“You will have only one story… You’ll write your one story many ways. Don’t ever worry about story. You will have only one.”
My Name Is Lucy Barton, the new book by Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout, is cause for celebration. Her bestselling novels, including Olive Kitteridge and The Burgess Boys, have illuminated our most tender relationships. Now, in My Name Is Lucy Barton, this extraordinary writer shows how a simple hospital visit becomes a portal to the most tender relationship of all—the one between mother and daughter.
I highly recommend cocooning and reading this book from start to finish—it will only take a couple of hours. I will say, as this book evolved, I was saddened with how quickly I was able to read it, a testament to the fact that I didn’t want it to end. The story is written in clear, precise, prose and sparks an overwhelming sense of emotion in its seemingly simplicity of its storyline.
We can never fully know another human being–that is a universal truth, but, explored by Lucy Barton, it develops into a perfectly moving one.
I love Strout’s use of language, her use of words, her settings, the poetry in her descriptions of places I was familiar with. Needless to say, I loved the book.
I loved Lucy Barton. Although she has enjoyed a successful life she is also deeply wounded from her childhood. These wounds have affected her throughout her life but she has survived, and even thrived, all while wounded. I think so many of us can relate, in or own ways.
Some things are left for you to fill in the blanks. And you will. With your own story. I think this is one of the many reasons people will love this book. It will become personal.
“I have always believed that everyone will bring their own story to whatever book they are reading,” Strout said. “But this book, particularly, I was aware that this was more porous than my others and that leaves more room for people to bring their own experience.”
“I don’t want to press anybody’s face into things, either,” she said. “I just don’t want to be that kind of writer. People can do that and they do it beautifully. I am more interested in the essence of people.”
Go get this book.