My library request for My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout came in right after I finished The Burgess Boys. It was interesting reading the same author back-to-back; her writing has a certain intense tone and subdued atmosphere to it. This short novel is another examination of family and our complex bonds within it. Lucy Barton reflects back on her life – focusing on a long stay she had in the hospital, her childhood, her children, her later years in life – but all jumbled together, not in any chronological order. And it’s not a narrator recounting what actually happened, it’s Lucy recounting what she remembers. It’s very lifelike, as if you’re having a conversation with her and she talks about what comes to mind as the conversation goes, and circles back to different stories later on. She’s a woman scarred by her past who’s just looking for simple, pure human connection. Lucy struggles through this assortment of painful memories, trying to sort out who she is, how these experiences have shaped her. In the end, she grasps – or at least is closer to grasping – what it means to be Lucy Barton. Certainly not fast-paced, but beautifully introspective and well-written.