Review: My Name is Lucy Barton

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RATING: 4 STARS

If you’ve ever been hospitalized, in between the routine tests and  x-rays, there are long periods of time spent alone. Free from the responsibilities of your life, long stretches of time will be spent not only healing physically but emotionally as well. This is the case in Elizabeth Strout’s latest book, My Name is Lucy Barton. Lucy Barton is a tender-hearted writer, who reflects on her own dysfunctional family, and tries to find her own story.
Set in the 1980’s, she spends nine weeks in the hospital after complications from an appendectomy. Lucy weaves her story back and forth between today and her childhood memories of poverty and mistreatment. 
During her illness, her mother, who she hadn’t seen in many years, visits her for five days in the hospital. The sole presence of her mother triggers Lucy’s childhood memories of her life in rural Illinois and her dysfunctional family. We learn about Lucy’s life story through short small life events. As Lucy’s mother rambles on about bad marriages, she is oblivious and unable to give Lucy what she craves the most – the demonstration of her love. As an adult, Lucy looks back with a fresh perspective and shares her life story in a simple manner. I felt an emotional connection with Lucy’s compassionate storytelling.
Although it’s a story of a woman’s ordinary life, Elizabeth Strout reveals the universal lesson about the human condition, that teaches us how to learn from our mistakes and live a better life. Highly recommended for those who enjoy women’s literature, relationships between mothers and daughters and skilled writing.
 

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Random House Publishing Group via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: The Man Who Risked It All

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Perched on the Eiffel Tower and ready to jump to his death, Alan hears a cough, which knocks him out of his trance. Irritated and fighting the vertigo from the height, he spots s a man. Little does he know that this man is going to challenge him and talk him down from the ledge, albeit in a peculiar way. Not only will he save Alan’s life, but he will change the entire direction of his lonely and monotonous existence.

The theme of this book is fear and demonstrates how it can hold us back from reaching happiness.  If we learn to overcome them, we can escape the shackled chains of our self-imposed doubts.  An enjoying read with a wonderful surprise ending. I’m looking forward to M. Gounelle’s next novel. Bravo!

RATING: 4 STARS

 

* I received a free ARC from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.