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Abide with Me

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  10,424 ratings  ·  1,327 reviews
After the tragic death of his young wife, Reverend Tyler Caskey, a New England minister, struggles to hold together his own life, his family, and his town, while dealing with his personal anger, grief, and loss of faith.
Paperback, 302 pages
Published March 13th 2007 by Random House Trade (first published March 14th 2006)
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Natine I agree with Michelle Mason. I appreciated that the ending fit both the character, times, and situation. Totally satisfying read.
Alicia Selective Mutism is associated with social anxiety disorder and it is rare reaction seen in children and adults who have suffered a trauma or a…moreSelective Mutism is associated with social anxiety disorder and it is rare reaction seen in children and adults who have suffered a trauma or a reaction to grief. Especially when something unexpected happens children may become fearful, anxious and depressed, without having the words to describe their emotions they withdrawing into themselves. Sometimes this disorder can go on throughout the patient's life but its possible to treat through behavioral therapies.(less)

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Average rating 3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,424 ratings  ·  1,327 reviews


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Michael
Apr 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An outstanding and moving portrait of the quiet courage of a minster and his community in rural Maine in the 50s. This is a time when the Cold War, crass commercialism, and the insights of Freud about hidden sexual motivations were undermining spirituality in the American populace. The Congregational minister, Tyler Caskey, is having trouble inspiring his flock or taking their problems seriously as he is still recovering from the death of his wife one year before. His four-year old daughter ...more
Nancy
Nov 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
What a lovely book. Strout has a real gift for gentle prose that reveals the characters' thoughts. Utterly believable--when the church women criticize the minister's wife for her slingback shoes and not drying all the dishes, I felt as if I knew these women, their values and their habits. The teacher who turns against her student and the school psychologist who relies on textbook definitions and cannot find compassion for the little girl who just lost her mother are very real, too--but nobody is ...more
LeAnne: GeezerMom
Dec 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Back in the day when Americans built bomb shelters, when the wives of small town ministers were expected to forego red lipstick, and when school administrators hammered every misbehaving child with Freud's new Oedipus theories, thing were not easy. This was not the simple time in our nation's past that TV commercials today portray. Was anything ever simple? I don't think so.

A young, newly widowed father believes in simple things, though. That we should think of others before ourselves. That God
...more
Natalie Richards
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-book
This is my third book by Elizabeth Strout and she is fast becoming one of my go to authors. I know I will be completely immersed in her stories and enjoy every minute spent reading them.
Ron Charles
Every novel is about a crisis of faith -- in one's self, one's partner, one's prospects -- but novels about religious leaders often portray crisis in explicitly spiritual terms, and that can be hell. Too often, churchy language forces the rich ambiguity of good fiction to get "left behind." Lately, though, a few novels full of Christian faith have managed to transcend sectarian piety and speak to a large, diverse audience. Each year welcomes another splendid novel into the fold: Gail Godwin's " ...more
Erika
Jan 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
On the surface, this should not be an especially interesting book. The topic--a small town pastor's relationship with his congregation in 1950s rural Maine--isn't exactly action-packed. In addition, the pace is fairly slow, most of the important moments take place internally, and very little actually happens.

Yet, I found it completely compelling.

Strout is a master at using details and small metaphors to show us someone's state of mind. And the writing itself is so gorgeous that this novel is
...more
Ayla
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nancy
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing

"I wonder if we are all condemned to live outside the grace of God." Reverent Tyler Caskey in Abide with Me.
I have long wanted to read Elizabeth Strout's second novel Abide with Me , ever since I first heard about it. Strout has been one of my favorite authors since Olive Kitteridge was being passed around a group of reading church friends ten years ago. I was lucky to review galleys of My Name is Lucy Barton and Anything is Possible. 

Abide by Me drew me in particular because it is about a
...more
Cheri
Aug 24, 2009 rated it really liked it

Elizabeth Strout's "Abide with Me" is once again set in a small, lonely area of northern New England. In the late 1950s, in a small town in Maine, not too far from Shirley Falls, where Amy and Isabelle was situated, is where Tyler Caskey and his wife have come to serve. His joy in his new calling as a minister to this town is only exceeded by his joy in his recent marriage to his lovely bride.

While Tyler loves their life in West Annett, the beauty of the winters and the summers only serve to
...more
Bonnie
Sep 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who injoys good writing
This book was not what I expected. It was not about religion but about human nature and how we overcome some of our basic and more ugly tendencies. The pastor in this book was so excellently portrayed in his strengths and his venerabilitys that I felt I could reach out and touch him.

The author did not tell you the mans wife was shallow, self-absorbed and immature but by showed her behavior in telling situations. The way her husband loved her was heart rending and I was glad the author gave her
...more
Catherine Henry
Jul 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful book. It is a testimony to the enduring power of love. I want to write a review that I believe is worthy of the story and I can't seem to find the words. So, I am just going to encourage you to read it and hope that you enjoy as much as I.
Alena
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't go wrong with Elizabeth Strout. Her writing always draws me in and touches my heart so I'm glad I went back to her early work with this novel. It sounds off-putting, but this story is very much an exploration of faith and despair, told primarily through the eyes of a Congregationalist preacher who's lost his wife.
The language is beautiful. I've never been to Maine, but I could feel the land and the people through every page. Like with many of her other novels, the ancillary characters
...more
Laura
Jun 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Contemporary fiction lovers
4.5 stars. Really glad I took a chance on this one. Can't believe this was only her second novel. Strout is a powerful writer. Her love for the natural world /New England really stood out for me in this one, and added much to my enjoyment of this book. But I think this author's real strength lies in her ability to distill a small town by climbing into the minds of many of its inhabitants.

This seems a bit like it may be a slightly sweet book about a (now) single father, the local minister,
...more
Cheryl
Aug 17, 2011 rated it liked it
Sometimes you come across a line and it shines, like a pearl. But my, the first 2/3 of the book swam in a miasma of stunned grief. It was hard to keep one's head up and progress was painfully slow. I suppose that's fitting for a book that is about the slow healing of a pastor widowed by the death of his young wife, leaving him with his young family, and unable to cope.
Maybe it wasn't the book, maybe it was me just not giving it a proper chance and concentrating on it. Redemption arrived and the
...more
Virginia
Aug 11, 2009 rated it did not like it
I really thought this book would be very different...it definitely needs a different title! The story had a lot of potential, but fell flat. None of the characters really changed at all, except possibly the daughter who finally begins speaking after her mother dies, but even the tension on this is built upon through the whole book and she just sort of starts talking without any reason behind it.

A lot of really serious issues are brought up, but just sort of glossed over and almost put aside with
...more
Susie
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 rounded to 4.
H.A. Leuschel
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a masterpiece for me!
The characters, especially the main one, a grieving minister, father and widower, were so real and bristling with life that I was constantly drawn back to the book wanting to know, empathize, root for the man and his two very young daughters. The narrative had many different sub-plots, taking the reader into the past to understand the characters' backgrounds, into the different lives of the people who were talking behind the minister's back and those who were not
...more
Claire Fuller
Tyler, a minister and recent widow in a small American town is struggling with his silent daughter, his unhappy congregation, his meddling mother, and the actions of his housekeeper. The characters are all perfectly drawn, but Tyler somehow isn't a strong enough character to carry all this action, and Strout has chosen not to focus on the stories of the other characters like she does in later novels. Also it was all tied up too neatly at the end. Recommended but not her best.
Leah
Jul 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
In the note that follows this novel, Strout writes, "As a storyteller, I don't think it's my job to pass judgment on the people whose lives I imagine and record." Perhaps that's what I like best about Strout--her descriptions make you vow to retire the phrase "ordinary people" from your vocabulary, since each character's inner life a becomes a revelation. Also, her descriptions make you view your surroundings differently. She--and, often, her characters-love the New England landscape; it is a ...more
JanB
May 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook
It's the late 1950s and Tyler is a small-town minister suffering overwhelming grief and depression after the death of his wife. His older daughter is acting out at school and desperately needs help too. The town's inhabitants are gossipy, judgmental and running out of patience with Tyler. Their lack of compassion and understanding was a bit shocking, but given the mindset of the times it's a little easier to understand. Still, it was difficult at times to read their thoughts and conversations.

...more
Bridget
Dec 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
I adore the way that Elizabeth Strout writes her people. Their quiet introspection and the sedate pace of their lives, the tragedies that befall them - there are always tragedies, but they are the same that everyone deals with in their lives. Quiet lives beautifully written, no murder or mayhem but calm resignation of the fates that befall all of us or a decline entered into because of the forces of nature, but always with hope bringing them out of it.

This is the story of a minister and his life
...more
Imi
I'm surprised I loved this even more than Amy and Isabelle! Tyler Caskey is a minister in late 1950s New England. The story is an exploration of grief and a crisis of faith, treated with respect and subtlety. I love how Strout builds small-town community dynamics between all of her realistic and carefully drawn characters. A wonderful novel that had me tearing up throughout.
Lauren Davis
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful.
Ann Woodbury Moore
Apr 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Thank you, Jan, for this recommendation. I read Elizabeth Strout's "Olive Kitteridge" several years ago and enjoyed it, but hadn't gone back to her earlier novels. "Abide With Me" is set in a small Maine town in 1959 and features a young, idealistic, recently widowed minister ("mimster," his toddler Jeannie calls him). Tyler Caskey is struggling to cope--with the death of his wife; with his domineering mother, who's taken Jeannie into her home; with his suddenly silent older daughter, Katherine, ...more
Elizabeth Rowe
May 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011, 2012, books-owned
I am amazed by Elizabeth Strout's ability to write such real stories with real, flawed characters. It's almost refreshing to see that there's not a cut-and-dry good guy or bad guy, that characters are struggling with themselves and each other. This story was somewhat maddening in the complete lack of compassion that was given by the townspeople to the minister and his family, but, again, that seems to be a product of the times where you're expected to put up a front for the outside world, and ...more
Irene
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
I had the strange sense of having already read this novel. I think it is because it felt so similar to Gilead. A preternaturally wise minister in a small semi-rural congregation, a wife that is met by chance when she visits the church and who is ill matched to the expectations of a preachers wife, children that he desperately loves but with whom he is not quite connected, a congregation of gossips and small-minded complainers that challenges his message of an infinitely loving God. Of course, ...more
Lormac
Jun 22, 2010 rated it liked it
Because I enjhoyed 'Olive Kittridge" so much, I decided to try the author's earlier books.

I was slogging through this book until the final 30 pages, at which time it completely turned the corner for me. Tyler Caskey is a minister of a small church in rural Maine in the 1950s and his midlife crisis is brought on prematurely
by the death of his wife. Yet, throughout his difficulties he never really loses his faith in God, which may be why I began to warm to this book. I do not think I am giving
...more
Rosemary
Apr 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tyler Caskey is the preacher of a small Maine town in the late 1950s, widowed with two small daughters. He struggles to keep his head above water emotionally and financially, while his five-year-old is causing problems at school and the town begins to gossip about Tyler and his housekeeper.

I didnt enjoy this quite as much as the other Strouts Ive read. Its rather slow and although I could sympathise with Tyler, I didnt really connect with him. But Im glad I read it, and Elizabeth Strouts prose
...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I liked this enough on a speed dating project (the first one of 2016) that I kept it until I finished it. It was a good choice for a bedside read because it isn't very dense, has a handful of main characters, and moves pretty quickly. It was a great read during the great insomnia episode of 2016 (ahem, last night.)

The story is about a pastor who is trying to raise two small girls after the death of his wife. One daughter has become a mysterious monster in her own grief and he is trying to
...more
Shelah
Oct 01, 2009 rated it liked it
I loved Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge, which I read earlier this year, and was eager to get my hands on Elizabeth Strout's other books. Abide with Me takes place in the same small town in Maine where Amy and Isabelle (another Strout novel) is set, and centers on Tyler Caskey, a young minister whose family has been upended by the death of his wife. His baby daughter now lives with his domineering mother, his other daughter is at home with him, but has problems he feels unequipped to handle. ...more
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5,472 followers
Elizabeth Strout is the author of several novels, including: Abide with Me, a national bestseller and BookSense pick, and Amy and Isabelle, which won the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize, and was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize in England. In 2009 she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her book Olive ...more

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