In popular librarian-turned-book-evangelist Nancy Pearl’s quirky and charming first novel, a couple meet cute at an Ann Arbor bowling alley, but could they be any more different? While both Jewish, George is a sweet but nondescript dental student from Tulsa who celebrates Christmas, while Lizzie is a local undergrad with an upbringing swiped clean of spirituality, and carrying a lot of baggage to boot. Could the daughter of two painfully cold behavioral psychologists be anything less? While her senior year incident (which involves the football team, not exactly what you think) would seem to be the true stumbling block to happiness, a rebound relationship causes as many problems. Pearl’s narrative swirls around in time and place, descending on many of the important folks in George and Lizzie’s life, with just about every side character fleshed out. And as for setting, any current or former A2 resident will enjoy the vibrant placeyness of the story. (Yes, Shaman Drum gets its moment.) It’s hard not to root for Lizzie, a hero in the vein of Laurie Colwin or more recently, Elizabeth McKenzie’s The Portable Veblen, living proof that you can overcome the burdens of your past, especially if you remember the mantra that nobody cares what happened to you in high school.— Daniel Goldin
September 2017 Indie Next List
“I don't know Nancy Pearl, but I imagine the beloved librarian turned national book commentator would be too modest to recommend her debut for your reading list, so I'll do it for her. Pearl has written an intelligent, character-driven page-turner that asks important questions about honesty and forgiveness and examines how conscious choices and behaviors strengthen us and our relationships. Raised by brilliant but emotionally detached psychologist parents, Lizzie faces ongoing and often humorous internal battles that ultimately lead to a crossroads in her marriage to George. You may examine your own relationships as you read this witty, kindhearted story. Pearl clearly seems to love the characters she has created. You'll fall for them, too.”
— Mary Vermillion (W), Village Books, Bellingham, WA
Winter 2018 Reading Group Indie Next List
“Petulant, querulous, delusional, and yet somehow lovable: that’s our Lizzie. All her life she’s been treated by her parents—experimental psychologists—primarily as a research subject. She’s haunted by a dreadful adolescent misstep and by the memory of a boyfriend who disappeared. Enter George, the compassionate, affable product of a loving family. A mismatch? Perhaps, if you don’t take into account persistence, goodness, a passion for football, and love. Celebrated librarian and NPR commentator Nancy Pearl’s debut novel is populated not with characters but with living, breathing, three-dimensional people who are about to become your close friends.”
— Banna Rubinow, The River's End Bookstore, Oswego, NY
“[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.” —The Washington Post
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.
About the Author
Nancy Pearl is known as “America’s Librarian.” She speaks about the pleasures of reading at library conferences, to literacy organizations and community groups throughout the world and comments on books regularly on NPR’s Morning Edition. Born and raised in Detroit, she received her master’s degree in library science in 1967 from the University of Michigan. She also received an MA in history from Oklahoma State University in 1977. Among her many honors and awards are the 2011 Librarian of the Year Award from Library Journal; and the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association. She also hosts a monthly television show, Book Lust with Nancy Pearl. She lives in Seattle with her husband.
FEATURED IN SOUTHERN LIVING’S “Books Coming Out in the Fall That We Can’t Wait to Read”
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.
— Lisa Scottoline, #1 New York Times bestselling author
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.
— Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of CRUEL BEAUTIFUL WORLD and PICTURES OF YOU
Nancy Pearl understands the desperate, confused, needy heart that beats under the surface of even the most dysfunctional of relationships, and exposes it with wit and genuine love. Oh, and you’ll never think about football the same way again.
— Katherine Heiny, author of SINGLE, CAREFREE, MELLOW and STANDARD DEVIATIONS
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.
— Jim Lynch, author of Before the Wind
Read GEORGE AND LIZZIE. This smart novel has a smashing premise, an engaging cast of characters, and a voice that propels you from first page to last with its wit, insight into secrets, families, and football, and its unrelenting energy.
— Stephen McCauley, author of THE OBJECT OF MY AFFECTION and MY EX-LIFE
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.
— Laurie Frankel, author of THIS IS HOW IT ALWAYS IS
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.
— Donna Seaman
Nancy Pearl has long been a bright light in the literary world—what a delight to bask in the glow of her debut novel. GEORGE AND LIZZIE is a richly absorbing portrait of a perfectly imperfect marriage; a wryly observed story of family, love, and absurdity; and a deft consideration of the moments that shadow and shape our lives, and just might take on lives of their own.
— Amy Poeppel, author of SMALL ADMISSIONS
[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.
— Washington Post
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.
— Library Journal