Cried on the Very First Page

Question:

I was introduced to Alice by my school counselor in 5th grade, she loaned me “Reluctantly Alice,” around September. I found a few more in our school library, however the selection was limited because some had been ruled “inappropriate.” I remember only asking for Alice books for Christmas that year. I got caught up on all the Alice books out at the time within the next year or so, collecting and finding them wherever I could. After I was caught up, I was always in the same grade/age/stage as Alice as a new book came out.
I preordered “Now I’ll Tell You Everything,” and I got it right away after it came out. However, it took me months to bring myself to read it. I didn’t want Alice to end. But this weekend, for whatever reason, I decided to put off my five page essay that I hadn’t even begun (still haven’t) and take the time to read it. I cried on the very first page, even though nothing sad happened on that page, I just couldn’t believe that these were the last 517 pages of Alice. It was just what I needed, Mrs. Naylor. I’ve been in the “I just want to get on with my life and get somewhere and do something” college slump lately, but learning that Alice, practically my best friend, made it through everything, has helped me see the light at the end of the tunnel. So I’m done being in this slump, I feel rejuvenated and ready to take on my last year of college, I feel confident that I will eventually find a man who will love me like Patrick loves Alice, like Ben loved Sylvia. I can take on whatever life throws at me. This was the most relaxing weekend I’ve had in awhile, just spending time with Alice. Although I can’t help but feel that a little part of me just died.
So thank you, and thank you to everyone else you’ve ever thanked for contributing to Alice. You’re books weren’t just about Alice, they were about life, and love, and friends, and family, finding the important things, but mostly, me. Not me specifically, but all the “mes” who have ever read your books. I think I speak for all of the Alices when I thank you for writing books about us, and showing us many things we never even knew about ourselves. Thanks for creating a girl we could laugh with, cry with, love with, and be embarrassed with.
I work with children too young to read Alice (4/5 years old), so I can only hope that somewhere, somehow, someone introduces Alice to my students. I will be forever grateful to Mrs. Branch for introducing me to Alice in 5th grade.

Phyllis replied:

Well, I’m grateful to her also, and to the many teachers and librarians who have connected young girls (and women!  and guys!) to my books. I can remember feeling the same way in college that you do now–that I wanted to get out there and start living life!  Not realizing, of course, that I was already involved right up to my neck in life.  Thanks so much for your wonderful email.  I’ve sent it along to my editor, and know it will make her day, too!

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