short. I easily finished it in a day. It has a faint hint of a plot, the prose is quite good at times hackneyed at others. You won't lose to much if you skip it, but then again it's really short. If the author had fleshed out her ideas a bit more it might make an intriguing novel. ( )
  charlie68 | Feb 20, 2022 |
This is Lucy Barton's story, or at least part of it. This short novel, told in short chapters from Lucy's perspectives moves around in time between her memories of growing up in rural US, college and married life in New York. Lucy eventually becomes a successful writer but the lynchpin of the novel is a period when she is in hospital for 8/9 weeks in a private room. Her husband doesn't like hospitals and rarely visits or brings the children to see her but for five days her mother comes and stays in the room with her while she undergoes tests. This gives Lucy chance to reconnect with her childhood and her mother.
Elizabeth Strout 's observations are perceptive and Lucy Barton often notes small things that affect her. The story is compelling and I read it in almost one sitting.
Gradually the childhood Lucy had living in poverty in a small rural town is revealed and how she was mostly friendless and received little affection or support from her family. She manages to get to college, marry someone with a very different upbringing and have children. She tells the reader many times that she loves living in New York.
The novel has an unsettling quality, maybe guilt or shame mean that many awful things from her childhood are only hinted at or referred to fleetingly. It is a novel that is a marvellous read but requires some concentration, as details can be missed. ( )
  CarolKub | Feb 17, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 234 (next | show all)
I was in Lucy Barton’s head from the very first page.

It’s rare when this happens – when the words of a book hypnotize you. The experience doesn’t feel like reading at all. It’s like falling into someone else’s consciousness...Strout’s skill in channelling Lucy’s voice is breathtaking, especially considering it’s the first time the bestselling author of Olive Kitteridge and The Burgess Boys has written a novel in the first person....This ability to love life, to notice small kindnesses, to remember the light in the sky and across the fields rather than the horrors of her childhood home, is Lucy’s salvation.

It is what we allow ourselves to see that helps us survive.
 
My Name Is Lucy Barton confirms Strout as a powerful storyteller immersed in the nuances of human relationships, weaving family tapestries with compassion, wisdom and insight. If she hadn’t already won the Pulitzer for Olive Kitteridge, this new novel would surely be a contender.
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Strout, Elizabethprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mawson, MattPhotographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mollica, GregCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
Dedication
For my friend Kathy Chamberlain
First words
There was a time, and it was many years ago now, when I had to stay in a hospital for almost nine weeks.
Quotations
Whatever we call it, I think it's the lowest part of who we are, this need to find someone else to put down.
Sarah Payne, the day she told us to go to the page without judgement, reminded us that we never knew, and never would know, what it would be like to understand another person fully.
"You will have only one story," she had said. "You'll write your story many ways. Don't ever worry about story. You have only one."
I feel that people may not understand that my mother could never say the words I love you.  I feel that people may not understand: It was all right.
Telling a lie and wasting food were always things to be punished for.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

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.

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Average: (3.69)
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