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Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout

Amy and Isabelle
By Elizabeth Strout
Completed March 14, 2009

Elizabeth Strout is a master at creating female characters that grow on you as you read the story. This was the case in the brilliant Olive Kitteridge - and the case in my latest read, Amy and Isabelle.

Isabelle Goodrow was a well-meaning but insecure woman who was raising her teenage daughter, Amy. Isabelle felt that she was doing a good job as a mother until she discovered Amy’s affair with her teacher. Isabelle was devastated. She was torn between reporting the teacher and keeping Amy’s secret in a gossip-ruled town in which Isabelle so desperately wanted acceptance. More importantly, Isabelle felt betrayed by her daughter and jealous of her sexual escapades. Amy became a daughter she didn’t know anymore.

Meanwhile, we learn about Amy – a beautiful but shy teenage girl who, like her mother, was unconfident and tried her best to fit in. Amy did not see her mother as an expert on life, mostly because Isabelle was so reserved, and easily fell into the arms of her knowledgeable teacher. Little did Amy know that she was living a life parallel to her mother’s teenage years.

I loved how Isabelle developed from a smug, self-righteous woman to an open-minded, accepting mother and friend. As I first started to read about Isabelle, I kept thinking that she needed to lighten up. However, I realized that her quiet reserve was a front because she was always worried what people thought about her. Amy was another interesting character – Strout offered up pieces about Amy, but I did not feel any resolution to her insecurities.

If you enjoy reading about mother-daughter relationships, then I highly recommend Amy and Isabelle to you. I can’t wait to read Abide with Me by Elizabeth Strout, who is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. ( )


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 16th, 2009 01:47 pm (UTC)
Elizabeth Strout is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed this one.
Mar. 17th, 2009 12:50 am (UTC)
I read this years ago and really loved it. I'll definitely need to pick up another Strout book soon - thanks for reminding me!
Mar. 17th, 2009 01:42 am (UTC)
I really have to read this one soon! Thanks for a terrific review, Jilly!
Mar. 18th, 2009 04:23 am (UTC)
Amy & I
Thanks so much for the intro to this book, I read up further on this book and it sounds like a real winner....in fact....ugh......I ordered it.......oh Lord help me, if I could read as many as I buy in the time I buy them...........then I'd probably worry that there weren't enough books out there for me to read!
Oh well, sa-la-ve!
darbyscloset at yahoo dot com
Mar. 18th, 2009 11:24 pm (UTC)
Olive Kitteridge is on my wish list. I wasn't aware of this book - I'm adding it to my list as well.
Mar. 20th, 2009 11:21 am (UTC)
I loved Olive Kitteridge. I have Amy and Isabelle waiting for me. I'm glad to hear it is just as good!
Mar. 21st, 2009 02:08 am (UTC)
Glad you liked this one! I have it and have been meaning to read it for awhile.

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