book review: My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout


My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

published in 2016


The fact that it took me over a week to read a 191 page book should tell you everything you need to know about My Name Is Lucy Barton. I mean… it was fine? There was nothing terrible about it? But there was nothing really great about it, either?

Lucy Barton is in the hospital recovering from a difficult appendectomy, and she’s visited by her mother who she hasn’t seen in years. If it sounds like a rather uneventful premise, it’s because it’s a rather uneventful book. But that isn’t my problem with it; I enjoy character studies when well done.

But there just… wasn’t much here. This felt like the rough outline of what could have been a fully formed novel, but instead it’s just fragmentary and baseless. This needed to be longer, but at the same time, I was glad that it wasn’t, because I wasn’t particularly interested in spending more time with these characters. I just wasn’t interested, period. It aims to be a subtle commentary on life and loss, but it’s marred by overly sentimental prose and characters who felt either distant or one-dimensional.

But I guess I’m in the minority, here. One of those cases where I’m scrolling through reviews and thinking, ‘why didn’t I get to read the book that you guys read?’

Anyway, as much as I loathe winter, I have to admit that these snow days are great for reading & reviewing.  Two reviews in as many days plus a top five post – I’m never this productive!

+ link to review on goodreads

4 thoughts on “book review: My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

    • Your review is great as well! Agreed, I’m always interested by differing opinions. Even when I love a book I usually read some negative reviews, just to see it from a different perspective. And I’m glad you loved Lucy Barton – to be honest I’m not even 100% certain why I didn’t, because this sort of quiet character study is usually what I like, but maybe I wasn’t in the right mood?! Also – adding you on goodreads!


      • I get that, the mood is very important. Years ago I read “So Many Books So Little Time” by a professional book reviewer and was thrilled to hear it is not just us bloggers who know that the mood is important. I will be very glad to have you as a goodreads friend. Happy Reading.

        Liked by 1 person

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