IT’S HER NORMALITY, NEVER TRYING TO BE ANYTHING SHE’S NOT

 
Question:
 
Dear Mrs. Naylor,
I can’t say that I’ve religiously read every single line of every Alice book in the now complete series, or know and can recite every detail of every character. But I can say, simply and truly, that an Alice book seems to land into my hands at times I need it most in my life. Alice has become more than just a girl in a story to me. The troubles she faces, the joys she experiences, and the lessons she learns are all so real. They soon became our troubles, our joys, and our lessons. When reading an Alice book, I immediately feel at home. As soon as the book is open and the words are there in front of me, it is Alice’s voice, distinct and reassuring, that comes alive in my head, and suddenly, I’m consumed by all that is her life, preparing for yet another journey. Alice is not particularly daring or a high risk taker; she never ditches her modest home in Silver Spring and moves to LA on a whim, marries a rock star, or uses drugs. And my most sincere thank you, Mrs. Naylor, for never turning Alice into a weird alien vampire.
Why did we all keep reading? Though surely this answer is unique to every reader, I can say that what’s most intriguing about Alice to me is her normality, her simple ability to be a friend. Alice never tries to be anything she’s not. Through it all, she stays true to her own nature, and by this alone, she inspires so many to do the same. As Alice grew, we all grew. And we keep on growing. Thank you for making yourself vulnerable to the voice that is Alice, allowing her to control your fingers as you typed.
I once read somewhere: “The days are long, but the years are short.” Before I knew it, I found myself living a new reality. The Alice series is over, it’s my senior year of high school, and the real world seems closer than ever. I’m seventeen years old, but the insecure, wide-eyed and clueless sixth grader I once was is all too painfully familiar. Those beginning years in middle school were the start to a long and miserable time they call the awkward stage, a phenomenon that does not discriminate. It’s something we all go through, but having Alice there to ask Lester and Mr. McKinley the questions we all wonder, and with them treading on ice water with their carefully calculated responses, all gave comfort, I’m sure, to so many girls out there, a task that certainly is not easy to accomplish. Alice changed my life because she taught me the importance of embracing who you are, at every point in your life. Alice’s love and respect she has for herself is something I strive to one day call my own.
Thank you for creating an invaluable, never- changing community of people we can all come back to. If anything, Alice is the one constant in this crazy, fast- paced life we all tend to live. It is the greatest comfort in the world to know Alice turned out okay, marrying Patrick, staying best friends with the people she’s known since childhood, and of course it’s amazing that Lester has triplets! It truly is a beautiful life and story, and a constant reminder that even on the bleakest of days and through the rough patches, eventually things get better, and life has a way of working itself out.
I like to think that Alice is out there somewhere, if not only in our hearts. We’ve all met an Alice before, or are blessed to have an Alice as our own best friend, mother, sister, or daughter. We all cheer on Alice who in some ways or another embodies us all because in the simplest of terms, she is human and embraces this very fact, learning from her mistakes and trying her best to be the best person she can be. Because of Alice we learned and keep learning that it is okay to be 100% of ourselves, 100% of the time.
A final thank you for giving us the gift that is Alice, a gift that will forever keep on giving so long as we make time in our lives to again relish in the adventures of an ordinary, simple girl who shares all of her secrets. I hope one day, years down the line, I can still remember the girl I am now, who after she reads something so moving, she shares her experience with the person who wrote it.
Let us all be vulnerable, and do our best to make the best out of life, for Alice.

Phyllis replied:

Thank you for your email, written, I know, from the heart.  Yes, I always wanted Alice to be a completely average girl, never aspiring to be a Hollywood star, nor having to experience drugs.  There are so many girls out there just like her, finding out what they enjoy most and what they do best, and then figuring out how to incorporate that into their work or their lives.

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