Review: Who Got Liz Gardner? by Elizabeth Allen
Review by: Shelleyrae
Liz Gardner is eavesdropping in an alumni chat room when one of the men asks, "Who got Liz Gardner?' Wild speculation ensues to Liz's amusement because her story is both simpler and more complicated than they imagine. This fictional memoir, loosely based on the authors real life experiences, follows Liz's journey from hedonistic wild child to a happily married mother of one.
Allen barely takes a breath as she lays out Liz's family dysfunction and formative years with disturbing bluntness and flippant one liners in the first chapters. Initially I struggled with the frenetic pace of what is almost a stream of consciousness of Liz's recollections. It wasn't until a quarter of the way into the book that I felt that Liz's character was distinct from the drama surrounding her.
Liz spends most of her twenties trying to become an actress with limited success and the culture allows her an extended adolescence. Her career though is simply background to her dominant personal life. There is a lack of subtlety to Liz, the nuances of her emotions are overwhelmed by a mixture of crude humor and pathos. She is unapologetically aggressive and self centered yet despite Liz's brash manner, she has a surprising, unpretentious charm. What you see is what you get and Liz makes no concession to the consequences of her attitude.
Allen makes no attempt to couch her characters and their behaviours in euphemisms. Their strengths and weaknesses are displayed with an almost brutal authenticity.
It's entertaining to observe Liz's sybaritic lifestyle but I would have preferred some more introspection during her journey to illustrate growth in her character. I didn't feel that Liz matured over the course of the book so much as she finally ran out of steam.
Much of the Liz's story graphically details her shallow relationships and sexual exploits with a cast of wildly appropriate men, and women, including Phil, who is 32 to her 17, long term lover Chris and a young and nubile Taylor. Her encounters are often clumsy, funny and largely devoid of emotional connection. Despite the explicit language, I wouldn't identify it with erotica as the tone is oddly casual.
"Who Got Liz Gardner?" is the tale of one woman's pursuit of love and desire. It can be hilarious, crude and disturbing in turn but is an entertaining and enjoyable read for a mature audience.
Get your copy of Who Got Liz Gardner? here.