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Amy and Isabelle : a novel
Elizabeth Strout
Adult Fiction STROUT

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From Publishers' Weekly:

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 lust‘her own and others'‘balances 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

From Library Journal:

When Amy Goodrow falls in love with her high school math teacher, and the two are subsequently found parked on a lonely road together, her relationship with her mother, Isabelle, is changed forever. This mother-daughter novel tells the story of how Isabelle Goodrow escaped her past and moved to a small town with her daughter, telling everyone her husband and family were dead. While focusing on the relationship between the women, Strout also explores the lives of others in Shirley Falls: Dottie Brown and Fat Bev, Isabelle's co-workers at the mill; Stacy Burros, Amy's best friend; and women from Isabelle's church. Strout's first novel reveals her ability to create characters who are both interesting and believable. Her attention to the detail of everyday life resembles that of Alice Munro and Anne Tyler. Stephanie Roberts reads with clarity, capturing the personality of each character; the tape quality is excellent. Recommended for popular fiction collections.DNancy Ives, SUNY at Geneseo (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Isabelle Goodrow
Single mother
Isolated; lives in self-imposed seclusion.

Amy Goodrow
Age: 16

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