Weather like this can be a hidden blessing. After inching through Elizabeth Strout’s first novel for weeks I finally ate the last hundred pages:


For years I avoided Elizabeth Strout’s work. First passively, I had a long list of things to read after all. I’m busy reader when I want to be. Then, steadily over time, my avoidance became a bit more purposeful. Who cares about the upper Northeast? Why would I read a novel about such a place? Such people? Excuses, excuses.

Really though I was worried about disagreeing with my wife. Now don’t get me wrong. We disagree on normal topics just fine. What toppings belong on a hamburger? What TV show we should watch? Is it important to empty your pockets before putting your jeans in the wash? But something felt different about the possibility of disliking a book.

The book is a nerd’s heart. The author, our hero. I didn’t want to disagree with her hero. I should have known though, she was right. Strout’s simple prose is near perfect: “How unpleasant can it be?” Amy asked unpleasantly.

She kills me!

Moral of the story: Read this book, or this one. You won’t regret a single sentence of Elizabeth Strout’s work.

Also, always trust your wife.