What makes a good marriage? That is the question behind NPR's favorite book expert Nancy Pearl in her debut novel George and Lizzie.
Lizzie and George couldn't be more different. George was raised in a fairly average American family, the son of a Jewish orthodontist. Growing up was pretty standard, with the worst of his teenage pain coming from the monthly tightening of his braces. Lizzie, in contrast, was raised by two behavioral psychologists, and she felt like a mouse caught in a maze in one of their experiments. To sublimate her teenaged pain, she invented The Great Game, where she decided to sleep with the entire football team her senior year of high school (well, just the starters--she's not slutty, just bored and feeling unnoticed).
Lizzie and George meet in college, at a bowling alley, where Lizzie is nursing a broken heart. George is instantly smitten, and that's that. Love, marriage, and all the rest. But does that include happiness? Lizzie can't seem to figure that part out, and her ambivalence is putting her 10-year marriage in jeopardy.
George and Lizzie is told in vignettes, jumping back and forth between present and past, and slowing unfolding the complicated story of this couple. It is masterfully written, with three-dimensional characters who can be hard to like at times. But they are honest and genuine as they spill their secrets, their hopes, and their fears onto the page. This may be Nancy Pearl's first book, but I whole-heartedly hope that it is not her last. I can't wait to see the stories she decides to tell us next!
Galleys for George and Lizzie were provided by Touchstone through NetGalley.com, with many thanks.