Passion, Tenderness, and Joy

The Alice books were some of my favorite ones to read when growing up. I lived in Joliet, Illinois and met you when I was about eight years old. I religiously read all of the Alice books and enjoyed identifying with an awkward and ordinary girl. The Alice books gave me an understanding that my ordinary life was something special and hope for an exciting future.
Now I’ll Tell You Everything came out during my second year of graduate school when I was 24 years old. It was a tough year for me and reading the Alice book gave me hope that everything was going to be OK. It had been years since I had read an Alice book and I found comfort in knowing that she was still around and had a life after her high school years. I was particularly stuck by the concept of passion, tenderness and joy and how it takes that triple threat for a truly loving relationship.
So many of the events of the final installment struck close to home with me: having a friend who suffered a miscarriage, breaking up with someone and getting back together and struggling to find career fulfillment. This book came to me at the time I needed it most and I thank you for that along with all of the other memories.

Phyllis replied:
So many readers have commented on Lester’s definition of love–passion, tenderness and joy–and I’m glad that it meant something to you also–that and a number of other things in the books.  I’ve always found that definition helpful, because you can feel sexual passion for someone, and feel sympathy and understanding for his problems, but if there’s not joy….meaning excitement for a future with him, the ability to talk about anything…then something’s missing.  Thanks so much for your email.

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