Anything is Possible

“Anything is Possible,” is the last line of the last story in this remarkable collection. The collection is as much as it about miracles as it is about family secrets and hidden shame.

Anything is Possible

Abel of the short story “Gift,” feels shame that he and his sister Dottie used to eat out of dumpsters as children. Though he has worked hard and grown rich, Abel has never gotten over the sorrow and loneliness of his childhood.

When he watches “A Christmas Carol” with his family, though, a strange thing happens. When his granddaughter forgets her toy at the theater, it gives him the opportunity to make a friend for the first time in his life.

Lucy Barton who was featured in Strout’s My Name is Lucy Barton makes an appearance here as well in the short story “Sister.” Lucy has a panic disorder that stems from her childhood. None of the Amgash residents, including Vicky, her sister, know about this.

The residents view Lucy as one of the few who left Amgash unscathed. They talk about Lucy in amazed tones for she is the only one who seems to have triumphed over her impoverished childhood.

Tommy’s reaction is typical:

“Lucy, Lucy, Lucy B. Where did you go to, how did you flee?

One of the pretty Nicely girls, Patty, is particularly drawn to Lucy’s story.