I grew up in a very isolated community in southwest Wyoming. My family didn’t have a television, and the highlight of every week was going to the library to pick out books.
I couldn’t say when I read my first Alice book, nor if the Alice books were recommended to me by someone else. I read all that there were at the time (by my guess, up to Alice in April) then moved on. I was young and naive enough that I never realized or considered that there could be more coming! I often thought of Alice fondly later, laughing at her follies and recognizing that the true ordinariness of Alice is what makes her a most admirable heroine.
Just this spring my younger sister Sarah and I started talking about “catching up” on some of our childhood favorite books. I had been home for a week with a severe cold and had ripped through Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Sarah mentioned she had read some Kenneth Thomasma. She then said that she thought there were more Alice novels! I was floored. More Alice novels! How could I have not known this! How could I have stumbled blindly through my teen years without Alice!?
Needless to say, with the aid of modern library technology, I swiftly remedied the situation. I’m just putting down Alice in Charge and I am so, so pleased – yet sad! I’m sad that the series seems to be wrapping up (or so I read on the blog) and I’m even more sad that I didn’t get to read the Alice books when I was in high school and junior high. I’ve never come across youth fiction that so honestly and openly covered teen sexuality, friendship, maturity and growing up. I wish I had found books like this in 1997 and 98 when I entered high school. I remember watching my friends making their college plans and feeling so left out and uncertain. I didn’t know that some high school students visit colleges and stay the night! I’m 29 and I’ve never heard of that before in my life! Perhaps it isn’t so common here out west – I certainly never heard any of my acquaintances and friends mention it.
I am sure that you hear all the time from awkward and embarrassed teenagers. I was one of the worst but I didn’t have a companion like Alice to commiserate with and instead I blundered hopelessly and most awkwardly through my teens – feeling, I’m sure, how every teen does – that no one understood, no one cared, and no one could help me!
I plan on sharing Alice with my nieces and, should I ever have any, my children. I hope that they will find Alice as endearing and educational as I do. Thank you for taking the time and effort to produce the Alice novels and your many other entertaining and enchanting books. I will remain forever a fan.
I wish I had had Alice books when I was growing up too. Back then no character ever mention the word sex, nobody had a menstrual cycle or went to the bathroom. It was very much the feeling that the real world and the book world were entirely different. So in a sense, I wrote the books for me, about a daughter I never had. I’m so glad they resonate with you! Thanks for writing.