zalena (zalena) wrote,

Alice in the Know by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Alice in the Know has a complicated blend of embarrassing, happy, and sad. Naylor sums it up best at the beginning of the book when Alice says, "Little did I know that: (1)it would be a far worse summer for someone else; (2) there were two trips coming up -- one happy, one sad; and (3) I would come to hate Brian Brewster with every cell of my body."

Perhaps funniest is Alice getting her first job seperate from her father's music store. She lands a retail job at a department store complete with awkward customer interactions and corporate misunderstanding.

One of her friends gets really sick, and Alice has some interesting ways of getting even when a friend plays a cruel practical joke on her and her friends.

This book, which takes place over Alice's 16th summer is bittersweet because the crowd is growing up and has fewer things in common and less time to spend with each other. I thought it captured that element of adolesence well, even if I was MUCH wilder than Alice at that age, and my summers involved not only work, but sneaking out late at night, spending long nights in the park, or at clubs, and driving long distances to hang out with strange boys.

One of the elements of Alice in the Know that I liked best is that Alice's Aunt Sally finally feels that Alice is old enough to hear stories about her mother when she was Alice's age. Aunt Sally gets increasingly funny as the books continue.

After I read the books, I circulate them to a whole host of people including Leila, Carly, and my mother. We all say we wish we would've had these books in junior high, they are funny, informative, and very life affirming. Of course, some of the Alice books existed when I was that age, but I wouldn't have been caught dead reading them at that time. Now I recommend them to almost everyone.
Tags: books
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