My Name Is Lucy Barton

Elizabeth Strout
Star Rating
Reviewer's Rating
Feb 25, 2016

My Name Is Lucy Barton by Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout is a novel to be read slowly and savored for its richness of story. At less than 200 pages, it is a novel with a simple plot: a woman, Lucy, is in the hospital for a prolonged stay, and her mother is visiting her. Lucy has been estranged from her mother since her marriage. She is grateful for her mother's presence, while at the same time she wants more than her mother is capable of giving her. In other words, the novel is rich in family dynamics and the complexities of the human heart.

What we as readers learn over the course of the narrative is that Lucy lived a childhood of neglect and still needs and craves her mother's love and approval. She wants answers to childhood questions, and yet she doesn't want answers. She is in a tug of war with herself, and she is not secure enough in her relationship with her mother to ask for explanations. Ultimately, what is real to one family member may not be real to another. Whose version of events from a life is remembered correctly? Truth is as subjective as memory, and as individual as the imagination. This is a wonderful read that will stay with you long after you turn the last page.

Reviewed by Cheryl M.
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