Amy Goodrow, a shy high school student in a small mill town, falls in love with her math teacher, Thomas Robertson. What passes for a while as just a simple high school girl's secret crush, crosses from fantasy into reality when Thomas and Amy begin a secret love affair with each other. When this emotional and physical trespass is discovered, it brings disgrace to Amy's mother, Isabelle, and intensifies Isabelle's feelings of shame about her own past.
Mother and daughter - whose relationship was initially extremely close - suffers an almost physical blow, as both Amy and Isabelle retreat into icy silence towards each other. Amid the minor problems faced by many of the citizens in Shirley Falls, Maine, Amy and Isabelle have a more private misery: an seemingly unbridgeable chasm has opened up between them and nothing will ever be the same again.
I thought that this was a wonderful book, a superlative book. The characters were entirely believeable and the book was written with incredible feeling and attention to detail. In my opinion, Elizabeth Strout did an excellent job in getting into her characters heads and describing their motivations. I give this book an A+! and have placed two more books by Elizabeth Strout - Abide With Me and Olive Kitteridge on my Wish List.
It took me a while to get into the flow of this book about a mother and daughter, but wow. The descriptions of the town, sexuality, relationships between women and women and men are phenomenal.