Day 836: My Name Is Lucy Barton

Cover for My Name Is Lucy BartonBest Book of the Week!
Lucy Barton grew up very poor in rural Illinois. She looks back to a time as a young married woman, living in New York City with her husband and two daughters and learning to write. At the time, she had not returned to her parents’ house since she went to college. Something horrible associated with her father is hinted at.

Much of Lucy’s story centers around a stay in the hospital, where for some weeks she has an undiagnosed illness. Her husband can’t bear hospitals, so he asks her mother to come. Her mother stays with her, never leaving her room and refusing to use the cot the nurses provide. During this visit, her mother tells her stories about people they both know.

For much of their lives, Lucy’s family has been outcasts. At school other children complained that they smelled funny. For many years, they lived in a garage with exposure to extreme cold and no access to running water. When she was a little girl and both her parents were at work, her older siblings at school, her parents would lock her into her father’s truck. One time a snake was in there with her. These are some of the horrors of Lucy’s childhood.

link to NetgalleyWe can see that Lucy loves other people for the slightest show of kindness. We can understand why.

My Name Is Lucy Barton is an affecting story about a woman learning to deal with her own past and loving people despite it. The novel is also about becoming a writer.

Strout’s prose is wonderful as usual, picking out the little details of life that make her prose so convincing. I delight in Strout’s depictions of ordinary life and people.

Related Posts

The Burgess Boys

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Amy and Isabelle

11 thoughts on “Day 836: My Name Is Lucy Barton

  1. Carolyn O January 20, 2016 / 11:47 am

    I am averting my eyes from your review until I have a chance to read this (it’s in the mail)–but I hope you liked it!

    • whatmeread January 20, 2016 / 11:50 am

      I didn’t give anything away. I think you could safely read it. Yes, I liked it.

      • Carolyn O February 2, 2016 / 12:40 pm

        Great review!

  2. Naomi January 20, 2016 / 3:15 pm

    For some reason I was thinking it was the mother in the hospital, but it’s the other way around. I like that even better. I’m looking forward to reading this sometime (hopefully sooner rather than later), especially having just read Olive Kitteridege. I loved Olive!

    • whatmeread January 20, 2016 / 3:17 pm

      Yes, I thought Olive Kitteridge was wonderful. Also really good is The Burgess Brothers, which I think was her last book before this one.

      • Naomi January 20, 2016 / 3:28 pm

        Have you read Abide With Me? I have that one on my list, too, but haven’t seen anyone review it.

  3. whatmeread January 20, 2016 / 3:30 pm

    No, I haven’t read that yet. I just discovered Strout last year, and I’ve only read four books by her. Amy and Isabelle is the other one besides Olive Kitteridge, The Burgess Brothers, and this one.

  4. Cecilia January 20, 2016 / 8:14 pm

    I would love to read this one. I also have Olive Kitteridge and The Burgess Brothers that I haven’t read yet!

    • whatmeread January 21, 2016 / 7:25 am

      All three are good. I think Olive or The Burgess Boys are my favorites.

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