My Name Is Lucy Barton

My Name Is Lucy Barton

A Novel

Book - 2016
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Shows how a simple hospital visit becomes a portal to the most tender relationship of all--the one between mother and daughter. 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.
Publisher: New York :, Random House,, [2016]
Edition: First edition
Description: 193 pages ; 21 cm
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9781400067695
Branch Call Number: Stro


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Sep 05, 2020

An unusual read, but quite enjoyable.

Jul 23, 2020

The best thing I have read this year, so far. Hands down. The way I was immediately transported into this character’s story, breathed her voice, lived through her words, is something I have rarely experienced. I completely didn’t expect it and have no idea why I even picked up the book in the first place. I read Olive Kitteridge when it first came out, because everybody was reading it, but stayed with non-fiction mostly in the meantime. I never felt like I was living the truth reading fiction. I hate watching fiction on TV as well.

Then coronavirus hit and it’s insatiable how hungry I am for something as far from reality as possible. And the writing is so much better when reading fiction, for the most part. And non-fiction hurts your brain, having to think that hard and process complicated new concepts and facts when you’re trying just to process 2020.

None of that has to do with this book, except to say that it was a delight to lose myself in this character and her decisions and their consequences, and the way she dealt with the situations she was given in life. As in good writing, you stop reading periodically and ask yourself what you’d do in this situation, and if the writing is good, you go back and think, “well, I never would have done that!”

And because this character was so interesting and deep, and didn’t think like I do, I stretched my brain to try to incorporate some of this character’s decision-making skills. Instead of seeing nasty stuff in people when they say nasty things, Lucy Barton stays quiet and if it gets unbearable, still doesn’t go where I’d have gone. So instead of attacking when being attacked, or trying to right wrongs done in family situations, I’m trying to be more like Lucy. Because sometimes you end up sick on a hospital bed, surprised by your horrible mom worried by your bedside, being the mom you wish you had, telling you stories to keep you alive and keeping on.

Apr 19, 2020

This book was boring. It was constantly jumping from one topic to another.

Feb 01, 2020

A beautiful, powerful book. So real that you think it has to be autobiography, or almost a biography of yourself. I couldn't quite figure out her relationship to her mother, but that was part of the intrigue. Note to self: read anything else by Elizabeth Strout that you can get.

Jan 29, 2020

During a very long hospital stay, Lucy's mother arrives and sits at her daughter's bedside for five nights. Through their conversations we learn of the extreme poverty and abuse in which Lucy and her two siblings were raised and that the relationship between all members of the family has been severely torn for decades. Her mother never quite opens up about herself, but talks about all the failed marriages of people from their community. The mother-daughter relationship is an intriguing study.

Oct 22, 2019

Lucy's voice is sad and full of wonder at the same time. There are some tidbits of deep wisdom that I wish I had written down as I went along; I will go back and find them.

Oct 20, 2018

Sweet, ingenuous memoire-type novel. Like the character, Lucy Barton, much lies beneath a deceptively simple surface. Evocative and memorable.

Sep 06, 2018

It was a very short book and I found it to be rather sad. I didn't see any joy in the story even the talks with her mother whom she hasn't seem for years. I found it to be a rather dark tale and in a way I enjoyed it but I was glad it was short.

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.

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.

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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."

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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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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