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My Name Is Lucy Barton

(Amgash #1)

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  117,715 ratings  ·  13,062 reviews
Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn't spoken for many years, comes to see her. Her unexpected visit forces Lucy to confront the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of her life: her impoverished childhood in Amgash, Illinois, her escape to New York and her desire to become a writer, her ...more
Hardcover, 193 pages
Published January 12th 2016 by Random House
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Susan Oh my goodness yes, unfortunately. My mother had a terrible time telling me she loved me. Fortunately, my outgoing daughter taught her how to love bef…moreOh my goodness yes, unfortunately. My mother had a terrible time telling me she loved me. Fortunately, my outgoing daughter taught her how to love before she passed away, but relationships like this DO exist. (less)
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Average rating 3.52  · 
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 ·  117,715 ratings  ·  13,062 reviews

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Angela M
Sep 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I first started reading this I had the feeling that it was going to be a remarkable story. It is after all written by Elizabeth Strout. I also thought when I first met Lucy Barton that this was going to be a story about an ordinary woman . I was so wrong about that . In this short book I came to know what an extraordinary character Lucy Barton is . She's someone I'd want to know and a character I'll remember.

It's painfully sad at times in her reminiscences of her life growing up in Amgash
Dec 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
When I finished this book, I didn’t think I landed in wowsville. But after sticking my nose back into the book, I’m changing my tune. Every page I reread seemed rich and wow-y. So what the hell’s going on? This is all very confusing.

First, here’s the plot, the whole plot, and nothing but the plot: Lucy (the storyteller) is lying in the hospital and her estranged mother comes from afar and sits there for five days. And I really mean she just sits there, except for sharing a few laughs—like giving
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Elizabeth Strout. Good Lord.

This book had the same effect on me as Olive Kitteridge. I'm reading through this beautifully written, way too short novel, and the whole time I'm thinking about my own life and my past and my family and my relationships with others. She takes this simple story, written like a memoir or something, I guess... kind of quick flashes of stories from the past and present, and it's just wonderful. It's so good.

But the whole time as I'm learning more about Lucy, it's like
Diane S ☔
Sep 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am totally in awe of this writer's talents. Whether one likes her characters or not (and truthfully some are unlikable if understandable, she makes the reader feel something. In this novel she takes a woman looking back on the nine weeks she spent in the hospital (I can relate) when her two daughters were young. The few days her mother spent at her bedside, a mother she has been estranged from for many years, and tries to find a sort of peace or at least understanding of the family she has lef ...more
Emily May
Oct 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: modern-lit, 2016
This is a story about a woman who loves her daughter. Imperfectly. Because we all love imperfectly.

Depressing as hell. But I enjoyed wallowing in it for a while.

My Name Is Lucy Barton covers a life story, poverty, abuse, art, marriage, the AIDs epidemic and subsequent fear, and a difficult relationship between a mother and daughter, all in less than two hundred pages. It's quite emotionally exhausting for such a short book but - perhaps because I had so few prior expectations - I found myse
Nov 04, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I must have read a different version of the book than everyone else. My version was more like notes where each note could have been formed into a chapter and the chapters could have been organized into a story. If it is the actual novel that I just finished, I'm completely missing the point. Sorry. But thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to attempt to understand this novel. ...more
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book! I really can’t stop thinking about this book. What at first felt like a simple, quietly understated series of snapshots of a woman’s life, has turned into a powerful novel that packs its punch through everything that is not spoken. Beautifully expressed with sparse prose, My Name is Lucy Barton left me breathless and, I have to admit, a bit teary by book’s end.

"Lonely was the first flavor I had tasted in my life, and it was always there, hidden inside the crevices of my mouth, remind
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
**Updating this to 5★**I was totally captivated by this soulful, unassuming narrative that packs a punch of emotion. An ordinary story with an extraordinary character. The narrative begins with Lucy Barton reflecting on her life from the hospital bed where she spent 8 weeks after getting an infection from surgery. During this time, her mother whom she is estranged with, visits and stays for 5 meaningful days. She recalls her upbringing - the tough times and fleetingly disturbing moments that are ...more
Elyse  Walters
Oct 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
UPDATE: It came to my attention I may have given too much 'detail' information. (shame on me)... SPOILERS may be included in review.

Lucy and her family grew up in a tiny rural town of Amgash, Illinois. "We were oddities, our family".
Lucy had a brother and a sister. They all understood that they were different than other
children. "Your family stinks"....(children would tease). The Barton family was poor, often in need of a bar of soap.
The father worked on farm machinery ( fired & rehired often
Jan 24, 2016 rated it liked it
This book is universally loved by my friends and I understand why that is, though I can't embrace this book as others have. I admire the style of it and I acknowledge that the story was deliberately designed and assembled as it was, even though that was the piece that kept me from connecting with it the way others have. There were solid, valuable messages in this gentle story delivered in a tentative and scattered way. At times I felt as though I was listening in on a casual conversation between ...more
Oct 30, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, reviewed, ebook

I had some expectations about My Name Is Lucy Barton and truly wanted to like it more. I liked the premise – difficult relationship between daughter and mother and chance to make amends. I didn’t expect sudden reconciliation or instant falling into arms. I know sometimes people just can’t talk about love, can’t show what they feel. They live quietly, have children. Sometimes these kids understand and can get over it and make own life happy.

I hoped for multilayered portrait of family but it wa
Sep 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I had the luxury of reading My name Is Lucy Barton in one sitting -- and if you can that's how I highly recommend this very short jewel of a novel be read. It's hard to describe what it's about. At its core it's a contemplative novel -- a novel about trying to make sense of life, trying to see how all the pieces fit together. Lucy Barton spends 9 weeks in the hospital in the 1980s in New York City following complications from a surgery. The story is written many years later, with her time in the ...more
Jul 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"Pity Us All, We Don't Mean to be So Small"

Lucy's Manhattan hosp. room had breathtaking view of Chrysler Building, and the skyscraper's light at night “shone like the beacon it was of the largest and best hopes for mankind and its aspirations and desire for beauty”

This is the story of Lucy Barton, who grew up in great poverty and suffered her parents’ neglect and abuse in the farmlands of Illinois and went on to became a successful fiction writer in New York City. Poignant and profound on so ma
Iris P

Second 2017 Update
Upgrading my rating from 4 to 5 stars, no idea why I didn't before. Oh, I know, maybe because sometimes I am a dork!

2017 Update
So a funny thing happened to me this weekend. Have you ever had a book "triggered" you to read another book, even if they are not exactly related?
After I finished reading the wonderful Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk, I was compelled to re-read My Name Is Lucy Barton, which I originally read almost exactly a year ago.

There are some small similarit
Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
My Name is Lucy Barton is a short, simple, and quiet story that took me away from the noise and to that quiet place that I love. Just me, my tea and the beautiful powerful words of this magnificent story. The simple and quiet books are starting to become a favourite of mine.

I loved Lucy and her ability to find kindness, her understanding of people, her compassion and how she can see light through all the hurt and darkness of her childhood. I liked how the relationship with her Mother and some th
Jul 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: public-library
The ways in which we show our love can be vastly different.  This is illustrated with perfection in this tale.  It's a tender, poignant, and introspective look at relationships and imperfect love.  How quick we are to judge others based on too little, the folly of dreading something which invariably ends up in having to go through it twice.  I loved the way the author put these words together -'...this friend of my soul...' ...more
Apr 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
A book like this that’s short on words, but rich in meaning begs for a metaphor to describe it. As one I know I can flog, think of Strout’s profile here as an artful little mosaic. She doesn’t use many tiles, but the ones she does display are carefully colored and placed. With enough distance, a picture does emerge. While it may be true that not every reader likes having the space between tiles, for me, squinting and mulling were part of the pleasure. Had the book fully revealed the miseries of ...more
Feb 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
How is it that we can truly know the inner workings of another human being? It's all in the conversations, the dialog, the exchange of thoughts and ideas.....and even in those moments when words, themselves, are not even necessary. We cross swords in games of subterfuge while we clasp tightly to our deepest secrets which we label "ours" and certainly not "theirs".

Lucy Barton is hospitalized with a prolonged illness. Her mother turns up at the foot of her bed quite unexpectantly one evening. Lucy
Mar 05, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The outcast in you
Shelves: read-in-2018
Reading “Olive Kitteridge”, which I loved, might have spoiled me for the rest of Strout's work.
The story of Lucy Barton is not much different from the fragmented but carefully delineated sketches of the townspeople in Crosby, but for the main focus of the story, which in this case centers around Lucy and her strained relationship with her family, particularly with her mother.
A woman with humble origins, whose childhood was marked by poverty, loneliness and possibly abuse, manages to escape from
Oct 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
MY NAME IS LUCY BARTON is a short 200 page novella jam-packed with emotional substance. It's a story of a daughter who so loves her mother despite her unpleasant childhood, a daughter who so wants the approval and love of her mother in return.

As she recovers from surgery complications, a shocked Lucy receives a five day visit from her estranged mother who can only express her feelings by telling stories of old acquaintances and their imperfect lives; and while listening, Lucy Barton revisits her

Ahmad Sharabiani
My Name Is Lucy Barton (Amgash #1), Elizabeth Strout

My Name is Lucy Barton is a 2016 novel by the American writer Elizabeth Strout.

Lucy Barton had a difficult childhood. Her father was abusive and while her mother loved Lucy, she was unable to protect her or her siblings from their father's mercurial mood swings.

As a result Lucy would frequently take solace in reading, which led her to realize that she wanted to become a writer.

When she came of age, Lucy quickly fled the family home. Years la
Mar 16, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: current-lit-us
I Am Lucy Barton is a book of memories.
As Lucy looks back at her life she focuses on a time when she spent five weeks in hospital after a routine operation hit problems. A time in which she lay in bed and did a lot of thinking about her childhood, her family and her marriage.
Whilst in hospital she was visited by her long estranged mother, who stayed with her for several days. This made her happy ........ as it gave her a glimpse of how their relationship could have been.
Lucy’s internal monologue
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I listened to this and it augmented the feeling that I was listening in on someone else’s conversation or being part of a one sided conversation. Like a conversation, the book meandered from thought to thought, bringing up different people and past events. This is the trademark of Elizabeth Strout's work, these somewhat interconnected stories.

I had read All Things Are Possible before this book, so a lot of the names felt like familiar old friends whose history I already knew.

Despite her strang
Aug 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Robin by: Perry
A short, subtle story about life through the eyes of a woman, Lucy Barton.

Disclaimer: This book isn't going to satisfy you if you need a conventional plot, with a "story" and a "lesson" and clear explanations.

What it does have, through a dreamy vagueness found in certain types of poetry, is the hard nut of truth about people, poverty, prejudice, kindness, love, and scars of childhood.

Lucy Barton lived in terrible poverty, lived through unuttered abuse as a child. She has never heard her mother s
Nov 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
This one hurts, but it's amazing.
I picked My Name Is Lucy Barton up one day randomly and ended up finishing it quite quickly, especially towards those last 100 pages. I was captivated by its strange but compelling storyline. Plus, I was really loving the vibe this book gave off. My Name Is Lucy Barton was exactly what I was in the mood for: an epic but, at the same time, quiet family saga. Oh, and there’s gossip (!!!) about people from Lucy's childhood in Amgash, Illinois.

Our story begins to
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
An apparently simple tale of a woman's life from early hardship to later success, yet nothing about it is actually simple. Lucy Barton tells much of her story from a hospital bed where she has endless time to think back to her childhood and her life since. She recalls and mentions many things in passing and leaves much to the reader's imagination. A snippet of information here, a hint of something there and we are eventually pretty sure her childhood was not just deprived but also abusive.
By th
A quiet but moving reverie by a resilient woman on various timepoints in her life, revealing the distorted lens by which she views life around her and the troubling experiences of her past. In some ways Lucy becomes the epitome of the flawed way we all survive by filtering reality and numbing ourselves. But eventually she became a hero to me in several ways. She learns to harness the vital power of simple kindness transmitted from people around her through simple acts and gestures. In a visit by ...more
Oct 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-audible
What a beautifully told “un-fairy tale”. The book opens with Lucy recuperating in the hospital after an operation. I was personally puzzled by her lengthy stay in the hospital. It seemed to mostly provide a setting for Lucy to reflect and assess her past life of living in very poor, abusive and dysfunctional family. Her estranged mother, whom she has not seen in a long time, makes the journey to visit her. I was in tears at one point as Lucy desperately tries in vain to reach out to her mother f ...more
Jan 04, 2016 rated it liked it
There’s no doubt that Elizabeth Strout is a great author, she really doesn’t waste a word. One of my favourite novels ever is 'Olive Kitteridge' (the TV adaptation is equally brilliant)…so I was eagerly looking forward to reading ‘My Name Is Lucy Barton’.

I find it difficult book to express my thoughts on this story. While I really liked it (more than 'The Burgess Boys') I didn’t love it as much as I wanted. I felt there was just something missing although I hugely appreciate the sentiment withi
Oct 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I so enjoyed this book and getting to know Lucy. I was so sad about her poor, abusive and emotionally disconnected family upbringing.
I feel she managed very well to turn things around with her own children.
The main part of the book, the visit from her estranged mother during Lucy's nine week hospital stay was touching, but sad because I felt the mother held back much of her emotions.
The rest of this book was Lucy's insights on people and living. This author really made you feel Lucy's pain.
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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 Kitteri ...more

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Articles featuring this book

Her Favorite Character Studies: Get to know these five indelible characters, each recommended by the Pulitzer winner, whose latest is My Name Is...
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“It interests me how we find ways to feel superior to another person, another group of people. It happens everywhere, and all the time. Whatever we call it, I think it’s the lowest part of who we are, this need to find someone else to put down.” 179 likes
“Lonely was the first flavor I had tasted in my life, and it was always there, hidden inside the crevices of my mouth, reminding me.” 72 likes
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