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Mother-daughter novels can, by virtue of their subject matter, often seem claustrophobic, a little overwrought; Elizabeth Strout masterfully avoids this problem by placing Amy and Isabelle in the larger context of the community they inhabit. Though her main focus is on the Goodrow women, Strout often detours into the lives and thoughts of her many secondary characters: Isabelle's coworkers Dottie Brown and Fat Bev; Amy's best friend, Stacy Burrows; Stacy's ex-boyfriend, Paul Bellows; and women from Isabelle's church such as Peg Dunlap and Barbara Rawley. She also introduces a chilling frisson of menace with the unsolved abduction of a 12-year-old girl and a mysterious obscene phone-caller. Like the best of Alice Hoffman, Amy and Isabelle offers up a moving yet resolutely unsentimental portrait of people coming to terms with their lives, finding unsuspected nobility in themselves and unexpected kindness in others along the way. Elizabeth Strout has written a gem of a novel. --Alix Wilber --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I toyed with the idea of 5 stars but settled on 4.
It was chapter 15 before I cared anything about
Amy or her mother Isabelle. Read more
This book was a page turner for me. As I got further and further along, I never wanted it to endPublished 5 days ago by jean
Elizabeth Strout has an uncanny, yet full, understanding of life. Her characters are so real. Her insights bring warmth, like a soft blanket on a chilly night, to all who ponder... Read morePublished 5 days ago by Patricia Kapolka
An enjoyable easy read. The descriptions of the weather and its effect on the countryside are very visual and compelling. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Jane Baker
Well written, character driven narrative. I thought it was quite compelling, but it is not a plot-driven story. The peripheral characters are especially engaging. Read morePublished 7 days ago by RueRue
Ms. Strout knows have to write. She reminds me of Joyce Carol Oats in her writing style and story telling. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Marci L Onorato
The main characters are so realistic that one feels not only that one knows them, but has always known them -grew up with them, was related, WAS them at times.Published 2 months ago by C. Henry