The Agony of Alice

The Agony of Alice - Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Kam Mak I really enjoyed this book. Alice reminded me of myself at age 11. Embarrassing things always seemed to happen to me and I was always wanted to disappear. Alice lives with her father and older brother who have no clue how to relate to a girl. Her father calls her "Al" and her brother doesn't know that jeans come in girls sizes as well as boys. Her relationship with her family makes for some amusing scenes, such as the time a younger Alice asks her brother what a period is after hearing some older girls talking about theirs. He tell her it looks like a comma without the tail and goes at the end of a sentence. That had me cracking up.

Alice learns a lot about being yourself over the course of her sixth grade year. She also learns that the outer package may be beautiful, but the inside can be very ugly. Not everything that is good comes in a pretty package. I think that any middle grade age girl would enjoy this one. Even though it was written in 1985, it is still relevant to today. They will be able to relate to the social awkwardness and pains of being a tween.

The Agony of Alice is the first in a series that follows Alice McKinley from middle school through high school. There are 3 "prequels", as well, that have Alice in elementary school. A visit to her website showed that Ms. Naylor is still writing Alice books and has 2 or 3 more planned. I like the idea of a series that a young girl can read as she moves from sixth grade through high school along with Alice. I know that the later books, when Alice is in high school, deal with more mature subjects. But, from what I can see by the synopses, they are subjects that a lot of high school kids deal with every day. I also found that the "Alice" series has been on the list for top 10 most challenged books in the 1990s and into the 2000s. Just that alone makes me want to read them all!