• The Bossy Bookworm

Review of Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout

I love how Strout interlinks characters, backgrounds, and stories so gracefully, yet also allows them to stand on their own.

As soon as I finished reading this short story collection I wished I’d slowed down and taken notes or could start all over and read it again immediately.


I love how Strout interlinks characters, backgrounds, and stories so gracefully, yet also allows them to stand on their own as well. She alludes to close calls (Annie in her youth with Charlene’s father, for example) but doesn’t hit the reader over the head or draw out outcomes. The stories feel immediate and real.


I adore how Strout shines a light on turning points: small but powerful shifts of power or emotion, or realizations within a conversation or a scene. She masterfully illustrates how a moment sends ripples through the day or the broader life of those involved in it—it’s fascinating (as with Dottie with Shelley Small at the B&B, Charlie with Tracy and with Patty, Vicky and Lucy, Pete and Tommy, and Patty and Lila). Strout’s ability to do this gracefully allows (most of) her characters to grow and allows all of them to feel heartbreakingly flawed yet redeemable and real to the reader.

Any Bossy thoughts on this book?

Are you as in love with Elizabeth Strout as I am? Can I get into a fan club or something?


Strout also wrote Olive Kitteridge, its wonderful sequel Olive, Again, Amy and Isabelle, My Name Is Lucy Barton, and The Burgess Boys.