View from Germany

Question:

The first Alice book I read was Alice in Rapture, Sort Of when I was in the hospital at age 11. When I learned there were more books, both before Rapture and afterwards, I knew I wanted to read them. I bought a huge chunk of them when I visited my grandmother in America a few years later.I have to say, the older Alice got, the more I liked her.

I especially enjoy the books from Simply Alice, if not from Alice On Her Way onwards, mostly because she still reacted intensely to things, but otherwise didn’t act like something was a giant catastrophe as she did previously. It’s one small problem for me, I can’t read the older books and enjoy them as much as previously, because Alice seems to think that every tiny thing is the end of the world or a much bigger deal than it is.

But Now I’ll Tell You Everything just topped it for me. She was mature, still a bit quirky and it was nice to see how she continued to change over the years. The debacle of Abstinence-Only Sex Ed VS the regular Sex Ed is a part that always gets my blood boiling, while the last chapter Viva La Alice got me shedding tears. Of course, at some points in the books, I wanted to grab Alice and shake her – particularly when she dates Tony, who is a complete jerk and needs a proper woman to reign him in properly, or when she tries to be friends with Jill and Karen. Why she would even bother with them is beyond me…

But then, there will always be parts in Alice books that I just don’t understand. I live in Germany and was raised here, so I don’t understand this big deal of dances at schools or why she needs to buy a dress every year, if the previous ones fit just fine. But it was enjoyable to read about her and her family and friends, although at times I still wonder what happened to a few minor characters that seemed to disappear completely off screen as the books progress. But the main focus remained on Alice, her family and children, and that was the most important thing.

Phyllis replied:

It’s always interesting to read different points of view.  I think some girls would agree with you, that if they really loved a dress, why not wear it again to other dances?  I can empathize with Alice, though.  Girls bodies to tend to change a little at that age.  The breasts may become fuller, the hips wider, so I’m not sure the same dresses would fit from year to year.  The dances Alice and her friends were really excited about were the few formal or semi-formal dances at her school. And those are a big deal, as they were when I was growing up.  I wanted a different dress for each one too, and got them by sewing them myself.  (Thank you, Mrs. Boonstra, for teaching me to sew in 8th grade).  But I loved all your comments, and very much appreciate your writing to me.

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