Saturday, March 3, 2012

Amy and Isabelle-Book Review

Amy and Isabelle
by Elizabeth Strout

I heard of this novel for awhile, and it was promoted on Oprah for her book club. This is a novel, like the Bean Tree, and One Thousand Acres that I would see as a classic. The high school literature class would read. That said, Amy and Isabelle is out of my comfort zone.

There are two reasons I had read, because my friend recommended it, and because our books discussion for March is Amy and Isabelle.

At first I thought this is slow moving, but I still liked the book. But, after awhile it was so dull and slow moving. The only reason, I kept reading was because it was our March discussion. I was ready to say, enough already. I can't stand a book that drags. One person hit it on the head, and said, the book is life. I pondered it and thought she is right.

It is the story of a shy single mom, Isabelle raising her quiet rebellious teenage daughter, Amy. Amy and her mother have ups and downs. Isabelle is jealous of her daughter's looks, her youth,and her sexuality. She starts staying after school alot, and has feeling for her subsitute teacher, Mr. Johnson. Mr. Johnson finally one day crosses the line of no return. He takes Amy in her car, and they have sex down a deserted road, near Isabelle's boss's home near the woods, Mr. Avery. Mr. Avery spots the car, thinks it is abandoned not realizing who is in the car. He tells Isabelle.


The last fifty pages pulls you into the story. There are three different conflicts that are put together. What makes the story move, and thought the writing style was good even though it was slow moving. Ms. Stout wrote the story of the characters what was going on simultaneously, with four different setting, and four different characters. What that did was, THAT IS LIFE!!!

Isabelle invites her boss over for dessert, but never shows up. She calls him. He's excuse was he forgot, they have friends over. Was this a excuse because the wife felt threatened because Isabelle was a single women? not sure, but that is what I thought.

Then the same night her daughter and her friend discover a body in a car. The body was of a young girl, that was on the news. (Several times Isabelle, and Amy thought about this)During the night, Amy is brought home, and Amy is distraught over the body. Her mother is there for her.

That same night one of her coworkers Fat Bev, calls her and asked if she and her friend can stay over. Because her husband just left her for a younger women. This is where it gets interesting, Isabelle, with the group of women that she has worked with for 15 years, finally spills the beans about her past life. This brings all the women closer and Isabelle finally feels connected to someone rather than a stranger.

I am glad I did not quit reading, usually I give a book the 50 or 100 page test. If I can't get into it then, I find something else. This one took longer, but well worth it.

I don't want to read about a mother and a teen age daughter's relationship, I could write my story, raising my teenager. we all have our struggles with our teenage kids. But, then the book turned around. At first I did not care for Isabelle, but the last 50 pages she finally shedded her thick skin, and I connected and cared about her.

If you like character study, and reading about life you will like Amy and Isabelle.

1 comment:

bermudaonion said...

I do enjoy reading about mother/daughter relationships, so I would probably enjoy this more than you did.