Book Review: Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout

4.5/5 Stars.

“I wanted to talk to a person, and here you are a real person, you have no idea how hard it is—to find a real person,” remarks one of the characters in Strout’s latest release.

This is a book about real people. In a loose sequel to My Name Is Lucy Barton, Strout returns to the familiar form of Olive Kitteridge: a series of loosely connected stories about a cast of characters from a small town.

Some writing just has this way of cutting to the core of your being, and Strout’s prose consistently does this for me. She reminds us that each person is his or her own universe, containing secret motivations and yearnings and sufferings that no one else can ever know.

In Anything Is Possible, threads from previous stories will pick up in another, providing a brand new layer of depth and meaning, reminding us that the assumptions we have about each other are often wrong.

We tend to think of ourselves as the center of the world—leads surrounded by supporting actors—and no one explores this fundamental aspect of human nature quite like Strout.

If you like reading about real people, you’ll find them in this book.

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My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

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4/5 Stars

This is the only Elizabeth Strout book I’ve read so far aside from Olive Kitteridge (one of my favorite books), and while it’s not nearly on the same level, it’s another testament to Strout’s understated storytelling and incredible insight into the human condition.

Lucy is an odd, complex character, and as she shares little vignettes and memories from her life, the sad truths about her childhood are slowly revealed. Strout is a master of subtlety and ambiguity, which in her capable hands are more powerful than the alternatives.

We all carry secret pain and loneliness beneath our exteriors – and Lucy is a reminder of this universal truth.

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

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5/5 stars.

This book stirred something deep inside of me. It changed me. What a masterful examination of the human condition and the quiet desperation we suffer during our individual quests for happiness and fulfullment. I’m genuinely in awe of everything this book has taught me.