Felt Exactly Like Elizabeth

Question:

I read my first Alice book, Alice In-Between, in the sixth grade and remembered that I had not read anything like it before. I related to and connected so much to Alice even though we aren’t alike in many ways – except for the fact that she was a girl finding her way in the world.

It’s fun to remember the memories I had with the series; I received a poster years ago, I read all of the books from the series I could the summer after eighth grade, and only a year ago when the last book came out, I was able to meet you in the basement of a cute little bookstore in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Your personality that day warmed my heart, and seeing you talk in person was like seeing my mentor that was there for me throughout my childhood. I vividly remember you talking about the last book and how Alice was losing her virginity, and a little girl in the audience said, “What’s that?”. I smiled because I feel like that’s something Alice would have asked Lester or her Dad at that age.

My parents never gave me “the talk”, and I’m sure my perceptions of sexuality would be skewed by the media and all sorts of unreliable sources. Actually, the other day I was using a tampon for the first time in years, and I felt exactly like Elizabeth the day she was at the pool. I couldn’t help but laugh. I’ve learned so much from you, Alice, and her friends and family.

I am in the middle of re-reading Now I’ll Tell You Everything as a freshman in college, and it’s weird to finally be the same “age” as Alice in the beginning of the book as a lost girl in a new school. I know that when I have a daughter OR son, I’ll be buying them the Alice books for their birthday. I can only hope they relate to, learn, and laugh as much as I did with Alice. Much of my love from reading started with Alice.

Thank you with all my heart.

Phyllis replied:

Your tampon story made me smile.  I still have Alice moments.  I was eating in a New York restaurant with my editor once, and we started up a grand staircase in the middle of the dining room to the balcony.  I was wearing clogs, and one of my feet slipped out and made me stumble and sit down.  Immediately, several men in the tables below jumped up to come to my rescue, and all I needed was my shoe.  “Another Alice moment,” I murmured, and that helped me get through it.  Thank you so much for taking time to write to me.  I enjoyed it so much.

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