Grateful for this Journey

Question:

Hi! I’m one of the many many fans of the Alice series, and I just finished your last book “Now I’ll Tell You Everything”. I could not be more content. I’m so happy for Alice and all that she’s accomplished in her life, because for me, she’s been like a real person, a guide and a role model in my own life. I’m sad to see her story end from here, but I’m also happy because it couldn’t have ended better. Your books have been one of the many things that my best friend and I shared. We passed your books back and forth and talk about them endlessly. We’ve laughed together and cried and been surprised, and it was so nice sharing Alice with one another. We’ve both felt she has been a part of us for so long, almost 4 years. I’m 15 now, and a freshman in high school and whenever I’m in a tough situation I just think, what would Alice do? Even in her 40′s, when she was having troubles with her own 15 year old daughter, I could really relate it to me and my own mother and it reminded me that I shouldn’t just consider my own feelings, but my mothers too because I’m not the only one getting older. To sum it all up, your books have been there for me. I can remember when Alice was my own age, just going into high school and now getting to see her grow up and raise a family, it’s made me realize how precious life is. Even through the hard times, she kept smiling and was strong, not just for her but for the ones she loved. I’m so grateful to have been through this journey with her and even more grateful that she has been there through mine. Thank you for giving me the sister I never had, somebody that I could turn to when I was in doubt and could think of whenever I was having a hard time. I really can’t tell you how thankful I am. Best of luck to you in the future!

Phyllis replied:
 
I appreciate your email so much. I was hoping that when Alice became a mother, readers could identify both with the way she was feeling and the feelings of her daughter.  And yes, I think most people, as they grow older, begin to realize how precious life is, and to never take anything for granted.

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Needed More About Patrick

Question:

I feel wretched because I lost track of the Alice series in my 20s! However, when I picked up the last book this weekend, the rush of emotions returned almost as though it were the day I–at about 11 or 12–discovered The Agony of Alice in my local library. I ended up grabbing every book in the series and re-read (or read for the first time!) every single book until I reached Now I’ll Tell You Everything. It took me three days, but I did it. I’m smiling with joy and bittersweetness over Alice’s growing up and my own growing up, and I just want to thank you for writing these amazing books. That said I do have one question: why didn’t we see that six hour conversation Patrick said he would need to tell Alice about himself? I love Patrick to death, but his drive and purpose could be quite mysterious and I would have loved to see him unburden himself to Alice for a change instead of the other way around! ;-)

Phyllis replied:
 
You know, that would have made a good conversation.  Perhaps I felt that, taken as a whole, the books already explained Patrick, but maybe not.  I’m so glad you caught up with Alice again and finished all the books.  Thanks so much for writing to me.  I really appreciate it.                    

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Alice has been my Friend

Question:

I wanted to thank you for bringing Alice and her vast family and friends into my life! I have been reading her books, cultivating our “friendship” over the years, to be exact since I was in 5th grade and now I’m 28! She came into my life at a crucial moment, I was becoming very sick with panic attacks and what would later be diagnosed as anxiety disorder. It’s been a pleasure knowing her and thank you for not letting us down, being faithful to Alice’s nature until the end of the series. I’m a bit sad that it’s the last book but I know that she will always be part of my family.
             
Phyllis replied:
 
I so appreciate your letter, especially since I used to have panic attacks, so I know what it feels like.  I’m delighted that Alice has been your friend all these years!
 

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Just Finished the Last Book

Question:

I just finished reading the last Alice book and I really felt that I wanted to say thank you. I wanted to let you know how much the Alice series has meant to me.

For my sixth grade English class we were required to pick a book to read and write reading journals on, so I went to my library and asked the librarian for a recommendation. She recommended the Alice series and the other series. Being the typical twelve year old that I was, the first book of the other series was a little shorter than the first Alice book, so of course I went with the shorter one. That series wasn’t as long so when I finished it I moved on to Alice. The minute I started reading it I was hooked and wished that I started with it in the first place.

My mom would check the books out at the library for me several at a time, i would speed through them. Then after I finished all that were published, I waited every year for the new ones to come out. The new ones coming out lined up pretty close to where I was in my life.

Alice taught me so much. Her and her friends were not just fictitious characters in books, I felt like they were real people out there going through real things, much unlike characters of other books I read between Alice books. Alice books taught me real life lessons, and answered many questions, that like the characters in the books, I too was afraid to ask.

I began reading the Alice books when I was in sixth grade and I just finished the last one, during my sophomore year of college. The books really had an impact on my life during those critical years. They taught me a lot about friendship and love and challenges in life.

I was studying abroad when the final book came out and I could not wait until I got back to the US so I could read it. I put it on reserve at the library and when I finally got it, it sat on my desk for about three weeks unopened. It was less of an issue of not having time, and more that I did not want to start the book because I knew it was the end. So this weekend, all of my roommates were away for a long weekend and I picked it up and could not put it down.

I teared up multiple times while reading, happy and sad. The way you portrayed their engagements and marriages, the children being born, and the deaths and tragedies. I really loved the way that Alice and Patrick ended up together in the end. Although I could kind of see it coming, or maybe it was just wishful thinking, I got very nervous when Alice was engaged to Dave. Another thing that I loved about the book and the series all together was that Alice, Elizabeth, Pamela, and Gwen all remained such great friends even though they didn’t all live in the same place anymore. I am two years out of high school and going to college out of state, and so far I have remained close with my buddies back home, but this give me even more hope of that for the future.

I will always remember the Alice series and all that I have learned from it. Hopefully one day, if I am lucky enough to have a daughter of my own, I am going to strongly encourage her to read the series.

Thank you so much for writing these books that, I am positive, have touched the lives of so many girls like me. Thanks again for everything,
 
Phyllis replied:
 
I  hope that you, and all my readers, know how much your emails and letters mean to me.  It’s sad for me, too, that the series is over, and I don’t have another Alice book to write.  But I felt it was time, and because I knew how I wanted the series to end, I needed to get a revised story down on paper.  I love the thought of you wanting to hurry back from overseas to read the final book.  I’m very much enjoying your own reactions to the book, and am forwarding some of readers’ letters, yours included, to my editor.

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The Wedding Dress Scene

Question:
 
Last time I wrote you, it was 4 years ago when I was 19 years old. I’d like to share with you how much Alice and her books have meant to me and my life. Like every other girl and woman who write to you, Alice has played an important figure in my life, she’s been like that friend whose shoulder we needed to cry on, like that first friend who we wanted to share our happy moments with, like that friend who has always had an open ear to anything we wanted to talk about.
I told you 4 years ago how I stopped reading the books because I feared the end and that there would be no more books. I was afraid of losing Alice. However, my curiosity prevailed against my fear, and I read it till the end…
As Alice grew older, I realised how ungrounded my fears were. Alice’s story might come to an end but there will always be her world in all of the books, and I will always be able to come back to her whenever I pick up a book. She will truly forever be a friend to me.
As for the last book… It was enormously touching and beautiful. I’d love to point out every scene, every story, every person and fate that touched me in particular, but that would go beyond the scope of this letter. But for one thing, I can’t thank you enough: Alice’s mom’s wedding dress and that little note!! This passage made me cry for a little longer than any other story from the previous books and made me think about it for days. This passage is just something that gets engraved into your heart and everytime you think about it, you feel something in your chest tightening and suddenly become very heavy… Phyllis, I honestly thank you for everything you’ve written about Alice, for making Alice come alive through your books, but for this passage in particular, I thank you wholeheartedly!

I am sure that I will write you some day again just like I will keep Alice as close to my heart as a best friend, a sister, a mother, a daughter, a teacher and I truly can’t wait to pass along the books to my children, nieces and just any little and big girls. God bless you and your family.
Love,
a Croatian girl from Switzerland
 
 Phyllis replied:
 
What a lovely letter!  And I love knowing that you feel free to write to me any time.  I cried at that passage too when I was writing it, thinking about what was going through the mother’s head at the time, how to phrase it, and wondering, deep down, if Alice would ever open the box with her wedding dress in it.  Life is full of surprises, isn’t it?

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Best Series Ever!

Question:

I love love love your Alice books! Alice is like the older sister I never had. I feel like she is a real person! I saw this series first as a movie and then read most if the books. I’m on The Grooming of Alice. These are definitely the best series EVER! Thank you for writing them.

Phyllis replied:

Most people who see the movie first really like it.  I’m glad that the movie led you to the series.  You have a LOT more Alice books ahead of you yet to read!  Enjoy!

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Wish We Had More Alice Books

Question:  
 
Hey, I’m Kylee and I’m in sixth grade. I’m a big fan of your books. I’ve read every books about Alice in our library. Many people aren’t big fans at this school so we have all of them up to 14 except Alice on the Outside and Patiently Alice. All the other ones are at my public library. I can’t go there much. But I’m glad you write them because I basically live on them.
 
Phyllis replied:
 
I’m sorry you don’t find a more convenient place to get the Alice books, but there are at least a dozen more Alice books that will be waiting for you when you’re older.  Thanks for taking time to write to me.

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