My Name Is Lucy Barton

My Name Is Lucy Barton

A Novel

Book - 2016
Average Rating:
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The profound mother-daughter bond is explored through a mother's hospital visit to her estranged daughter by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "Olive Kitteridge" and "The Burgess Boys." Lucy Barton is in the hospital due to an infection from a simple appendix operation. Her mother, whom she hasn't seen in years, comes to visit her, and sits by her bedside, reminiscing about people she and Lucy know from Lucy's childhood, before Lucy went off to college and never returned. What makes the book reverberate with such feeling is the lacerating mother/daughter relationship. And yet at the end of the day you know how much these two women, regardless of the past, truly and deeply love each other.
Publisher: New York, New York : Random House, ©2016.
ISBN: 9781400067695
Characteristics: 193 pages ;,22 cm

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Sam_Stewart
Apr 04, 2018

The chapter are extremely short and go between Lucy's time in the hospital looking at the Empire State building and the rest of her life. I couldn't put it down.

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EmilyEm
Oct 22, 2017

Now New Yorker Lucy Barton is in the hospital for weeks with a hard-to-diagnose issue following surgery. She wakes one day to find her estranged mother sitting at the foot of her bed. The book is their conversations. Heartfelt and funny.

kmscows Jul 27, 2017

I read "My Name Is Lucy Barton" by Elizabeth Strout in 2016 when it first came out. I sped right through it, as it is a short book that draws you into the story of Lucy, her childhood and adult life. I recently reread it because I read Strout's new book, "Anything Is Possible" and Lucy Barton reappears in this book. Reading it a second time did not disappoint me. Strout does an amazing job developing Lucy's character. Her description of Lucy's childhood home and of he stay at the hospital paint a very vivid picture for the reader; it is as if you are sitting in the room as Lucy and her mother share memories and stories with each other. These conversations show us the complexity of relationships, especially the one between mothers and daughters. A thoughtful, compelling read.

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shareads
Jul 17, 2017

This book is easy to relate to and the interest factor sky rockets. I just don't like the tone of the book. It comes off as sorrowful and melancholy although I liked the book very much.

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maggiepcurtis
Jun 14, 2017

Didn't know where this book was going while I was reading. Plus, it never really gave us any type of closure on things. It was very blah. But it was a quick read.

j
jeanie123
Apr 12, 2017

A very enjoyable book and very well written. It's like sitting down to have a long conversation with a friend you've just met. The imperfectness of people and experiences makes us who we are and in the end it's up to us to fulfill our own needs.

robertafsmith Mar 21, 2017

One of those "small but almost perfect" books. It reminded me of Vivien Gornick in it's love of Manhattan. Lucy can see part of the city from her hospital bed, where she is having a disjointed, but revealing conversation with her dysfunctional mother. I read it when I was on Sick Leave. It is not a Sick Leave book in my opinion. Staff Pickles.

h
heidijoemonty
Mar 16, 2017

I think the meaning of this book was lost on me, perhaps I missed the point. I don't feel like she got the closure on her childhood that she so seemingly wanted. I give it a solid "meh."

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jr3083
Jan 31, 2017

Lucy Barton lies in a New York hospital bed, seriously ill, watching the lights in the Chrysler Building. Complications have set in after an appendectomy and she is frightened and desperately missing her two young daughters. Her husband has called her mother to come, and she has. She is sitting beside the bed, not sleeping.

The two women have been estranged for years and the mother keeps the conversation light, circling between anecdotes about shared acquaintances from the past. This is a conversation where the important things are left unsaid, as they always have been....

The narrative is simply told in retrospect, after Lucy – a published and accomplished writer- has recovered from her illness and moved on to another phase of her life. Despite its 200 plus pages, the layout of the text provides a much shorter text, in brief chapters and surrounded by much blank paper. It is more novella than novel and it evokes the author’s earlier Olive Kitteridge in its knife-sharp approach to relationships. I’m bemused by reviews that focus on the love between mother and daughter. I find it far more unsettling and much darker than that.

For my full review see: https://residentjudge.wordpress.com/2017/01/31/my-name-is-lucy-barton-by-elizabeth-strout/

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finn75
Jan 15, 2017

Wonderful yet bleak stories from a childhood revisited. How do we become who we are?

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Sam_Stewart
Apr 05, 2018

"But really, the ruthlessness, I think, comes in grabbing onto myself, in saying: This is me, and I will not go where I can't bear to go - to Amgash, Illinois - and I will not stay in a marriage when I don't want to, and I will grab myself and hurl onward through like, blind as a bat, but on I go! This is the ruthlessness, I think."

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JanPruatt
Jul 27, 2016

There was a time and it was many years ago now when I had to stay in a hospital for almost nine weeks.

Sonjahv May 20, 2016

"I felt the cold-hot shock that comes from being struck without warning; my husband was an only child, and my mother had told me long before that such a "condition" as she put it, could only lead to selfishness in the end."

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j
JanPruatt
Jul 27, 2016

From a simple hospital visit comes a tender story about a relationship between one daughter and her mother.

Lucy is slowly recovering from surgery. Her mother, with whom she hasn’t spoken in many years, appears at her bedside. Over the course of five days, the two exchange gossip from the past. These stories seem to reconnect them. Below the surface though lies tension that governed Lucy’s life and caused her to escape her troubled family, helped her become a writer, divorce her husband and define her love of two daughters. Strout tugs at our heartstrings as Lucy’s life unfolds because we, too, can identify with incidents similar to our lives. Short and bitter-sweet.

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