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Whenever I hear that Elizabeth Strout is publishing a new novel, it goes to the top of my TBR pile (sometimes only mentally).

Her latest offering, My Name is Lucy Barton, did not disappoint and was in true Strout style. As I looked back at my review of The Burgess Boys and thought about my experience reading and watching Olive Kitteridge, I realized that my review of My Name is Lucy Barton25893709 would be similar.

“I never love the characters in Strout’s stories, but that what makes them feel so real and relatable. There are parts of all of us that aren’t so pretty and Strout pulls that in and makes that part of the story.”

Lucy Barton struggles to overcome a difficult childhood and has a strained relationship with her parents, so it is with surprise that she finds her mother at her hospital bedside as the novel begins. Lucy seeks acknowledgement and love from her mother, but eventually seems to accept her mother’s inability to meet those needs.

The novel jumps back and forth in time and we learn more about Lucy, her role as a mother and wife and her dreams of being a writer. She describes awkward interactions with a successful writer she randomly meets in a store and then pursues at a reading and a workshop. As always with Strout’s novels, I left wondering who was really the awkward one unable to show love — the people in her life or Lucy Barton herself.