Question:

Sometimes, when I’m reading the Alice books (I just finished Alice in the Know), it seems as though Alice is quite immature. For example, she is 16 and loses her first job at Hecht’s, and asks Sylvia if she’ll ever get a job again. Not even I would say that and I’m 11! Also Alice always says that Sylvia went to England for a year just to decide whether she wants to go with Ben or Mr. Sorringer. She went to England for at teaching job, for crying out loud! Sometimes I want to grab Alice’s shoulders, shake her, and say, “Grow Up!”

Phyllis replied:

I can see how you might feel that way.  Sometimes I think she does act immature.  I also think that many, or most of us, however mature we think we are, have times that we revert to our younger selves.  I had imagined that Alice might feel that her going on vacation from that job without permission from her employer might be on her record, and that she would not be able to use them for a reference in the future.  As for Sylvia going to England, actually, she did choose that job because she wanted to get away and think things over.  Alice was absolutely right.  Yes, she did apply for a job, but she knew she would need to support herself if she went, and this was her solution: get away, she how she felt when she was alone, and see how each man reacted to her being away.  That may not have been your solution, if you were in Ms. Summers’ place, but somehow that seemed right to me.  I appreciate your input, however.  Another author may have done something entirely different.

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