Isabelle Goodrow has been living in self-imposed exile with her daughter Amy for 15 years. Shamed by her past and her affair with Amy's father she has submerged herself in the routine of her dead-end job and her unrequited love for her boss. But when Amy, frustrated by her quiet and unemotional mother, embarks on an illicit affair with her maths ...
Isabelle Goodrow has been living in self-imposed exile with her daughter Amy for 15 years. Shamed by her past and her affair with Amy's father she has submerged herself in the routine of her dead-end job and her unrequited love for her boss. But when Amy, frustrated by her quiet and unemotional mother, embarks on an illicit affair with her maths teacher, the disgrace intensifies the shame Isabelle feels about her own past. Throughout one long, sweltering summer as the events of the small town ebb and flow around them Amy and Isabelle exist in silent conflict until a final act leads ultimately to the understanding they both crave.
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I think it would make a great book for a book club. There is so much material for discussion. I thoroughly enjoyed this book
Nov 19, 2009
Can't believe this book won awards
I finally just put this book down when I was near the last quarter of it. It was tiresome, and going nowhere. It beats the relationship between mother and daughter to death, and just wouldn't let it go. I felt no affinity to either woman. The book was a tiresome, nonstop bore.
Aug 24, 2009
Not her best, but very good
Elizabeth Strout has become one of my favorite writers. Her last book, Olive Kitteridge won the Nobel Prize for fiction. Isabelle & Amy takes an honest look at a mother daughter relationship of a "single mom." Strout expresses herself beautifully and has a good sense of humor. THis book will make you laugh and make you cry. I always find that at least one of her characters is someone I know.And others I want to know.
Oct 13, 2007
This book explores the problems between mother and daughter. Isabelle is shy and lonely, haunted by her past mistakes. She tells everyone that she is a widow when in fact she was never married. She keeps to herself, concerned with only making a comfortable life for her and her daughters. She eventually makes friends, changing her life for the better.
Amy, the daughter, also makes a friend. Unfortunately its with an older teacher. Isabelle does not want Amy to make the same mistakes as she has done. This book does well fleshing out the character of mother and daughter.
Publishers Weekly, 1998-10-19 Stories of young women who suffer the sexual advances of an authority figure (in this case, a high school math teacher) seem ubiquitous these days. But in Strout's gently powerful, richly satisfying debut, the damage shows less within the heart of the teenaged girl in question than in the wreckage of the previously tranquil relationship she had enjoyed with her mother. Amy Goodrow, 16, is the shy only child of Isabelle, a single mother. Isabelle's shame over the secret of her daughter's illegitimacy and her hunger for respectability keep her painfully isolated from the community of the New England mill town where she has made her home. Even before Amy's relations with her teacher become known, her beauty and her burgeoning sexuality arouse uncomfortable feelings of competitiveness in Isabelle, as well as dread at the prospect of her daughter's flight from Isabelle's carefully constructed nest. Amy, meanwhile, is in love; Strout lays out her teacher's charms as clearly as his caddishness, and her portrait of a young woman stumbling on the shattering power of lustæher own and others'æbalances delicacy with frankness and breathtaking acuity. In the end, it is Isabelle who stays with the reader; devastated by her daughter's betrayal, riven with regrets over a life left largely unlived, she must somehow make amends to herself. This beautifully nuanced novel steers a course somewhere between the whimsy of Alice Hoffman and the compassionate insight of Anne Tyler and Sue Miller, and is sure to delight fans of all three. Agent, Lisa Bankoff at ICM. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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