A bare bones portrayal of a mother-daughter relationship past and present. Lucy Barton grew up poor in a small town in Illinois. She went off to college, moved to New York and married a man her family didn’t approve of. After years of hardly any communication, Lucy’s mother comes to visit her daughter in the hospital where Lucy has been for weeks. While reminiscing, mom and daughter dig up old memories, some buried for years and painful to think about. Although Lucy’s childhood was difficult and at times traumatic, as Strout points out, there is usually such a strong mother-daughter bond that nothing can completely sever it.
My Name is Lucy Barton would be a great book for a women’s book club. I envision long discussions about family, child rearing, marriage and loneliness.