With compassion, humor,
and striking insight, Amy and Isabelle explores the secrets of sexuality that
jeopardize the love between a mother and her daughter. Amy Goodrow, a shy high
school student in a small mill town, falls in love with her math teacher, and
together they cross the line between understandable fantasy and disturbing
reality. When discovered, this emotional and physical trespass brings disgrace
to Amy’s mother, Isabelle, and intensifies the shame she feels about her own
past. In a fury, she lashes out at her daughter’s beauty and then retreats into
outraged silence. Amy withdraws, too, and mother and daughter eat, sleep, and
even work side by side but remain at a vast, seemingly unbridgeable distance
from each other.
This conflict is
surrounded by other large and small dramas in the town of Shirley Falls—a
teenage pregnancy, a UFO sighting, a missing child, and the trials of Fat Bev,
the community’s enormous (and enormously funny and compassionate) peacemaker and
amateur medical consultant.
Keeping Isabelle and Amy
as the main focus of her sharp, sympathetic eye, Elizabeth Strout attends to
them all. As she does so, she reveals not only her deep affection for her
characters, both serious and comic, but her profound wisdom about the human
condition in general. She makes us care about these extraordinary ordinary
people and makes us hope that they will find a way out of their often
self-imposed emotional exile. Download and start listening now!