Read the Alice Books in German

Question:

Dear Mrs. Naylor,

I always wanted to write to you, but now I finally found the time to actually tell you, how much I like your Alice books and how much every single character means to me and influenced my view on life, high school time and many other things.

I started to read your books when I was around 10 years old and my aunt gave me the 8th and 11th book of the Alice series. I loved them so much! Then I discovered that our local library has all of them and then I started with the 1st and ended with the 14th and read all of them again, because I thought they were so beautifully written, had so many funny parts, but also sad ones and I could recognize myself in many of the characters.

I am German and after the 14th book, there are no german books anymore, so when I was in 9th grade I ordered „I like him, he likes her“ and I liked it even better in English than in German.

Half a year ago, I moved with my father to Washington D.C. and I was so excited to see Takoma Park and Silver Springs and Bethesda and all those suburbs of D.C., that are also mentioned in the Alice books, on the metro plan. The school system in Germany is very different than the American, so because I am attending an American high school now, I notice things, that are described in the Alice books, but that I could never really understand before.

In elemantary school, I had a very good relationship with my wonderful teacher, Mrs. Körner, who always kind of reminded me of Mrs. Plotkin and I thought, you would probably be like my teacher.

What I love about your books, is how deep you develop the charachters, because they all seem so real to me. I guess on of my most favourite characters is Lester, because he is so funny and relaxed about things. Then of course, Mrs. Plotkin, because I was – and still am – a little scared of growing up, getting old, so it really touched me, how she talked with Alice about life, when she was in the hospital and Alice made this volunteering job during summer. I liked that she told Alice, never forget to be happy about at least one thing a day and that she said that she is happy with her age and wouldnt want to be 25 or so again.

I think it is very good, that you kind of discuss many topics, that teenagers think of; Lori and Leslie, who like each other, Elizabeth, who has trouble with eating, Pamela, whos parents seperate,…

I am currently reading „Its not like I planned it this way“, because I am a sophomore myself, and I am always going to read the books, when I am in the same grade as Alice is in the books. But the last book „Now Il tell you everything“ is kind of about Alice college time and her whole life, isnt it? So when would you recommend to read this one?

I am sitting at Georgetown Waterfront park right now, and it is getting very cold, so I should come to an end, but what I always wanted to know, if the Alice books are kind of autobiographic. I read, that you included things that happened to you, but do you also identify yourself with the character of Alice?

So finally, Thank you very much for writing the Alice books, they mean a lot to me and I think you are an adorable writer and I would love to talk to you someday.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I would be pleased to get an answer and a happy new year;

Phyllis replied:
I’m happy to tell you that if you have only read 14 Alice books, you still have 14 more to go, because there are 28 books in all, not counting the 4 large paperback editions, each containing 3 books of Alice during her high school years.  Yes, “Now I’ll Tell You Everything,” is the final book in the Alice series, taking her from age 18 to 60, so it covers a lot of things, mostly the highlights of her life during this time span.  If I were you, I would wait to read that one until I read all the others, even the three prequels–“Starting with Alice,” “Alice in Blunderland,” and “Lovingly Alice,” because you are going to want to see what Lester was like as a teenager!  Yes, a few of the things are autobiographical–certainly the things she thinks about and worries about, and I very much identify with her, though I was lucky enough never to lose my mother when I was young.  But I also see myself in Pamela and Elizabeth.  I think that most of us have moments when we behave as any one of those girls.  Thank you so much for writing to me.  What a wonderful aunt you had to start you off on the Alice series!

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