Monday, November 12, 2012

NaNoWriMo Research: The Agony of Alice


The Agony of Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor: Alice doesn't have a mom, and she is looking for a role model.  Too bad she gets the frumpy teacher instead of the beautiful, young, and glamorous one.  It's kind of hard becoming a woman when you, your college-aged brother, and your father don't know exactly how it's supposed to work.  POV: 1st person, past tense.

These sorts of things (getting the teacher no one wants and being a total jerk about it, accidentally kicking your favorite teacher in the head while dressed as the rear end of a horse, etc.) are always funny in retrospect, but they are The End of the World when you are living them.  I feel like the author really captured that while still keeping this funny.  It's a fine line between making fun of and sympathizing with while being a step removed/older/wiser.  The Catholic saint card bit was a hoot.  I like that Alice's dad is bumbling but good-hearted and that he is allowed to have a work life that is part of Alice's life.  I like that her brother isn't a monster despite the age difference, that she has some good extended family, and that the lessons she learns about not judging by appearances aren't too heavy-handed.  The ending is really sweet, too.

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