Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Review: George & Hilly by George Gurley

Take one marriage-averse man. Add a longtime girlfriend who wants some sort of statement of commitment. Send through 6 years of couples therapy. Chronicle the ups and downs for the entire world. In a nutshell, that's the premise of the memoir George & Hilly by George Gurley. This is definitely a no-holds barred, no punches pulled description of the six years of therapy George and Hilly pursued in the hopes of making their relationship strong enough for George to be willing to propose without breaking into a cold sweat or finding yet another excuse not to take that step.

George was a hard-partying, heavy drinking, nightlife reporter when he met Hilly. Hilly quickly became an early-to-bed spendthrift working in the fashion world soon into their realtionship. Two more different people could hardly be imagined. And as they work through their issues as a couple, their differences start to become more and more glaringly obvious. But they also uncover co-dependencies and similarities that the reader would never have initially guessed at as well. As they focus on their strengths and weaknesses as a couple, Gurley discusses his own view of relationships and the life that he has (willingly) given up because he loves Hilly, even if he is almost incapable of saying the word.

Written with the help of extensive notes and recorded coversations from their therapy sessions, Gurley details all the petty squabbling, misunderstandings, and personal foibles that define a relationship. Both are incredibly open with their therapist and Gurley, at least in retrospect, is very above board about his goals in telling Dr. Selman things, both pertinent to their relationship and not.

I wanted very badly to like this book. I love the premise and thought it would have many relatable, laugh-out-loud moments in it. Sadly, for me, it just did not. And I have to admit that I didn't much like either George or Hilly as Gurley presented them here, terrible as this is to admit given that they are in fact real people and not fictional characters. They often times come off as juvenile and unwilling to face or address some of the issues that are causing strife in their relationship despite paying a therapist to help them do just that. I suppose they've made progress by the end of the book but I was still left shaking my head and thinking it's good that there's someone out there for everyone.

I seem to be the minority view on this (totally alone out on my branch, in fact) as you'll see if you check the amazon reviews. In an effort to fit in, I'll say that I did really love the cover of this book. It's absolutely adorable and what drew me to the book in the first place. And the idea behind the story is fantastic. Not sympathizing with George or Hilly certainly caused me a problem though and made for a less than pleasurable reading experience.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I have had to disable the anonymous comment option to cut down on the spam and I apologize to those of you for whom this makes commenting a chore. I hope you'll still opt to leave me your thoughts. I love to hear what you think, especially so I know I'm not just whistling into the wind here at my computer.

Popular Posts