THE PERFECT ELIZABETH by Libby Schmais

THE PERFECT ELIZABETH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A flimsy first novel, loosely centered on two sisters and their romantic affairs.

Liza, a would-be poet, works as a legal secretary and dates an actor named Gregor while putting all her spare effort into finding a man for her older sister. Bette, happy to be single after a divorce, is busy writing her dissertation on “toast in the Victorian novel.” The siblings have an endearing, comic relationship that almost compensates for initial plot meanderings that sluggishly introduce their academic parents, New Age brother, and the actor boyfriend, who has commitment issues. Nonetheless, Liza finally moves in with Gregor and quits her much-hated job. Life seems to be getting better, especially for Bette, swept off her feet and away from her sister by Lawrence, who carries her all the way across the continent to L.A., where he's designing novelty pools for the rich and famous. Meanwhile, Liza is writing a children's book featuring a lemming that possesses all the courage and sense of direction its author lacks. When Gregor sleeps with the producer of All My Children, on which he’s playing an evil English lord, Liza flies to L.A. to be with her now-pregnant sister. Feeling hopelessly out of place—with Bette, with the city, with herself sans Gregor, not to mention with her new job cleaning pools—all Liza wants is a life of her own. It looms tantalizingly on the horizon when a production company wants to turn her children's story into a cartoon for cable, and by the close, all involved are granted happy endings. Unfortunately, however, thin character development means readers aren’t likely to have much interest in their fates.

Provides a few laughs but little else.

Pub Date: July 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-312-25225-0
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2000