Monthly Archives: January 2014

STARTED AT THE BEGINNING

Question:
 
Having just finished Now I’ll Tell You Everything about five minutes ago (my public library was very slow getting the book! I’d had it on hold since August and just got it this Tuesday!) I feel like I can’t say goodbye without saying thank you. I read my first Alice book when I was in about grade 3 or 4, and it was Starting with Alice, as the prequels had recently been released fairly recently. By the time I reached The Agony of Alice, I was absolutely hooked, and in luck that there were more books already out. My mom, a librarian, brought me a stack of all the Alice books to date, and eventually it was my turn to wait for the new books. I remember my mom showing me an article that quoted you talking about the copy of the final Alice book saved in a fireproof box, and I was so relieved! I’m not sure what I would have done if I never found out what happened to Alice, but I’m even more happy that I got to find out everything about Alice in a book that you were ready to publish, not the fireproof box version!

Now that I am in my second year of university, reading Now I’ll Tell You Everything made me even more excited for what’s left to come. Thank you so much for everything you have done for all of your readers and for your truly excellent writing. The Alice books have and will always be my favourite series.

Phyllis replied:
 
You were lucky to have a librarian mom to bring you that stack of books.  Please give her a hug from me! And thank you so much for your email.

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SO GENUINE AND AUTHENTIC

Question:
 
Never has a series touched me as deeply as the Alice series has. Although I did not start reading from the very beginning (I wasn’t born until Aching Alice!), I feel that picking up I Like Him, He Likes Her at my local Borders was one of the most rewarding decisions I have and will ever have made. To be able to follow such an ordinary yet extraordinary girl through her journey through high school, into college, and up to her much later years was extremely fun and fulfilling. Never have I found someone I could relate to so much. I found myself constantly smiling at her success and happiness, and crying for both sadness and joy became very normal as I flipped through each page, anxious to know more. I am sure you receive emails regarding this all the time, but I will be the millionth to say that your books have touched me tremendously and the Alice series will be one I proudly share with my children in the future. Thank you for creating Alice and all the characters that she has encountered throughout her literary life. I have loved each and every moment of reading about her spectacular journeys. Each experience was so genuine and authentic, and I cannot wait to share them with others and capture their reactions too. I feel comfortable going on to the future with confidence and help from Alice. With every obstacle that comes my way, I can simply reread these pages and be encouraged and inspired by Alice and all her wonderful strong points. Thank you, Mrs. Naylor, for creating a role model and friend for all girls like me.

Phyllis replied:
 
I’m just delighted that the series has meant that much to you.  I love knowing that you’ll read the books again in the future.

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THANK YOU FOR TELLING US EVERYTHING

Question:
 
An unknown friend gave me “Alice In Rapture” for my birthday about 3rd grade and it sat on my shelf for a while before I read it and met Alice when I was about 10.  Alice was a little bit older than me at the time and I remember the idea of a boyfriend and a first date and a first kiss was a completely foreign concept to me, and I remember how it made me feel when Crystal taught Alice how to blow out her curls and when Alice asked questions at the dinner table that I would never dream of asking at mine, yet receiving an honest, decent answer.  I loved the relationship between Alice and Lester because I have an older brother too and understand how it is a little sister’s God-given right to annoy the crap out of her older brother because they’ll still love each other anyway.

I rediscovered the series in college at the library and was excited to see you had written many books since then and threw myself in head first and read as much as I could.

Shortly thereafter I met the love of my life, several years went by, we got married, and had a baby before I remembered Alice, who had become like an old friend to me.  My awesome husband bought me all the books which I now own, and hope to share with the next generation.  I started buying each new book as you published them and remembered how pleasantly slowly Alice seemed to grow up as my own life seemed to be racing by like a bullet (growing 1 semester or summer for every 1 year of mine.)  And as I read “Now I’ll Tell You Everything” in the last two days, a woman of age 33 with a 4 1/2 year old son, my head spun as I watched Alice grow older than me for the first time since I read about Alice and Patrick’s first summer back in 1990.  I cried at Alice and Patrick’s wedding, (though I honestly thought she was going to marry Dave and your point would be that you didn’t need history and sometimes childhood sweethearts don’t work out.  And it’s all okay,) I laughed at Lester’s reaction when Alice called him when she was in labor, and I cried when they lost Ben.  And as I look back at how my own life has been turning out, I realized how appropriate it is, whether you meant it this way or not, that Alice’s life suddenly goes lightning speed, exponentially faster and faster the moment she leaves for college. Is that how it’s happened for you?

There are so many nuggets of wisdom you’ve so eloquently woven into these books, and there was always something useful that applied to something I was going through. Thank you for this. I know you have changed many lives, had a hand in raising thousands, millions of children and many more to come as we all forge our paths through our lives.  Thank you so much for bravely laying all these raw, honest emotions bare that people don’t usually talk about, and sharing with the world.

Thank you for telling us everything.

Phyllis replied:
 
What a wonderful letter!  Thank you so much.  I don’t know that life moved any faster since college.  I remember how everyone told me to enjoy my boys when they were young because it all goes by so fast.  And I distinctly remember one night, sitting on the couch with a little boy snuggled on either side of me as I read to them, that I was thinking, “I’m enjoying just as much as I can!  I don’t know how to enjoy any harder!”  And now you have a little boy of your own!

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Comfortable in my own Skin

Question:

Only five minutes ago I finished Now I’ll Tell You Everything, and as silly as it sounds, I’m crying. It’s not a sad type of cry, but it’s not necessarily a happy type of cry. It’s bittersweet. I’m excited that I found out what became of Alice, but I’m sad that It’s over. I feel like I personally knew Alice. Sometimes, I even felt that Alice and I were the same person. Now that it’s over, It’s time for me to figure everything out. I’m seventeen, so that should be in order, anyhow. However, I can’t thank you enough for giving me, as well as thousands, of girls, the pleasure of knowing Alice.

I know you get myriads of these ‘Thank you’ emails, but you truly deserve them. I want to say thank you as well, but I want to do it in a different way. I’m not just going to tell you how the Alice series just helped me out in hard times, I’m going to tell you how to the Alice series helped me find who I was. Alice helped me find a way for me to be comfortable in my own skin. And for that, I will forever be grateful.

Over my high school years, I read the Alice series to bring me solace in my chaotic life. The summer after my freshman year, I moved across the country. It was probably thee hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Well, so far, anyways. The move had left me depressed, and I had no idea where I belonged or who I was. Thanks to Alice, that changed. I read your books and I related to Alice. I sought wisdom from her, and I learned from her. I related to her so well, she and I are practically the same person. She questioned just about everything, just as I do. She had a passion for politics and controversial topics, and I’m the exact same way. It felt nice to have someone who understood me, even if she isn’t technically real. To me though, she is real. She’s the one who helped me understand the person I thought would never be understood. That person was me. I love myself thanks to Alice. That is something that never would have happened, had I not found your books.

Mrs. Naylor, you and Alice are my role models. Thank you so much. I know one day that I’ll pass my Alice books down to my daughter. And she’ll laugh at all the dog eared pages I marked because of the valuable wisdom Alice had given. But she’ll understand too, once she gets to those pages. Alice will help my daughter as she did me. And that’s the best thing I could ever ask for.
 
Phyllis replied:
 
The fact that you like yourself now–that you are comfortable in your own skin–is the happiest part of your
letter.  That Alice had anything to do with that makes me really happy.

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FACTS ABOUT ALICE

Question:

I recently finished reading Now I’ll Tell You Everything and I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed these books.
Although the 1st Alice book was published when I was 14 years old, I did not become familiar with the series until I became
a librarian 15 years ago. Even as an adult, I have loved this series and always eagerly waited for the next book to be published.
I had one question I wanted to ask. In the afterword of the book, it was stated that on the http://www.alicemckinley.com website, there would
be a collection of facts about all the Alice books complied together. However, I cannot seem to find it on the site. Is that available?

Phyllis replied:

We apologize for not having that “Alice bible” on-line yet.  It was going through a number of editors to make sure it was in a readable form to post online, and everyone has been super-busy over the holidays.  I’ve asked my editor again when we might expect it to be posted on the mast-head of the Alice fan mail page, and as soon as I get an answer, I’ll print it.

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THANKS FOR THE ADVICE

Question:

I wanted to thank you for writing the Alice series along with so many other books you wrote. I have been reading your books since I was in 4th grade, and even now that I’m in college I still love them! Whenever I read them, they aways make me laugh and help me forget or even understand some of the difficult situations I am going through.

In addition to the Alice books, I also wanted to thank you for the Alice column. Several years ago, I wrote to you about being in love with an older guy and not knowing what to do about it. The advice you gave me helped a lot, and I really appreciate your help 🙂

Phyllis replied:

I need to remind readers occasionally that I’m not a doctor or a psychologist, just an enlightened grandmother, but I’m so glad that any suggestions I might have made to you were helpful.  The decisions are always up to the reader, but I’ve found in my own life, it often helps to have a sounding board.  Sometimes just writing or talking about your own problem gives you ideas for solving it yourself.

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by | January 14, 2014 · 3:43 PM

READING NON-STOP

Question:

I have been reading your series since I was in 6th grade. My neighbor that moved away in 2nd grade left me with tons of books that I never bothered to look at, but one day the book “Alice in the Know” caught my eye. So I had to read it. I loved the book, not knowing it was a series, and craved to read more. I later, in the library, found the first of the Alice books and checked them out, reading non stop. I have been raving about your books for 3 years now, I’m in 9th grade now, and they are by far my favorite books ever. I am trying to collect them all. About a month or two ago, I was in the Rutgers book store with my cousin and saw “Now I’ll Tell You Everything” and began reading it. I refused to leave until I finished it. Of course, I only made it to page 7 before being dragged out. I begged daily to get the book for Christmas because I needed to know how it ended. Christmas morning, I woke up and there it was. I spent the whole day reading it. I read it slowly, although, because as much as I wanted to finish it, I never wanted it to end.

Writing you this letter now, I’m crying. I have found Alice to be like a friend, and when she reached college years, being so much older than me, a role model. I have been so invested in her life, and I’m so happy with how it turned out. When she was engaged to Dave I was so mad, I couldn’t believe that after all that, Patrick wasn’t the one. But I’m so glad that you ended it the way you did. It was so genius and I just thought it was time, now that all the books are finished, to let you know. Thank you for everything you have done for me. Alice experiences have helped me get through so much and this last book has reassured to me that everything will be worth it. You kept your books so relatable and I just don’t think I will ever be able to express how grateful I am for you creating this beautiful girl that I admire so much.

Phyllis replied:

I love hearing about girls who read one book, not knowing it was part of a series, and later discovered there were many more books.  Thank you so much for taking the time to write to me.

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