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My Name Is Lucy Barton Reader’s Guide

By Elizabeth Strout

My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout


Questions and Topics for Discussion

1. Lucy’s husband asks her mother to visit her in the hospital and pays for her trip. Do you think this is a gesture of love on his part?

2. What role does the gossip Lucy and her mother share play in the book? 

3. Do you think Lucy blames her mother for the more painful parts of her childhood? Could her mother have done better?

4. World War II and the Nazis profoundly affect Lucy’s father (and hence her whole family), Lucy’s marriage to her first husband, and even her dreams. Discuss.

5. Lucy expresses great love for her doctor. How would you describe that love?

6. Lucy’s friend Jeremy tells her she needs to be ruthless to be a writer. Does she take his advice? How?

7. Why does Lucy keep returning again and again to see the marble statue at the Metropolitan Museum of Art?

8. How has the poverty of Lucy’s childhood shaped her life and her work?

9. What does living in New York City mean for Lucy? Do you think she feels at home in New York?

10. What does Sarah Payne mean when she says to Lucy that we all have only one story?

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