Summary and book reviews of George and Lizzie by Nancy Pearl

George and Lizzie

by Nancy Pearl

George and Lizzie by Nancy Pearl X
George and Lizzie by Nancy Pearl
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Sep 2017, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2018, 288 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Sarah Tomp
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About this Book

Book Summary

From "America's librarian" and NPR books commentator Nancy Pearl comes an emotionally riveting debut novel about an unlikely marriage at a crossroads.

George and Lizzie have radically different understandings of what love and marriage should be. George grew up in a warm and loving family - his father an orthodontist, his mother a stay-at-home mom - while Lizzie grew up as the only child of two famous psychologists, who viewed her more as an in-house experiment than a child to love.

Over the course of their marriage, nothing has changed - George is happy; Lizzie remains…unfulfilled. When a shameful secret from Lizzie's past resurfaces, she'll need to face her fears in order to accept the true nature of the relationship she and George have built over a decade together.

With pitch-perfect prose and compassion and humor to spare, George and Lizzie is an intimate story of new and past loves, the scars of childhood, and an imperfect marriage at its defining moments.

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. Revisit the scene in the bowling alley beginning on page 5, when George and Lizzie first meet. How do their very different responses—Lizzie's laughter and George's annoyance—prefigure their very different approaches to life? Does the collision between their bowling balls act as a kind of omen for their future?
  2. When Andrea and Lizzie first conceive of the Great Game, Lizzie shares her reasoning behind wanting to follow through on the idea, "When my parents find out about it ... they'll finally have to realize that I'm not who they think I am. . . . I honestly think they never loved me at all." Do you believe that Lizzie participates in the Great Game only because of her strained relationship with her parents?...
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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

George and Lizzie put me in mind of long lazy chats with friends—slightly circular, occasionally random, but always entertaining. Beyond the novel's character studies, the plot is simple and wandering—much like many ordinary lives. The pleasure and tension is created organically by the interactions of two divergent personality types as well as real-life moments such as family changes, friends' blessings and struggles, and finding one's way in the world.   (Reviewed by Sarah Tomp).

Full Review (667 words).

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Media Reviews

The Washington Post
[A]n homage to true love, painful childhood experiences, and emotional scars that last a lifetime. It’s a story of forgiveness, especially for one’s self…Extraordinary.

Kirkus Reviews
There's a fairy-tale quality to the narrative voice and extreme premises of this book that some will find endearing.

Publishers Weekly
Pearl doesn't give readers enough time to witness the deepening of George and Lizzie 's relationship for it to be convincing, and at times the characters seem out of step with the realities of 1990s-era early adulthood. Still, the path George and Lizzie 's relationship takes toward wholeness points to truths about the way people self-sabotage, the complexity of love, and the importance of being able to let go of the past.

Library Journal
With eccentric characters, relationship drama, and a vivid sense of place, this Anne Tyler-esque debut novel is sure to interest and please Pearl's many fans.

Booklist
Starred Review. Pearl dramatizes a complicated and deeply illuminating union of opposites and conducts profound inquiries into the self, family, empathy, and love. The result is a charming, edgy, and many faceted novel of penetrating humor and resonant insight.

Author Blurb Lisa Scottoline, #1 New York Times bestselling author
George and Lizzie is a fresh, sweet, funny, and completely charming love story between two people, two families, and two unlikely paths in life, which somehow find their way to each other. To read this novel is to see family, love, and life in a new light.

Author Blurb Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Cruel Beautiful World and Pictures of You
As sparkling as Prosecco, as jubilantly quirky and inventive a love story as you could ever want, and a jigsaw puzzle you never want to finish. If I could marry a novel, this wise, witty and rapturously inventive book would be it.

Author Blurb Jim Lynch, author of Before the Wind
George and Lizzie overflows with humor and heart, with quirks and eccentricities, with unforgettable characters…Her story daringly and playfully jumbles time and convention, gathering heft and humor as it unfolds. The end result is an irresistible debut by a born storyteller.

Author Blurb Laurie Frankel, author of This Is How It Always Is
George and Lizzie is an unusual story about a marriage, except that really it's a story about growing up, except that really it's a story about a cast of uncommon, bewitching characters I could have happily read about for a month. It's smart, funny, warmly sketched, cleverly put together, engagingly told, and sums to something wonderful and unexpected. I will be recommending it unrelentingly to everyone I know.

Reader Reviews

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Beyond the Book

Love Story or Romance?

Although the focus of George and Lizzie by Nancy Pearl is their romantic relationship, I consider this novel to be a love story, not a romance. This distinction is arguably subjective and open for interpretation—perhaps rooted in literary snobbery—but as someone who appreciates both genres, this is how I discern the two.

Scene from Pride and Prejudice one of the more famous romance novels Characters
As in many types of stories, characters are central to both love stories and romances. We need to be intrigued by and invested in them in order to fully appreciate their relationship. Characters in a romance may feel idealized in some way. They might have some type of flaw—but even this flaw is likely to be a strength in disguise. Love stories tend to have more deeply and authentically ...

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