Fresh from reading Elizabeth Strout’s “My Name Is Lucy Barton,” and so that means, I’ll need a few minutes to wipe tears away *sob*. I really really loved this book –the way it ended was just…beautiful; which is the exact appropriate word for this book –beautiful.
It’s a short read –only 208 pages and would only take very little of your time, but definitely worth it. Although yes, it’s not for everybody; the way of writing was sort of all over the place; Lucy, the main heroine, talked about one thing then suddenly another, and we can safely assume this is so due to the fact that she was trying (and sort of failing), to express and articulate her past, her present, and even her future.
The book focuses on how Lucy spends her days at the hospital due to an infection. She wakes up with her mother, whom she hasn’t seen for years, waiting at the foot of her hospital bed; then starts the storytelling and more reminiscing from both Lucy and her mom.
Lucy described her past as “no beauty for the eye to rest upon.” She used to live in a garage before moving into a house that wasn’t really all that better. She was a farmer’s daughter and you can imagine how that is. Everyone around her and her family would comment on how they stank and how they were poorly dressed. And clearly, the book tries to paint a vivid painting of how poverty affects a child’s childhood and the paths and the triumphs that come with it.
On her five day visit, Lucy’s mom disembarks in a series of gossip about people they used to know; basically telling her sick daughter about failed marriages, infidelity, and regrets. Which I thought to be quite odd but I suppose it had something to do with her mom having some sort of ability to see the future.
Spoiler Alert!! (A bit too late, I suppose…) I think her mom was trying to warn her about her marriage going downhill and her husband possibly cheating on her and falling in love with their daughters’ sitter.
This book sort of reminded me of the book “The Glass Castle.” Both about dysfunctional families but I suppose also different because 1. I didn’t finish reading The Glass Castle and 2. Glass Castle was told from a child’s perspective and there was no mention of the future. It was also more of a memoir while “My Name Is Lucy Barton” was more of reminiscing and foretelling the future.
Elizabeth Strout is an amazing writer, if the various Pulitzer prizes aren’t enough to convince you. She wrote a book called, “Olive Kitteridge” that’s constantly being compared to My Name Is Lucy Barton. Although, I haven’t read it and so I can’t make the comparison. Surely, it’s also amazing. Regardless, I really connected to this book. Within such a small amount of pages, it stretched to almost everything life has to offer. And I honestly felt my heart being squeezed all throughout the book, I guess I can relate to the whole dysfunctional family but then again I think every teenager finds flaws in their families and labels it as dysfunctional.
The book really centred on how Lucy was different from the rest of the world just because she grew up without television, without proper care; in poverty, and basically, an overall dysfunctional family. The book mentions loving imperfectly, and I think we can all relate. Love is imperfect. We have really no sense of right and wrong when it comes to love. We stay, even when we’re supposed to leave. We love even when it’s the wrong person, as everyone else whispers in your ear. Love is simply unstoppable. But, when it comes to family you’re really left with no other choice. Does anyone else find the concept of family, funny? How we’re supposed to love someone just because they’re related to us. For me, I want to love my family not because I’m supposed to, but because they’re mine to love. Lucy wanted to fall in love with her mother. As to if she did or didn’t, I guess that’s for us to decide.
We face different obstacles in life, and this book will teach you just how lucky you are and maybe even let you realize what you have, and what you’ve taken for granted. This book made me realize how life is so beautiful in all its forms.