My Name is Lucy Barton
By Elizabeth Strout
Random House, 2016. 193 pgs. Fiction
“My Name is Lucy Barton” centers around the nine week hospital visit of a young mother and aspiring writer. During this period, her estranged mother comes to visit and sit with her, stirring up memories and emotions from a childhood of poverty. Lucy describes being ostracized and teased for her inadequate hygiene, a result of her family’s lack of running water. But a youth spent in solitude opened doors and Lucy escapes to a university and a better life.
Elizabeth Strout is a remarkable storyteller. Lucy is possibly the most human protagonist I have ever encountered in literature. She tells her story with honesty and a bit of wonder that I found completely charming. She is a daughter, wife, and mother but she is also this self-contained individual discovering herself, as most of us do, slowly and throughout a lifetime. I highly recommend “My Name is Lucy Barton”, especially for book clubs that lean toward the literary.