Book Reviews of Amy and Isabelle

Amy and Isabelle
Amy and Isabelle
Author: Elizabeth Strout
ISBN-13: 9780375705199
ISBN-10: 0375705198
Publication Date: 2/1/2000
Pages: 320
Rating:
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 272

3.4 stars, based on 272 ratings
Publisher: Vintage
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

55 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 16 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
A coming of age story, well-written, a good story about the relationship between girls and their mothers, set in the days of free love and sexual exploration. Some harsh language.
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 113 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
When I started this book, I had no expectations. But I was immediately intrigued by the story. The topic is uncomfortable at times, but the writing is good and keeps you interested. A deep psychological book with insights/thoughts that made me think.
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on
Helpful Score: 6
A lovely account of a mother/daughter disconnect, and the ability to love though it.
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 22 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
A story about a mother and daughter who think they are very different but realize that they are not as different as they once believed.

Good read!!!
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 26 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
A wonderful read with haunting characters. I almost thought about keeping this one to reread again at some point. One of the best books that I have read in a long time.
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on
Helpful Score: 5
I didn't have any expectations going into this book but I was pleasantly surprised. It was a simple, quick read but definitely kept you interested because you wanted to know what happened next. It's a good story about a disconnected mother/daughter relationship -- I enjoyed it!
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 328 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
A moving story of a mother and daughter comming to terms with their lives, finding unsuspected nobility in themselves and unexpected kindness in others. A powerful novel that deals with sexual secrets and exploitation.
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Beautifully written, heartbreaking, redemptive. Couldn't put it down.
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 21 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
A well-written tale of the relationship between a mother and daughter as the daughter becomes sexually aware and interested and the mother fights an internal battle against her own sexual secrets. The characters come alive well. The writing is flowing and subtle. The "secrets" are pretty easy to spot, though.
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on
Helpful Score: 2
Excellent Book!! You definately get swept up into it! Highly recommend.
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on
Helpful Score: 2
A very good read. NOt too long - you really can identify with the characters.
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 49 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Oprah always picks the best books. You will love it.
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 135 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
One of those rare, invigorating books that take an apparently familiar world and peer into it with ruthless intimacy, revealing a strange and startling place.
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
The story was decent, but I just couldn't get into this book. I was very disappointed
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on
Helpful Score: 2
This book will leave an impression. Great mother/daughter story.
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 102 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I liked this book. I had it on my bookshelf for a long time and never read it, when I finally picked it up I read it in two days. Great mother/daughter story.
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 69 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
An amazing read! Takes place around the early 1970s, but reads as if it were today. Isabelle is a single mom raising 16 year old Amy in a small, gossipy mill town. The two have a common mother/daughter relationship of sometimes love and sometimes hate. The book starts out looking at the lives of the two, but slowly branches out to include many of the women in the town.

Strout has a gift for developing characters that are so complete you wonder if they actually exist. Everyone has their flaws and strengths, and as the early foreshadowing reveals itself throughout the book, you find yourself sympathizing and being frustrated with many of the characters.

The heart of the book is Amy's awakening sexuality and the secrets that daughters keep from their mothers. While this has been written about before and will be written about until the end of time, Strout takes the familiar and uses it to force Isabelle to examine her own life and choices, leading her down a new path she didn't even realize was there.

Another thing I liked about this book was the stories within the stories. What at first may seem disjointed and a simple passing observation will later become a major conflict or plot change. In a lesser writer's hands, these would have been convenient fall backs to get to the end of the book, but with Strout, you feel like she crafted a puzzle and has carefully chosen what pieces you will see and when. It's not until the end of the book when you can step back and see the entire picture.

This isn't a happy book, it's not a tear inducing tragedy, but instead it's a beautifully crafted piece of realistic fiction. Highly recommended!
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 167 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Heartbreaking story of a 16 year old girls coming of age and her mother who doesn't quite understand. Good read...I really enjoyed it.
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 16 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A very nice read! Great story line.
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 79 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I listened to this book on CD. Somewhat enjoyable, I found it mostly too racy for me. While I know the relationship in the book is meant to make you uncomfortable, I thought the author pushed it a little bit too far.
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 636 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
There was something missing in this story of a mother and a daughter. Overall, the plot was predictable. There were no startling revelations. And the characters' isolation was so profound that even the reader felt cut off from them. The era was unclear - though described as the early seventies, it felt like it could be any time in a small town. The only true-to-life thing was Isabelle's rich fantasy life. And the background story of the summer of a kidnapping went grossly unresolved. All in all, I was disappointed that the conclusion wasn't stronger and because of that, was disappointed in the novel as a whole.
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 55 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Amy and Isabelle offers up a moving yet resolutely unsentimental portrait of people coming to terms with their lives, finding unsuspected nobility in themselves and unexpected kindness in others along the way.
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 95 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This one was just okay for me. I didn't really like Isabelle's character as I could not get how she could be so naive about life when she herself had experienced the very same things as an adolescent herself, as her daughter Amy. And, I never connected with any of the characters. Short, easy read though.
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 25 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Wonderful tale, a touching mother/daughter relationship, great read!
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 32 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A well written narrative of love, pain, and forgiveness between a mother and daughter. Descriptive, literate... a great read.
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 88 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
small town,mother daughter angst,a book about growing up growing apart,
coming together
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 45 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is a lot more than just another mother/daughter relationship story.
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 15 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Mother/daughter relationship...the usual love/hate. Revelation of daughter's sexuality causes rift and conflict. Interesting.
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 19 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Great book. Parts were a bit disturbing, but very touching and interesting.
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I enjoyed this book. It's the story of a single mom & her teenage daughter. The mom comes across as overprotective, but as you read about her background you understand why.

There is an ICK FACTOR in the parts where the daughter is with her teacher...I couldn't wait to get out of those portions...definitely creepy.

A good read, I've enjoyed everything from Strout so far.
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 132 more book reviews
A book I really got into the characters. The writer draws you in with the complexities of a mother & daughters life. I wouldn't rate if five stars, but a three. Would make a good book for a book club discussion.
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 28 more book reviews
I loved this book, partly because i can relate in some respects. It just goes to show you what kids really do hide from their parents.
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 9 more book reviews
Great Book!
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 2 more book reviews
Wonderfully constructed story, very engaging. Poetic writing. Worth a second read.
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 14 more book reviews
So gritty. She really gets to the heart and soul and mind of her characters.
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 907 more book reviews
Beautiful story. I absolutely loved it. Much better than I thought it would be. Highly reccommend. Teach me not to judge a book by the cover.
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on
This is a great book for women who have a trying relationship with their mother. I really related to the character (daughter) in this book. Good read.
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 11 more book reviews
Elizabeth Strout is a great storyteller. I truly enjoyed this book. A stunnig mother/daughter story!
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on
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: a 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 believable 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.
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on
Wonderfully well written. Superb character development.
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 16 more book reviews
Good book about the relationship between a mother and daughter.
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 4 more book reviews
very griping-a story that stays with you
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 186 more book reviews
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.
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 117 more book reviews
This book was just okay.What mother and teen daughter don't have that hate love relationship with each other at times.Thats exactly what this book was about.The teen girl was rebellious but the mom wasn't perfect either.They each had their own set of problems.But in the end they came to realize there not that different after all as they thought they were.
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 6 more book reviews
I started this book and could not put it down
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 8 more book reviews
I decided to read Amy & Isabelle after reading Olive Kitteridge for book club. I found this to be a better book and is the story of a mother and daughter in a struggling relationship. Well written and held my interest until the end.
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 139 more book reviews
Good family saga
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 16 more book reviews
An Oprah Winfrey presents movie book....about a mother and her 16 year old daughter...good...
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 216 more book reviews
FROM THE PUBLISHER
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.
SYNOPSIS
A much talked about first novel that explores the secrets that jeopardize the love between a mother and her daughter.
FROM THE CRITICS
Mademoiselle
If you read one book all year, let it be this exquisite first novel.
New Yorker
Unflaggingly engaging...What a pleasure to gain entry into the world of this book.
Jeff Giles
Lovely, powerful. Newsweek
Time Magazine
Strout's insights into the complex psychology between [mother and daughter] result in a poignant tale about two comings of age.
Vanessa V. Friedman
...[I]n Strout's sure hands[the central revelatory] truth isn't awful butin factrevelatory. Entertainment Weekly
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on
Author Elizabeth Strout evokes a teenager's alienation from her distant mother - and a parent's rage at the discovery of her 16-year-old daughter's sexual secrets.
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 17 more book reviews
I read this years ago and enjoyed it, although don't remember much about it any more.
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 19 more book reviews
Great book!
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 67 more book reviews
Good story!
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 19 more book reviews
Mother/daughter relationships
reviewed Amy and Isabelle on + 87 more book reviews
"In most ways, Isabelle and Amy are like any mother and her 16-year old daughter, a fierce mix of love and loathing exchanged in their every single glance. That they eat, sleep and work side by side in the gossip-ridden mill town of Shirley Falls only increases the tension. And just when it appears things can't get any worse, Amy's sexuality begins to unfold, causing a vast and icy rift between mother and daughter that will remain unbridgeable unless Isabelle examines her own secretive and shameful past." (From back)