My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout is a novel I will hold close to my heart for years to come. Long-listed for the Man Booker Award, this is a story about Lucy, a woman who recollects a time when she was in the hospital and her mother unexpectedly came to visit her. Their conversations during the five days they spent together are steeped in emotions and revealing.
When Lucy Barton entered the hospital for routine surgery, little does she know it will lead to complications and an unexpected visit from the mother she has not seen for many years. Raised in extreme poverty, Lucy raises herself up and out of a small town in Illinois to become a wife, writer, and loving mother.
Her conversations with her mother unearth deep emotional wounds rooted in a childhood laced with years of hunger and abuse. Acting as if their lives were normal, Lucy’s mother remains oblivious to the truth about the past. Although they share the same experiences, their perspectives are vastly different. Lucy has never been told she is loved by either of her parents. Still, she loves them; they are her parents.
So much of this story struck deep at my heart that I could not help but cry silent tears. It confirmed to me, as a writer, the importance of telling the whole truth when writing a story. I urge my followers, especially those who are writers, to read this book. The author “did it right”. It is excellent.