WONDERFUL NEWS FROM PHYLLIS!

I’m happy to announce that Simon and Schuster is going to put all 28 books of the Alice series in a collection, so that you may purchase all the books at once, if you like. It has been difficult to decide on the best way to do this, since 28 books, even in paperback, are a lot to carry. The plan is to make 3 boxed sets—the first containing the 5 books of Alice in grade school; the next 10 books of Alice in middle school; and the third, the 13 books of high school and beyond. We haven’t decided just how they will look yet, but all will go on sale at the same time.  We anticipate that the collection will be ready by the summer of 2016. Enjoy!

Leave a comment

Filed under Fan Mail

Pamela’s Pregnancy

Comment:

Re-reading some of the later books, I realized a big problem I had with Pamela’s pregnancy plot. The fact that it could have been so easily avoided and in multiple ways. The first, of course, would be for her to tell Tim that she refuses to have sex without any form of protection or to simply tough it out, her being part of Guys and Dolls was not the end of the world and they could get together after, anyway.

The other ways she could have appeased him, and one that I’m surprised she never thought about, was to simply give him a hand- or blowjob. It’s not like Pamela had never done either of those, so she wasn’t inexperienced and she could have avoided the problem with a potential pregnancy. (And if her reason would be that she can’t touch her boyfriend’s penis, then I think she quite frankly shouldn’t be having sex to begin with)

Then again, I always did find it weird how the characters in the books acted like condoms were the only form of birth control there was around. Certainly, Alice eventually takes both the pill and uses condoms, but what about the other forms of contraceptives? Most might not have the same high success rate and addition of protecting from STDs like condoms, but it’s strange that they are basically ignored.

It could be that I’m simply confused, because I started taking the pill when I was 17. Not for the sake of protection during sex, but because my gynecologist said it would help regulate my periods, which were very sporadic and caused me to have heavy health issues when it did come around. Why didn’t Pamela start taking the pill when she became sexually active?

Phyllis replied:

Thank you for your email. You’re right, of course; there are multiple ways Pamela could have prevented that pregnancy, assuming she was carefully thinking ahead and controlling her emotions. But there are also multiple reasons that an impulsive girl like Pamela would not. Do you ever watch Teen Mom? Are you sometimes surprised, as I am, that when these young mothers are interviewed—even though they have had a baby and are involved in multiple problems with the boys who impregnated them—that they admit they still only use condoms “most of the time” with new boyfriends, but not always? You seem to imply that it’s only Pamela’s boyfriend who was sexually excited. Can’t you imagine that cuddling together, touching and stroking, would excite Pamela too—that she might want sex as much as Tim? These girls would need a doctor’s prescription for the pill, and they wouldn’t be able to see a doctor unless they had a way to pay for a visit. And that would mean getting a parent’s permission, etc. We don’t think of all these things in the heat of the moment, and not all girls plan ahead. But your email brings up a subject that girls should think about before they get involved with a guy, and with the pill, the patch, condoms, or no intercourse at all, each girl should be able to plan her personal life the way that suits her best.

Comment:

Of course I would think Pamela would want to get her rocks off, too. But masturbation is an option. Maybe even mutual masturbation. (Though that, too, has its risks) And, of course, there is the option of telling her to suck it up as well. Can’t say I watch Teen Mom – I tend to avoid watching shows that seem to almost glamorize idiotic behavior, like similar shows with 16 And Pregnant. No matter heat of the moment, I do not think one should allow their hormones to override one’s common sense. I went through my teen years keeping my head on my shoulders – though I have to say, I have huge issues with body contact between people and had no desire to get a boyfriend until I was almost 18, so perhaps I was just a really odd teenager. Maybe that’s why Alice being so amazed that Molly didn’t feel the need for a ‘boyfriend badge’ confused me so much in Alice On Her Way.

Phyllis replied:

We all mature at different rates and in different ways.  A person can show super grown-up traits in one area, and lag a bit behind in another.  So while we can tell someone what they ought to do, or how they ought to feel, we can’t know what it is like to be in their skin.  And being so individual and unique is what makes us so wonderfully human.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fan Mail

Silly, Sad, Embarrassed, and Excited

Comment:

Hi I am a huge Alice FAN!! I have read your Alice books over and over again but this time in order because I never get tired of reading them. I currently finished Achingly Alice and I’m going to read Alice on the Outside. Boy your books really make me happy, silly, sad, embarrassed, and excited! I really want to know why u stopped writing and never made more movies about Alice because it would be a huge hit! Also these Alice stories are they based about how you were when you were in all those grades Alice was? Like Did it really happen to you? I would really just like to know. Well thanks for writing awesome books!

Phyllis replied:

Well, I knew I had to stop writing them sometime, and I decided that once she was through college, it would be a good time to take her life in leaps, rather than three books about each year of her life.  There are so many other books I want to write!  Yes, some of the things that happened to Alice happened to me or to someone I knew.  The Tarzan incident in The Agony of Alice happened to me when I was in fourth grade.  Being fired from her job in high school because she took time off to go on vacation with her family happened to me also.  And falling down the stairs and wetting her pants on her first day of high school happened to my mom back in 1914 on her first day of high school.  As for movies, I didn’t have much to do with the movie Alice Upside Down, though I liked some of the actors.  Whether anyone will make movies of the rest of the books, I really don’t know.  A nice idea, though.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fan Mail

Life Lessons

Comment:

I just wanted to say, thank you SO much for making an amazing series. Your books have given me life lessons and morals that everyone needs in their lives. Its sad that your series ended but it ended in such an amazing way.

Phyllis replied:

I’m happy that you found the ending of the series satisfying.  It’s always hard to say goodbye–hard for the reader and hard for the writer.  But there are so many more books in my head of other characters in other places, that I have a lot more work to do.  Thanks for taking the time to email me.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fan Mail

Questions about Crazy and Embarrassing Things

Comment:

I ended the last Alice book last night and i must say that it was one of the best! The idea of ending the last book with the memories was very nice. I began to read your books with nine years and i loved them so much.Now i am 17 years old and i´m from Germany so i`m really sorry if my english isn´t good but i hope you understand. The Alice books are only published to the 14th book so I began to read the rest on english(what really helped me in school) I must say that I grew older and older with Alice by my side and she helped me in a lot of situations . Youre books are sore wonderfull, emotional and real! They made my cry and laugh at the same time and as i was a girl i really could identify with Alice because she had so much questions about crazy and embarrassing things. You teached me alot with youre books about love, friendship,racism,gays and lesbians, get involved  and becoming self-conscious .You helped me to grow up and you answerd so many questions in youre books and i have the feeling that i have to thank you for all that. I must thank you for all those sleepless nights in wich i couldn´t stop to read youre books. I must thank you for all those things you teached me and all those moments you made me smile and cry .And also a big thank you to help me to learn english because reading your books motivated me and helped me a lot.So last but not least must thank you for creating Alice as a role model for me!

I am believe that in every little girl is in some kind a part of an Alice and I am sure that you helped a lot of people. I don´t even know you but I send you the best wishes for youre life and a lot of success. You would make me really really happy if you send me an answer because i like you so much. Please send me only a feedback that you read this e-mail.
and please never forget that you changes more lifes than you could believe

Phyllis replied:

It’s really wonderful to know that Alice was there for you in so many ways, and answered so many of your questions.  I admire the readers for whom English is a second language and they use the Alice books to help them learn.  Thank you for taking the time to write to me.  Your letters help me more than you can imagine.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fan Mail

Read it in Twenty-Four Hours

Comment:

Thank you for indulging me by reading this email. I’m sure you get many fan emails and none are terribly original, but I have to try. My name is
Stefanie Kahanov, and I grew up in Montgomery County, MD (Olney, to be
specific). My aunt first gave me the Alice books when I began middle school and I was very quickly hooked. I followed the series all the way through high school, scouring library shelves and Borders at White Flint for the latest books in the series. I loved that not only could I identify with the main character and plot lines, but also the area in which it took place.

Well beyond your target demographic, I discovered that you had written the final installment in the Alice series. Naturally, as a devoted reader, I
read the final book in under 24 hours and finished it this morning a bit
after midnight. I need to thank you. I was a healthy combination of
Alice and Elizabeth (growing up and even now), and I need to thank you for making them complex and realistic while they aged. Giving them dimensions and purpose is the best gift I have received as a reader in 2015. Sad as I am to see the series end, I am grateful for the foray into their adulthood, not simply a “happily ever after” at marriage.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for the gift of these characters,
their triumphs and trials, loves, losses, and most of all their companionship when I had none. I now work as a speech pathologist in the Montgomery County School System, and it’s been a while since I opened that first Alice book, which I recommend to my students very frequently. Thank you for showing that there’s even love for a goody-two-shows like Elizabeth, like me, in the word. That there is power in reason and practicality, like Alice. That there is magic in spontaneity, like Pamela. Thank you for my book-bound childhood friends.

Phyllis replied:

What a lovely New Year’s gift your email was–to know that the books were your companion.  And I was delighted to hear that you are a speech
pathologist in Montgomery  County Schools.  My husband was a speech
pathologist at Walter  Reed Hospital in D.C., then at the National Naval
Medical Center in Bethesda, and I’ve just had published a book, “Going
Where It’s Dark,” that concerns both a boy who stutters and a speech
pathologist in the plot. (Plus cave exploring and more).   I’m so happy
that you can identify with all the Alice characters in  some way.  Wishing
you a Happy New Year!

Leave a comment

Filed under Fan Mail

Enjoyed Them Even More in English

Comment:

Today I would like to thank you very much for writing your Alice books. They have accompanied me throughout all my teenage years. Sometimes I feel like I grew up with Alice as a good friend and guide by my side. Reading the Alice book series has given me so much in my life. I laughed and I cried with Alice.

I’m from Germany and I got introduced to your book series by a friend when I was in middle school. After having read the first book I couldn’t stop and read all of the ones which were available at that time.  Unfortunately at some point in time they stopped translating the books to German so I just switched to reading them in English. I must say that I fell in love with your books even more when I started to read them in their original language.

I think you are a magnificent author with an extraordinary spelling style. You are able to touch people’s hearts by your words. I really think you should know that.

Now I am 23 years old and looking back on my teenager years I must inevitably think of my journey with Alice. I believe she helped and guided me through many phases of my life. Those books brought so much joy to me – thank you for writing them and thereby being a big support for many girls around the world!

Much love from Germany and a very merry Christmas to you and your loved ones.

Phyllis replied:

What a lovely message to begin the holiday season!  I’ve always wondered if my books are enjoyed more in English than in translation. I wish all my Alice readers a happy time with family and friends.  For me, the New Year will find my brother in Oregon, one granddaughter in India, another in Australia, my older son and his wife in Minnesota, so I will be spending Christmas with the one relative I’ve got closer, our younger son and his family in New Jersey.  Many families, I know, are spread out across the country and across the globe, and it’s wonderful that we have so many ways to connect.  May the New Year bring some peace and calm to our lives and to this world.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fan Mail

It Happened to Me

Comment:

Thank you so very much for writing the Alice series and broaching such
a diverse array of complicated situations. I’ve read of theories in
Crucial Conversations that people generally want to do the right thing
and sometimes lack in clarity over what that is (such as what to say
to a person cutting in line) but will act in healthy ways if they have
seen a demonstrated “script” of how to handle these sticky situations.
I’m sure you are well aware of these theories and I’ve found your
series to be a wealth of these “scripts” where Alice and other
characters demonstrate an effective way to move forward through these
situations, complete with the honest ugly feelings that sometimes go
with it.

I read “Now I’ll Tell You Everything” as soon as you released it a
couple years ago after following the series since I was 9 (I’m 35
now). Recently after a major life transition I found myself in the
beginnings of an emotional affair. When I read about Alice and
Patrick’s difficulties I remember judging Patrick very harshly, and
thinking that would never happen to us. I wondered why Patrick was
coming clean to Alice when he hadn’t technically done anything wrong,
and didn’t that just make it worse? I firmly believe that it is
thanks to your stories that I was able to admit to myself the pattern
in my own behavior much earlier than I otherwise would have, and was
able to realize at an early stage what it was I had to do, and really
even how to do it and possibly what to expect. I reread Patrick’s
confession as I came to my own resolutions, and while we are not fully
out of the woods yet, I firmly believe that your book (which my
husband bought for me) has thus far played a significant role in
preserving our marriage. Like Patrick, I decided to be candid and
honest and accept full responsibility for the situation, and prayed
that my husband would be as patient and forgiving as Alice, and he was
above and beyond. I’d swear, he seems to love me more since I told
him …. He’s a much better human being than I could ever dream of
becoming … I’ve learned to appreciate my family much more through
this experience as I confronted the possibility of losing them if I
continued down that path. Seeing how hurt Alice was as she cried at
the copier showed me how much I could be hurting my husband in ways he may not know or be telling me.

Thank you again so very much for all you have done for myself and my
family, and so many in the world who may or may not know their lives
have been touched by Alice.

Phyllis replied:

Thank you so much for your email.  I was very moved by it, and am happy for you and  your husband that the experience drew you closer.  Sometimes life works that way.  We skirt the edge of danger and get a sense of all we would lose, and it makes the life we have all that more
precious.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fan Mail