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Loving Lizzie March by Susannah Hardy

Loving Lizzie March is a brightly pink clad novel about a misguided woman’s fervent search for The One. When Lizzie is sure she has found him in a Mr. Jake Wheeler she just needs to convince him of that fact. After an accident from a night of definitely NOT stalking Jake, Lizzie finds herself in the emergency room with a sore chin and a baby on the way; totally not how she saw her perfect love story starting. But Lizzie is determined it is a perfectly natural progression for her and Mr. Right, Jake.

I went into Loving Lizzie March with rom-com sentiments and it held up hugely on the COM part of the duo and less so on the ROM. By that I mean, Lizzie narrates her life as if what is happening with Jake is a whirlwind romance, but us readers know it’s not. The narration and perspective of this novel is brilliant because while Lizzie was frustrating me to no end, she was also making me laugh out loud. The dry sarcasm and general ‘I'm not in denial and by that I mean definitely in denial’ commentary on one’s life is always so funny to me. This tone is similar to how I write so I love seeing it on the printed page. Lizzie is such a loveable character but—as I assume we have all wanted to do with our besties at one time or another—I just wanted to shake some damn sense into her! She is so hellbent on finding someone to love her that she simply forgets to love herself. Her passions are sidelined, she exists for the male gaze and she puts herself in borderline dangerous situations. The character arc in Loving Lizzie March was one I could stand up and applaud. Trust me, I am not impartial to a self-destructive millennial book, but seeing a book that incorporates a sense of resolution and improvement of toxic behaviour was really pleasing to read. I was actually rooting for a happy ending and that NEVER happens.

Under the guise of a bright cover and an oopsie-daisy-I’m-in-a-pickle plot line, Loving Lizzie March subtly battles themes of our modern day existence and reiterates the comforting idea that life is not a formula to be followed. Instead of going against the grain and following her own dreams of pursuing fashion and being a designer, we see Lizzie living her life according to the assumption general society forces on a lot of young single women: you need a man in your life. It is not until she is quite harshly forced to re-evaluate her priorities does she start making and seeing change for the better. We have all had that friend (or been that friend, let’s be self aware here) who is a little too boy—or girl, it’s the same principle—obsessed and is dependent on the success of a love life to mean they are succeeding in life in general. Not to be cliche but I am a firm believer in the idea of finding happiness in oneself before you can find it with another person. From what I’ve read, I’m going to assume Susannah Hardy is in the same camp as me because seeing Lizzie going on this journey filled me with light and joy. I was really cheering her on.

Unexpectedly, this novel touched a lot on motherhood. Ideas of pregnancy and motherhood can easily fall into the same basket of discussion but that is not always the case. It is very easy to get pregnant but definitely not as easy to shape up for motherhood. Lizzie is surrounded by a lot of strong female characters all in different phases of their own journeys with motherhood, which forces Lizzie to evaluate where she fits into these archetypes. However, as Lizzie comes to terms with her pregnancy she finds it harder and harder to pinpoint the type of mother she will be and to that I say: good. Because, like finding the right partner, there is no absolute formula to this process. Society puts an innate amount of pressure on women to be a certain kind of woman or mother or wife and that is not fair. Loving Lizzie March highlights the way modern women are changing these expectations, evidenced by how no one shames Lizzie for how she got into her current situation; I found it such a good exhibition of female support and empowerment. There were a few pragmatic conversations but no one was depicted as having a negative reaction. This speaks to the conversations of female bodily autonomy because at the end of the day it really doesn’t matter how silly Lizzie (or any woman) was to get this baby, it’s no one's business and if she is happy with the choice she makes—whatever it may be—then so be it.

Admittedly, a rom-com type of novel is one I’ll rarely pick up. But after laughing out loud within the first few pages I was hooked. After the first few chapters I was then invested in Lizzie’s life and hoping, for her sake, that she shapes up and starts to take care of and love herself the way she deserves. I read this book in one day as I was so desperate to know what would happen. As you read and read you’ll dive deeper into Lizzie March and I bet you’ll maybe just start loving her yourself.

Loving Lizzie March

By Susannah Hardy

356 pages. 2021.

Buy it now from the publisher's website.


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