My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I was browsing my local Waterstones bookstore when a bubbly and enthusiastic bookseller recommended it as an awesome read, so I bought a copy. How could I resist?
It was superbly written as expected with a very strong start. And I was hooked until I reached a certain point in the book and realised it wasn’t really a story per se, more a fictional biography of musings. At that point it lost my interest and I took me about six months before I decided I needed to finish it.
At first I thought it was a relationship between a character and her mother (in my opinion the blurb fooled me too), but then it broadened into life. So I guess it’s just a book about a woman’s life during a certain period in her life. However Elizabeth Strout’s strength is in her powerful subtext. In summary, Lucy Barton goes up in rural poverty, escapes it and marries well. However she marries a man her family hates, and in the end she divorces him for those reasons.
There are strong themes of lack of understanding, procrastination and lack of reconciliation. Like Lucy Barton’s parents loved her very much but couldn’t reconcile the fact to who she married there for making her estranged from them. She didn’t understand that until very later in the book, and for the same reason divorced the man. It’s interesting because what haunted her father, came to also haunt Lucy. And is a twisted parallel of modern times, also ended her daughter’s childhood phase.
So a very powerful book where it’s not only about love but also being able to live with one’s self and conscious while loving. Sometimes love isn’t enough.
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