Customer Reviews for

Amy and Isabelle

Average Rating 4
( 72 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(28)

4 Star

(22)

3 Star

(12)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(4)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

What Wonderful Writing

I read the Pulitzer Prize winning "Olive Kitteridge" and was quite impressed. After reading "Amy and Isabelle," I now rate Elizabeth Strout as one of my favorite writers. She writes with such seemingly simply details, and yet the words are evocative.

posted by Baochi on May 20, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Who Reads This Stuff?

Could be the most predictable, hackneyed piece of treacle ever written. Every thought and event is telegraphed pages ahead, and the only emotion remaining at the end is THANK GOD ITS OVER. I only read it because my wife made me, and she didn't like it either. Save yo...
Could be the most predictable, hackneyed piece of treacle ever written. Every thought and event is telegraphed pages ahead, and the only emotion remaining at the end is THANK GOD ITS OVER. I only read it because my wife made me, and she didn't like it either. Save your money.

posted by Anonymous on March 6, 2001

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  • Posted May 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    What Wonderful Writing

    I read the Pulitzer Prize winning "Olive Kitteridge" and was quite impressed. After reading "Amy and Isabelle," I now rate Elizabeth Strout as one of my favorite writers. She writes with such seemingly simply details, and yet the words are evocative.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2001

    Who Reads This Stuff?

    Could be the most predictable, hackneyed piece of treacle ever written. Every thought and event is telegraphed pages ahead, and the only emotion remaining at the end is THANK GOD ITS OVER. I only read it because my wife made me, and she didn't like it either. Save your money.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2012

    Worthwhile

    Not as strong as Olive Kittredge, but with segments of well -crafted writing that are delightful. Strout paints a vivid picture of small town New England and delights us with her characters.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 25, 2012

    I love Strout's descriptions -- she is a master at creating mood

    I love Strout's descriptions -- she is a master at creating mood, and
    seeing the world through her characters' emotional filters.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Nice character study.

    This is the story of a single mother and her daughter. Sure, it seems simple enough, and actually the book was quite simple. It covers a single year, but an important one. The sexual awakening of the younger Goodrow, the quest for self-improvement of the elder. There is hardly any dialogue in this book, but a lot of thought processes between the two main characters. It was very honest, and I loved reading Isabelle's thoughts as she tried to read Shakespeare following an embarrassing encounter with her daughter. Amy didn't capture my interest nearly as well as her mother. I thought that the author did a fantastic job with her character, especially with Isabelle's quest for acceptance. I recommend this one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    You know these people!

    I found the characters in the story so very real and rich. This is not a story that takes you roaring to a dramatic turn but I felt a part of these characters, felt a part of the complicated small town landscape that the author creates for us. A very good read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2000

    A REMARKABLY ASSURED DEBUT

    With Amy and Isabelle, a compellingly told mother/daughter tale, Elizabeth Strout makes her literary debut. We can only hope there are many encores for this first-time novelist who relates her story with resonant assurance. When this is coupled with Ms. Strout's balanced compassion for her characters and her sharp eye for the precise telling detail, Amy and Isabelle becomes a work to be admired and savored. Isabelle Goodrow and her 16-year-old daughter, Amy, make their home in a small New England mill town, Shirley Falls. This is a lugubrious community where in the hot summer that Amy turns 16 and comes to dislike the sight of her mother, the river is 'just a dead brown snake of a thing lying flat through the center of town.' Their rented house is in an area called the Basin, where many blue collar workers live. Isabelle, a tentative woman who wears her hair in a flat French twist and works in the office room of the mill, would never dream of buying that house because she 'could not bear to stop thinking that her real life would happen somewhere else.' Hers was a solitary existence, save for Amy. Isabelle is aloof and easily wounded, hurt when the deacon's wife disapproves of the leaves Isabelle had used to decorate the church altar. And, she is proper, always sitting toward the rear of the sanctuary as her mother had taught her to do. This propriety, blended with Isabelle's innate fastidiousness made Amy's illegitimacy even more of a shameful secret. Amy, too, was reserved. She had but one friend, Stacy, with whom she shared cigarettes, candy bars, and confidences during school lunch hours. A good student with a love for poetry, Amy had long golden hair and a slim well-developed body which made her all the more self-conscious. During classes she would duck her head down, hiding her face behind her hair. When a substitute teacher, Mr. Robertson, teases her saying, 'Come on out, Amy Goodrow, everyone's been asking about you,' there is little indication of how Amy will respond. Yet respond she does as first she is puzzled and then exultant in the burgeoning sexuality that Mr. Robertson coaxes from her. They are, of course, discovered. The forced awareness of Amy's duplicity and also of her emerging womanhood is a devastating blow to Isabelle, who feels she has spent her life for naught. In fact, Isabelle feels as though she has died: 'Her `life' went on. But she felt little connection to anything, except for the queasiness of panic and grief.' And Amy, too, feels betrayed as she realizes that Mr. Robertson has used rather than cared for her. '.....ever since she found his number disconnected, found out that he had gone away; she could not stop her inner trembling.' With Amy and Isabelle Ms. Strout has proven herself to be a considerably gifted writer. She has drawn vividly erotic scenes, and deftly limned some of life's most tender moments. There is every indication that she well understands and cares deeply for the characters she has created.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2000

    God, let us have mercy on ourselves

    A beautifully writtenbook about the ways in which women ruin their lives by not forgiving themselves for their mistakes, especially sexual ones. That redemption is in confession to other women is refreshing (no shrinks, no authority figures to account to). The male figures are too flat. Their stories, short and sweet, are that they were ruined by women: the teacher's mother was an alcoholic, the filandering husband didn't get enough nooky at home. Most of the men have no story: the kindly pharmacist, Amy's birth father, the father of the child given up for adoption, their motivation is kept from us. Therefore, this wonderful work is flawed by being another male-bashing women's chronicle, with Woman as Victim of Men as the main character in many forms.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

    A thoughtful and engaging account of how one generation is affec

    A thoughtful and engaging account of how one generation is affected by the previous one - and how certain vulnerabilities are evoked when probkesm remain unsolved. There is a chain effect, for sure, but then, there are cross roads too. There are places where new decisions can be made and new pathways formed. Amy and Isabelle, mother and daughter, make important choices that change the trajectory of their lives forever.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2014

    My new favorite Strout novel

    Eliizabeth Strout always writes with extremely perceptive and deep details into each character's thoughts and motivations. I love reading her books for that reason. I think Amy and Isabelle is the most intimate and knowing of all her books- about a mother and teenaged daughter living together in a New England town. I would especially recommend for women, who may see themselves a bit in either or both of these characters.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2013

    Amy and Sonic Love Story- 5

    The next day Amy woke up around 9 so she could get ready with her date with Sonic. She was still expecting him like always but the way he promised her yesterday gave her some hope. She spent the next 2 hours getting ready, like having a shower and getting dressed. She decided to wear her usual clothes. It was now 11:30. She was in her livingroom waiting for the door to knock. "Might as well watch something while I'm waiting." She reached for the remote that was sitting on a small coffee table and spent the last 30 minutes flicking throught all the channels and was getting frustrated with there beening nothing good to watch. "Why is there never anything good on during the night?" She saided out loud and nearly flung the remote on the floor then just at that moment she heard the clock on her wall chime 12. Amy switched off her T.V. off and 5 minutes had now passed and Sonic still wasn't here. Amy sighes. "I knew it was to good to be ture." She stood up disppointed. She was ready to walk up the stairs when she was startled by someone knocking on the door. Amy gasped. "Could it be?" Amy turned and opened the door. Sure enough there was Sonic the Hedgehog standing on the side. "I can't belive it!" She shouted in her thoughts. "Hey Amy! Ready to go?" Sonic asked with a warm smile. Amy still couldn't belive that Sonic was here. "Uhh...yea!" She repiled warmly. She blushed a bit when she turned to close her door and lock it. When she was done she turned back to Sonic. "So where are we going?" She asked. She wanted to give him a big hug bit that will probably make him run away so she didn't. "Well I got a lot of things planned for today." Before Amy could said anything Sonic picked her up and zoomed off. Amy couldn't help but laugh. Since it was a nice day Sonic decided to take Amy to his favorite place which was a small hill with a giant oak tree on top surrounded by a large forest with a clear blue lake at the bottom. He set Amy down on her feet and she breathless by sight. "Oh wow I never seen anything like this before." Amy walked over to lake and Sonic followed. "It's so beautiful." Amy saided. Sonic smiled as he saided. "Yeah. It's almost as beautiful as you are." Sonic's eyes dropped a bit as he looked at her. "Did he just said what I think he just said?" Amy thought. "Uhh...what did you just said?" Amy asked Sonic. Sonic turned back to Amy and moved closer to Amy which made here blush like crazy. "Amy, have I ever told you how cute you are?" He still had his eyes drop. Now Amy couldn't belive it. Sonic actually though she was dreaming. "N..no." Sonic leaned in closer and tried to kiss her but Amy stopped him and this surprised Sonic. He stood back with a disappointed look on his face. "Sonic, are you alright?" Amy asked. "Fine." Sonic saided. He then leaded Amy to the tree where they sat side by side talking about suff. Like what was Eggman up to or what thier friends had been doing. A few hours had now passed and Sonic took Amy back to Station Square. "You know the date isn't over yet." Sonic saided. "Really? What else do you have plan?" Amy asked. "You'll see." He saided and with that he picked her up again and zoomed off. Tails, who was coming out of jewel store at the time and watched them go. "Something is wrong with Sonic but what?" Tails asked himself. "Oh well. I figure it out later. Right now I have more important things to worry about." Tails raced off.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2013

    XY

    Amazing! Keep going! Read my sonic story at new jersey!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2012

    Interesting

    Interesting

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 26, 2011

    I loved this book and could not put it down!

    I couldn't wait to find out how this one was gonna end!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    This is a Wierd Book

    This book was different than any book I have ever read. It was dark and spooky. I kept on reading, I don't really know why,I needed to find the end. The two main characters were wierd, slow witted and just plain crazy. I didn't like how the other characters were discribed, one was fat, another was a chain smoker, one was abused and another has female surgery and was wasting away.I never really knew in what time period this was written in. A male teacher having sex with a student age 15 and was not reported.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2007

    The Book that Sucked me In

    Amy and Isabelle is one of the best written books I personally have ever read. This is one of those books that sucks you in. You can't put it down until you've read from cover to back. Elizabeth Strout has done a fantastic job writing this book so it relates to the struggles teenage girls have with their mothers. Amy and Isabelle have a tough relationship between them after Amy makes some sexual mistakes with her math teacher. Amy deals with the problems of talking to her mother, like most girls her age. Isabelle lets her past get in the way of her relationship with her daughter. The author makes you wonder about all the past experiences that has happened between this mother and daughter until an emotional conclusion. Strout also does a great job of telling this story from both sides. Neither one of the girls is necessarily right, and you can feel for both of them. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the struggles between a mother and daughter.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2006

    The Book That Ate My Life

    Amy and Isabelle was written less than ten years ago, but the elegant style and word choice makes it feel as though it was written fifty years ago. The content is so deep and insightful, that it's one of those books that you can't just spend a lazy weekend indulging in, because it makes you think because it's REAL. The things that happen in this book, the feelings that the characters carry in their hearts, these are things that are actually realistic. Isabelle and Amy have a difficult,complex mother-daughter relationship, but they are also individual people, and they have trouble caring for themselves and each other at the same time. Isabelle has pushed her conservative values and etiquette onto Amy so much that Amy is shy, timid, and naive and when her substitute math teacher Mr. Robertson helps her explore a mature, sexual, and intellectual side of herself that she's never let out before, she falls into an unhealthy, emotionally dependant relationship with him. And when Isabelle discovers this, she is not only disappointed as a mother, but frustrated and confused as a person because she's been through a similar situation in the past, a situation that is merely hinted at until an emotional scene towards the end of the book. The author explores the deepest thoughts and desires of her characters, even ones they wouldn't dare vocalize. In another customer review, Wikiola said something about how both sides of this story, Amy's and Isabelle's, are equally represented. You don't side with one or the other. Elizabeth Strout shows us that both of their actions, even the most disgusting and evil, are perhaps not justifiable, but at least understandable. In the end, you truly feel for these two people, and hope that they can find a functional way to show the love they both have for each other. I would recommend it to anyone who wants a mentally and emotionally stimulating read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2006

    A Great Read

    I enjoyed this book very much and have, in fact, passed it on to two friends! The characters were great and the relationship between Amy and Isabelle was wonderful to read about. I'd definitely recommend this one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2003

    Amy and Isabelle: A Novel

    If you're a teenage daughter you may like this book. It has many real life situations that can happen in a mother-daughter relationship. When reading this book you get inside the characters and really get to know their feelings. A lot of times mothers can be way over-protective but if they are it's because they want the best for you and have more experience in life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2003

    Amy and Isabelle: A Novel

    This book would be a good book to read if you like to read about things that may acctually happen between a mother/daughter relationship. I was really suprised in many things the writer wrote in this book because not many writers write like this. In this story you really get to know the characters and know more about their life. I think that if you are a young girl, you will learn some lessons and values from this book.

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