This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life
I didn't expect to like this book nearly as much as I did. It is a rather short book that I easily read in a single evening but it tells a big story. I found myself really relating to just about everything in this book. I have spent more hours with family members at the hospital than I would have dreamed possible in my younger days. It is just a fact of life for most people that the people you love will get sick and need you while they are in the hospital. Or maybe you need to make sure that they are really okay so you go to the hospital just to make sure. Either way, it seems like large portions of some years are spent sitting in an comfortable plastic chair while tests are performed and surgery is completed. As you may have guessed, I have served my time in one of those plastic chairs.
I love the way that this story is told. I got to know Lucy Barton the way that I get to know people in my life - one story at a time. This book jumped all over the place, back and forth in time, from one story to the next. Sometimes the story focused on Lucy and sometimes it focused on a person from the town she grew up in. I could really relate to just about everything in this book. It almost felt like I was sitting in that room listening to all of the stories being told.
Every single part of this book comes together to paint a much larger picture. This was really a story of Lucy's life. One of the most powerful things in the book is how the relationship between Lucy and her mother is illustrated through their interactions in the hospital room. Is there anything more complicated than a mother-daughter relationship at times? There is a lot of insight about how Lucy became the woman that she is and how strong she really has proven to be.
This was one of those books that really was almost impossible for me to put down even though nothing overly exciting ever happens. I am in awe of writing that can grab hold of me like that. The writing in this book was superb and not a word was wasted. The depth of the story and characters in such a short book is actually quite amazing.
I would highly recommend this book to others. This is the first book by Elizabeth Strout that I have had a chance to read but I am definitely planning on changing that very soon. I received an advance reader edition of this book from Random House Publishing Group via NetGalley for the purpose of providing an honest review.Initial Thoughts
This one was really good. I love the way that the story was told through lots of smaller stories. It kind of struck me that the way you really get to know a person is through all of the stories of their life. In many ways, this book reminded me of the tales that I have heard my family members tell oftentimes while waiting at the hospital together. This book felt real to me and I love how I got to know Lucy Barton.