“George and Lizzie” is a first book by Nancy Pearl, a librarian and book critic on NPR. I have long enjoyed her book reviews. (Pearl was the model for the librarian action figure designed by a company a few years ago...this is true). In writing this book, Pearl states she is writing the book she always wanted to read.
It’s a funny, realistic, bittersweet, and moving novel, a testament to how one can survive family heartbreak, extremely poor decisions, and ennui because of the love of another.
George is just about a perfect husband and son, and Lizzie, who’s married to George, is the product of a dysfunctional family; she struggles to get through everyday life.
Years before, Lizzie and her friend made a decision during their senior year to sleep with all the starters on the football team. Her friend bails on this idea, but Lizzie carries through. Her renown parents, behavioral scientists, view Lizzie, who was raised by a nanny, as only a subject to be studied, and fail to heed what’s happening to her. When she tells them, her mother simply jots notes in a notebook; something she had always done when Lizzie makes any remark or reacts to a situation.
Lizzie loses the college boyfriend she considered to be the love of her life when she tells him that the article published by her parents is about her. (This is another betrayal by her parents since she asked them not to write about it.)
Lizzie can’t get over the “one who got away” even though her long-suffering husband, who adores her, stays with her despite her sadness, sharpness and remoteness.
Lizzie’s awakening and her life-changing decision to at least believe in the possibility of happiness is due to George’s love for her. His love is genuinely a picture of what one would call “true love.” It is redeeming. Reading this book will cause one to be grateful for the love that is often right in front of one’s nose, but is perhaps not as appreciated as it should be.