Fabulous Fiction Firsts #654



Librarian Extraordinaire and NPR books commentator Nancy Pearl's debut novel George & Lizzie *, is a loving tribute to Ann Arbor and her Alma mater (UM, AMLS, 1967).

In this "astute, nimble, funny, and affecting love story" (Booklist), a stoned Lizzie sabotaged George's near-perfect game and a dream date at the Bowlarama when they met. Weeks later, they shared a tuna fish sandwich at Drake's on their first date. Almost against all odds, they married despite radically different upbringing and understandings of what love and marriage should be.

George, a second-generation dentist grew up in a warm and loving family while Lizzie -- angry, defiant, and self-involved -- is the only child of a pair of research-driven psychologists who viewed her more as an in-house experiment than a child to love. Over the course of their marriage, George remains sunny and generous while Lizzie is plagued by depression, self-doubt, and traumatized by the secrets she keeps -- a youthful indiscretion called the "Great Game" that involved 23 members of her high school football team -- and her continued search for Jack McConaghey, the-one-who-got-away. And it would take a painful turn of events for Lizzie to reach a moment of clarity -- and that she has choices to make.

"Through knotty predicaments both sorrowful and hilarious, 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." (Booklist)

Nancy Pearl will be at Nicola's Books for a reading/signing at 7 pm on Wednesday, October 4.

In Standard Deviation *, Graham Cavanaugh, after 12 years of marriage to Audra is wondering if he had made the right choice now that he is on speaking terms with Elspeth, his first wife. Life with Audra, as irrepressible as she is spontaneous and fun, is also exhausting -- constant chatter, gossips, and prickly house-guests, as well as the challenges of caring of their special-needs son Matthew, is a stark contrast to the orderly existence with the emotionally cool Elspeth.

A firm believer that through the sheer force of her personality, she can overcome the most socially challenging interactions, Audra befriends Elspeth, sharing family dinners and holidays, oblivious to Graham's late night visits.

A follow-up to her well-received short-story collection Single, Carefree, Mellow (2015), Heiny gives us a hilarious and rueful debut novel of love, marriage, infidelity, and origami. "Contemporary fiction fans fond of urban settings and humor in the vein of Nora Ephron or Nick Hornby should appreciate this tale of city life and marriage while those searching for characters on the Asperger's spectrum could find young Matthew, portrayed as high functioning but challenging, authentic and recognizable as he navigates various connections with his parents and others." (Library Journal)

* = Starred review

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