The Perfect Elizabeth
About the Book
This modern-day Sense and Sensibility is a witty story about two sisters: Liza, a would-be poet who spends miserable days as a legal secretary; and Bette a graduate student writing her dissertation on Toast in the English Novel. Bette has taken to eating only what the characters she is writing about would eat: boiled eggs on toast, minemeat, nice cups of tea…Liza’s a bit concerned. She’s also worried about the status of her relationship with her actor boyfriend, Gregor. They’re not living together, and that’s a problem.
Then there’s the issue of Liza’s career, or lack thereof. Can dog-walking be considered a vocation? Liza’s beginning to think so. Mercifully, Bette is merely a local phone call away.
I spent the entire book trying to find parallels between The Perfect Elizabeth and Sense and Sensibility, but unfortunately, there wasn't much there beyond the presence of sisters. One sister kept her feelings to herself, like Elinor, but the rest didn't really tie in to Austen's novel. And forget "hilarious." Maybe it didn't match my taste in humor, but I found the narrative to be dry and monotone.
Liza, the main character, spent most of the book trying to find herself, but I don't think she ever managed it. She wasted day after day sitting around and moping about her absent boyfriend, and stumbled onto a "happy ending" rather than actually working for it. Her journey might be realistic, but I found the whole process unappealing.
The structure was disjointed, with incomplete scenes and a multitude of separate, barely-connected paragraphs. It made for a very strange read.
I would not recommend this book unless you are looking for a flat "slice of life" novel that has little to do with Jane Austen.