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!