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Ratings and Book Reviews (15 211 star ratings
15 reviews

Overall rating

3.7 out of 5
5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star
64 63 59 16 9

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  • 8 person found this review helpful

    8 people found this review helpful

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    Short book that tells a big story

    I didn't expect to like this book nearly as much as I did. It is a rather short book that I easily read in a single evening but it tells a big story. I found myself really relating to just about everything in this book. I have spent more hours with family members at the hospital than I would have dreamed possible in my younger days. It is just a fact of life for most people that the people you love will get sick and need you while they are in the hospital. Or maybe you need to make sure that they are really okay so you go to the hospital just to make sure. Either way, it seems like large portions of some years are spent sitting in an comfortable plastic chair while tests are performed and surgery is completed. As you may have guessed, I have served my time in one of those plastic chairs. I love the way that this story is told. I got to know Lucy Barton the way that I get to know people in my life - one story at a time. This book jumped all over the place, back and forth in time, from one story to the next. Sometimes the story focused on Lucy and sometimes it focused on a person from the town she grew up in. I could really relate to just about everything in this book. It almost felt like I was sitting in that room listening to all of the stories being told. Every single part of this book comes together to paint a much larger picture. This was really a story of Lucy's life. One of the most powerful things in the book is how the relationship between Lucy and her mother is illustrated through their interactions in the hospital room. Is there anything more complicated than a mother-daughter relationship at times? There is a lot of insight about how Lucy became the woman that she is and how strong she really has proven to be. This was one of those books that really was almost impossible for me to put down even though nothing overly exciting ever happens. I am in awe of writing that can grab hold of me like that. The writing in this book was superb and not a word was wasted. The depth of the story and characters in such a short book is actually quite amazing. I would highly recommend this book to others. This is the first book by Elizabeth Strout that I have had a chance to read but I am definitely planning on changing that very soon. I received an advance reader edition of this book from Random House Publishing Group via NetGalley for the purpose of providing an honest review.
  • 3 person found this review helpful

    3 people found this review helpful

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    A book I could not put down..

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book as I have all the others by this author. As Lucy, the author is able to convey both the pain and the beauty of our imperfect worlds, of our relationships with our parents, siblings, acquaintances and friends. Lucy's struggles and her total honesty about her past drew me to her. Her need not to exaggerate her past pain but to move on to claim her life made me really like her. I found each chapter so interesting that I wanted to keep reading to find out more about every stage of her life. Although the book deals with sadness, it is not depressing. I am left remembering the beauty of sunsets and her lovely kind doctor...
  • 5 person found this review helpful

    5 people found this review helpful

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    My Name is Lucy Barton

    Help. I consider myself reasonably bright and well read but I just did not "get" this book. Can someone please explain it to me? I read it quickly thinking the point/story was coming but....
  • 2 person found this review helpful

    2 people found this review helpful

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    Parent Child Relationships

    3.5 stars This story kept my interest the entire time, but I don't really know what the point was. I felt like maybe it was about how we all make mistakes or how we have to love our parents even if they weren't always good parents? I really just don't know. It's like a lady just telling random things in her life.
  • 2 person found this review helpful

    2 people found this review helpful

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    Who Is Lucy Barton?

    Cynthia Ozick has defined modernism as "the kind of overt self-consciousness that identifies and interrogates its own motions and motives." Is Elizabeth Strout's My Name Is Lucy Barton modern by this definition? It's certainly self-conscious, in the sense that it is a book about Lucy Barton, written by Lucy Barton, which recognizes that it is a book about Lucy Barton written by Lucy Barton. It clearly identifies and interrogates its own motives and recitations of events because it is, in essence, Lucy Barton asking herself how she feels - about motherhood, marriage, mental illness, and more - by tracing her relationships with her parents, her husband, and her daughters. Yet it is also the antithesis of modern, because Lucy constantly shies away from any true insight, both by doubting her own memories and by obscuring the traumas in the lives of the Barton family. Strout, in her persona as Lucy, is quite coy, particularly when it comes to sex, but the book is set in New York City in the 1980s and 1990s. Even though Lucy is primarily recounting events from her childhood in rural Amgash, Illinois, one would expect her to filter those experiences through her adult eyes and come to some definite conclusions; spoiler alert: she does not. Something about Strout's tone led me from the very beginning to think that we were in the 1950s, and that temporal disconnect left me unsettled throughout the entire book. Fortunately, My Name Is Lucy Barton is a very short book, so I don't consider the couple of hours I spent reading and reviewing it wasted. However, it has now been relegated to my "meh" pile. I received a free copy of My Name Is Lucy Barton from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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