George and Lizzie: A Novel

by Nancy Pearl

Hardcover, 2017

Call number





Touchstone (2017), 288 pages


"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"--… (more)

Library's review

An interesting first novel from a book expert who is one of the most charming, intelligent, and inspiring people you'd ever hope to meet. A quirky main character (Lizzie), along with some improbable high school sexual baggage ("The Game"), and "the one that got away" (Jack), will keep you guessing as to how this one will end. (Brian)… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member RaucousRain
Lizzie is a troubled girl, a teenager, when we first meet her. She did not enjoy a close loving relationship with her parents and had little guidance … and, boy-oh-boy, it shows! But George is a guy who grew up in a loving home and he turns out to be a most kind and compassionate man.

The story itself is okay … emotionally troubled girl and kindhearted man meet, marry, and have relationship difficulties. However, the book's strength was in its author's wonderful, sometimes quirky, writing. I especially enjoyed the amazing descriptions of the characters. The cadence of the dialogue was perfect, and at times the humor was laugh-out-loud brilliant.

The one area of weakness for me was that I usually prefer a more satisfying ending to a story. I don't need a happy ending, but I do like a tad more closure … but maybe that's just me. The way the book ended was more how it goes with real life.

This book was not what I expected – and yet I enjoyed it. I finished it on this one rainy day! And I look forward to reading Nancy Pearl's next novel.
… (more)
LibraryThing member Pet12
In her debut novel, Nancy Pearl tells the story of a marriage. It was beyond me why Lizzie and George got married in the first place and it remained a mystery to me why they stayed together. I have the feeling I kind of missed the point of this story. The main focus is on Lizzie. George, in my opinion, remained a bit of an underdeveloped character. While George stems from a supportive, loving family, Lizzie grew up as the only daughter of two behavioural psychologists who regarded her childhood and youth as research material for their work. In highschool Lizzie does something that keeps haunting her for years to come (another thing I didn’t understand. I would have just filed it under stupid adolescent ideas best to forget). The story keeps jumping back and forth in time and is interlaced with little vignettes about secondary characters relating to Lizzie’s high school escapades. While I got used to the nonlinear storyline, I failed to see the point of the vignettes. I don’t think they added anything significant to the book, but they weren’t particularly distracting either. I think this is where Pearl’s writing came in. I enjoyed her style and liked the underlying wit and this was certainly different from your standard relationship story.
Overall, a bit of a mixed bag which improved as the story progressed. Some humor, some emotions, and I liked the ending. But ultimately, I found it difficult to comprehend Lizzie’s behavior and her thought processes, and just blaming it on her messed up childhood/youth and unsupportive parents didn’t work for me either. Perhaps an interesting pick as a discussion book. I would imagine there’d be plenty of different views about Lizzie and George and their families and friends.
I received an ARC via NetGalley.
… (more)
LibraryThing member bogopea
George and Lizzie, by Nancy Pearl, is different. But good different. Very good different. A day after finishing the book I can't get it out of my head. The novel is primarily about Lizzie, from being raised by atypical parents to acceptance of her life and optimism for the future. Lizzie grew up in a sterile environment without loving, caring parents. From there she develops into a person unwittingly set on self-destruction. After a semester of being in love with a fellow student who moves away, she spent years tormenting herself that he was her one true love and she was responsible for the breakup. She spent hours and years looking for him on the internet, social media, telephone books . . . everywhere she traveled. Even so, she developed a relationship, which led to marriage, with George. His upbringing could not have been more different . . . loving, wonderful parents and extended family. Lizzie eventually let's herself be married to him but doesn't stop looking for her true love until the end of the book, when she realizes she has found her true love in George. Of course, it's more than that, it's a story about a damaged soul who grew up believing the glass is always half-empty yet fortunately grasped at lifelines extended by the few she allowed in. It's a unique book: sad, funny, insightful, frustrating yet I became invested in her character as well as George and the others in her close circle. People were there for her but she had to quiet the voices in her head who told her she was worthless and, through life lessons, recognize that loving and being loved trumps everything. There is so much in this book that it should be a book club must read.… (more)
LibraryThing member mzonderm
As a public librarian, Nancy Pearl is, of course, my hero (yes, I have the Nancy Pearl action figure). Nobody does reader's advisory like Nancy Pearl does reader's advisory! So when I heard she wrote a book, I naturally wanted to read it right away. At the same, I was a little apprehensive, because knowing what goes into a good book doesn't necessarily mean that you can write a good book. I needn't have worried.

Although the book is called George & Lizzie, this is really Lizzie's story. One is tempted to say that she was raised by wolves, but of course that's not true. She was really raised by behavioral psychologists, who treated her every action as an idea for further research. Predictably, she acts out by doing some, shall we say, less-than-socially-acceptable things. These things have repercussions, of course, in her later relationships, but we can't help loving Lizzie, even while she does everything possible to sabotage her own life and happiness.

Then comes George. We learn enough about George's childhood and family to make him a believable character, but since the book still focuses more on Lizzie, the real question is whether she can get over herself long enough to actually make a positive long-lasting relationship with George. There were a few plot points that I couldn't quite suss out (including the somewhat important point of why Lizzie agreed to marry George in the first place when she was still obsessed (yes, obsessed) with someone else), but those confusions were easily overcome in the excellent writing that continued to pull me forward.

And pulled forward I was, right up until the very natural and well-done ending. Pearl never takes the easy road with her characters, and the whole book moves along without ever giving the reader the feeling that the whole thing is just one big contrivance. Brava to Mrs. Pearl for making the leap from reader to author. I look forward to reading more.
… (more)
LibraryThing member librarian1204
The world needs more Georges.
George and Lizzie meet at the University of Michigan. They meet at the bowling alley where George is trying to impress his date and a stoned Lizzie is trying to forget the boyfriend who left for the summer and never came back.
Lizzie is a difficult character, the product of emotionless, imperfect, parents, who just happen to be psych professors at UM.
In the process of acting out to get parental attention, she learns a great deal about football and football players. A major side effect, a guilt trip that will haunt her.
George is the good guy, the future dentist, with great parents. George has the ability to respond to events rather than react. A distinction that is lost on Lizzie.
Nancy Pearl chronicles their love story from their first meeting into marriage. She does this with insight, with humor and with great understanding.
A thoroughly enjoyable read.
Read as an ARC from NetGalley offered to librarians. Thank you.
… (more)
LibraryThing member nyiper
I must admit that I was almost immediately turned off on the character of Lizzie---I agreed with her friend, Andrea---the Great Game idea was nuts! And the fact that the author had to keep bringing in descriptions of all of the players Lizzie slept with and what became of them---I kind of groaned each time another description appeared in the story. Jack's part was the almost ruination of Lizzie's marriage and maybe well-deserved. Her obsession with him, especially with the overwhelmingly wonderful description of her husband, George, made the marriage seem.....sad? Worthless? Lizzie was just not a character I could appreciate and I found it a little hard to believe that George could be so completely besotted over her, given all of her issues, which he listed! Yes, complete sympathy for her parenthood but the result? Is it all solved at the very last sentence in the book?

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Touchstone.
… (more)
LibraryThing member froxgirl
Nancy Pearl writes renowned books of book recommendations. Too bad that the dumbest premise ever frames her first novel and leads to its ruination. Lizzie, only child of two of the most horrible psychology professors imaginable, dreams up The Greatest Game: having sex once with the entire starting lineup of her high school football team. Her best friend initially decides to join in, so they can split up offense and defense, but she backs out and loses Lizzie's friendship by showing some common sense. Lizzie, completing the Game as to punishing her parents, also tells them about her accomplishment, which they of course write up in an academic journal, which causes Lizzie's boyfriend to break up with her when he finds out.

There's a good novel in here, about Lizzie's later life with her husband George, with her excellent in-laws, with her close friends, but it's really wasted by the Worst Game Ever Used To Ruin A Novel.

Quote (about Holocaust survivors): "Their response to having survived when so many others did not was guilt, but guilt wrapped in layers upon layers of anger, until the kernel of shame and self-reproach was unrecognizable, or at least they didn't acknowledge it in themselves. All that was left was a deep and abiding rage. They were furious about the recent past and disgusted with the present, and didn't view the future with any sanguinity."
… (more)
LibraryThing member LauraBrook
I'm sorry to say that I had to invoke the authors's own "Pearl Rule" at 50 pages. I just couldn't get into this book. Ms. Pearl is held in high regard at my house, and I was very excited (and honored) to be offered a copy from Touchstone. Saving it for a day off from work, I settled in with a hot cup of tea, opened the book...and felt unsettled and icky by page 12. Getting to page 50 was work, and while I don't need to like a main character to enjoy the book, I do have to at least care about them. And I didn't care about anyone in this book except for George and I just wanted to tell him to get out while he still could.

It's been a week since I bailed, and I've been trying to put my finger on what this book reminds me of. And to me it's a lot like "Franny & Zooey" by J.D. Salinger - you're dropped into the book, not much happens, lots of run-on sentences, and unlikable, blasé characters I couldn't give a rat's ass about. Salinger lost a couple of pegs that day, and I haven't picked up anything else of his since. Something about the feel of "F&Z" reminds me of this.

I'm disappointed in this first fictional foray of Nancy Pearl's, and I'll try her work again in future.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.
… (more)
LibraryThing member brangwinn
Nancy Pearl has written a fun first novel, weaving in her love of literature along the way. The relationship of George and Lizzy seems to grow in strength despite Lizzy’s longing for a college lover.
LibraryThing member oldblack
Nancy Pearl saved my life. Actually, Nancy Pearl’s “Rule of Fifty” saved my reading life - on many occasions. I owe her a lot. Her rule liberated me and allowed me to see that reading is for enjoyment and although sometimes you have to work at something before you find the enjoyment, if you keep on working and enjoyment isn’t coming, then maybe you’re on the wrong track. And what’s more, the older you get, the more important it is that you don’t waste your precious remaining time on earth. That said, when I discovered Nancy Pearl’s first novel on the shelf of my local library, I wanted to read it but was determined that I would apply the “Rule of Fifty” without fear or favour. I read one reviewer who wrote that Pearl’s character Lizzie was just too quirky and the reader had regretfully cut her reading short at around page 50. In the early stages of this book I was wondering whether I’d be following that track myself. I was prepared, however, to cut Nancy a little more slack than her own rule provided, because I wanted to be absolutely sure that I’d given this demi-god of reading a fair run. I needn’t have worried, however, as the book rapidly improved for me and before I knew it I’d covered a hundred pages and was really looking forward to the remainder. I loved the basic idea of the story - the idea that Lizzie commits to something (The Great Game, in which she has sex with all 23 members of a football team) which she initially thinks will be ‘fun’ but later hugely regrets, and then is faced with the question: to whom can or should she reveal her ‘bad’ behaviour? Can she risk loss of a relationship by revealing her true self? Sure, Lizzie is quirky, as indeed are almost all the characters. These characters are interesting and funny because in each character there’s an element that we could recognise in people we know: the work-oriented parent whose child-rearing is arguably negligent; academics whose work is respected but who you wouldn’t want to spend time with; the rude and obnoxious relative; the sport obsessed man; the loving and accepting mother-in-law; nominally Jewish people who observe Christmas etc. So I did like the book, despite recognising that it’s not a book for everyone (I’m thinking of many religious people who might be uncomfortable with some anti-religious sentiment, not to mention Lizzie’s sexual adventures and her whole approach to and language about sex). It’s not, however, the perfect book for me. Even though I enjoyed it, the tone is undeniably light-hearted and I’m more of a serious sort of person. If a book blurb describes it as “hilarious” I place it straight back on the shelf. Blurb writers for ‘George and Lizzie’ use the word “witty” - along with “wise”, and that’s a very different prospect than “hilarious”. The combination of humour and serious issues that Nancy Pearl has put together in this novel worked well for me, even though my first choice would be to not have the witty component. Maybe it could have been a little less 'romantic' too, although this certainly isn't a book I'd put in the 'romance' category. But perhaps the book’s biggest achievement - and one that clearly could only be achieved by someone with Nancy Pearl’s wonderful understanding of people and their relation to literature - is that she made me want to read poetry! Me!! A person who usually hates books written by poet-authors and who tends to regard the discussion of poetry as high-brow, esoteric and elitist. Thank you Nancy. Thanks for everything.… (more)
LibraryThing member pdebolt
This book engaged me more than I thought it would once I understood how a flawed childhood led Lizzie to make some incredibly poor decisions due to her lack of self worth. Her engagement in the "Great Game" involved intentionally having sex with the entire first starters of her high school's football team and then falling in love with a fellow college student, Jack, whom she dated for three months before he "ghosted" her. Somehow George came into her life with his unfailing support, kindness and optimism, but even then her self loathing and obsession over Jack never faltered. Their marriage endured despite her attempts to sabotage it. The ending is a satisfying conclusion to the story of George and Lizzie.… (more)
LibraryThing member CarrieWuj
3.5 I love Nancy Pearl's collections of book lists: Book Lust, Book Crush, so was excited to read (listen to) her novel. She was the actual narrator on the audio book, which wasn't a great overall a bit of disappointment over this. It seems a bit like a YA book because the main character, Lizzie is so angst-filled, but with good reason. And the content is a little edgy/mature for YA. Lizzie is a college freshman at University of Michigan, where her parents (Lydia and Mendel) also happen to be psychology professors. She has been like an experiment to them her whole life -- they observe her, but never really love her or engage with her. In her senior year of high school, she and a friend come up with a radical plan: the Great Game -- to sleep with all 23 starters on the football team. The friend backs out, but Lizzie boldly proceeds and hopes to get her parents' attention or burst their bubble about her "perfect" status. Though recounted with humor sporadically throughout the book, this plan backfires spectacularly as it leaves Lizzie feeling very damaged and regretful. When she meets college senior Jack McConaghy early in her freshman year, she begins to heal a bit. Like Lizzie, he loves poetry and books and their relationship, if a little lopsided brings her happiness. When he graduates, it seems to have a natural conclusion, though Lizzie cannot accept this. Jack returns to TX and she never hears from him again -- since it is the early 90s, a letter is her only hope, and cyber-stalking is not yet an option. Lizzie meets George, who is studying to be a dentist, in her sophomore year and he is the epitome of kindness, goodness, stability, family devotion -- all the things Lizzie has lacked -- and he loves her. They eventually marry, but Lizzie continues to pine for Jack and her misconceptions about that relationship. There are some well-done life events involving family and friends that show the normal ups and downs in a marriage, but it ultimately comes down to Lizzie getting her head and heart in the game (and out of the shadows and repercussions of The Great Game) Great supporting characters in Elaine and Alan, George's parents and Myla and James, Lizzie's roommate and her boyfriend. Life is messy and sometimes we make it harder than it needs to be, but healing is possible with solid support.… (more)
LibraryThing member cnfoht
Had to get this, I have the Nancy Pearl action figure!




1501162896 / 9781501162893
Page: 0.329 seconds