Books: My Name Is Lucy Barton, and Anything Is Possible

I have just finished the second of two books that have left me feeling mildly dumbstruck because they were so exactly what I like to read: My Name Is Lucy Barton and Anything Is Possible, both by Elizabeth Strout.

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I should not have been surprised, since I felt similarly about one of this author’s earlier books, Olive Kitteridge. (I know it’s been made into a movie. And there is probably no actress I trust more than Frances McDormand. But I haven’t seen it yet. Don’t urge me. Let nature take its own course, one way or the other.) What I remember is finishing Olive Kitteridge and then being very disappointed by Amy and Isabelle, but I don’t remember anything about why. After reading these two books, I think I need to go back and give Amy and Isabelle another chance.

The books are almost like collections of short stories, but completely interwoven, so you learn more about the various characters through their roles in other characters’ stories. Both books are about the same batch of people, so they should be read one right after the other, starting with Lucy Barton.

10 thoughts on “Books: My Name Is Lucy Barton, and Anything Is Possible

  1. Maureen

    I’ve read Anything is Possible, picked it up in the new fiction section of my library a few months ago. It wasn’t till I was done that I realized I should have read My Name is Lucy Barton first. Strout is a really wonderful writer-I had a hard time putting Anything is Possible down.

  2. Ruthie

    Elizabeth Strout is one of my favorites too. I had already read Lucy Barton (and forgotten most of it) when Anything Is Possible came out, so I didn’t get the pleasure of reading them both together, but I also didn’t like Lucy Barton quite enough to go back and reread it. Olive Kitteridge remains in a class by itself, I think. I had to come to the movie in my own time as well, but I was not disappointed. I’m not sure that anyone but Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins could have pulled it off.

  3. SIL Anna

    I also loved My Name is Lucy Barton, and I put it on your brother’s shelf and now he has read it, too!

  4. dayman

    I hated Amy and Isabelle, and let this author fall off my list as a result. now I know to try again, thanks!

  5. Teej

    I loved both books as well. Even though I read “Anything Is Possible” several months ago, I woke up the other day thinking about the story with the girl who likes to play in the woods and her father who doesn’t want her to (and the reason for that). I found them all very compelling.

  6. Gwen

    I read Amy and Isabelle after the other two and I didn’t really like it. I’m not sure that a revisit would help. But, oh her writing is so amazing with Olive, Lucy, and Anything!

  7. Lashley

    Do you read e-books or paper? I bet there’s a post on this if I looked for it! I usually borrow Kindle e-books from the library and then often forget the title of what I’m reading, since I don’t see the cover every time I pick it up. This reminds me that I did read Lucy Barton a while back, so I’ll have to look for Anything is Possible.

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