My second novel, The Life and Death of Lizzie Morris, was the one I really wanted to write. I wanted to write a story about a World War II veteran and the lasting emotional pain of having lost friends in combat and I wanted to write a story about the loss of a lifetime mate. Lizzie combines both stories in a single book.
How would the story play out on the big screen? I would hope that a skilled screenplay writer could bring alive Bradley Morris’s torment on both fronts.
After years of nightmares and mental stress left by the war, and at the urging of his beloved wife Lizzie, Bradley resolves to return to Sicily and visit the battlefield where his physical and mental scars were inflicted. Facing his painful past head-on brings some relief, and Bradley looks forward to his later years with optimism. But then a sudden illness leaves Lizzie comatose and dying and Bradley’s grief knows no bounds.
We come to see the true Lizzie Morris through Bradley’s beautiful memories.
There are other characters, of course, family and friends. So much life has been lived at the “Big House” in Memphis, the home they loved. Lizzie’s determination that Bradley resolve his differences with their son left from long-past disagreements over the war in Vietnam, the love that flows from her younger sister, her hope that Bradley will one day regain the faith in God he lost in battle—all these must come into play.
The Life and Death of Lizzie Morris is not a simple story. It is a story that deals forthrightly with the human condition. It is the story I always wanted to write.
Is it the most likely candidate, among my four novels, to become a movie? Would its mature characters be of as much interest to moviegoers as the young adults in Circles in the Water? Clearly it would not have the feel-good effect readers report after finishing The Baby River Angel nor the drama and suspense of Blood on the Roses.
So, would it be my first choice to be made into a movie? It could be. But I’ve not decided for sure yet. Stay tuned.