Alice, I Think

Alice, I Think

3.7 4
by Susan Juby
     
 

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"I grew up in one of those loving families that fails to prepare a person for real life..."

A few weeks into first grade Alice's parents took her out of school and have taught her at home ever since. Now she's about to enter high school, with the stated goal of boosting the self-esteem of her counselor, Death Lord Bob. Bob is happy now. But what about Alice?

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Overview

"I grew up in one of those loving families that fails to prepare a person for real life..."

A few weeks into first grade Alice's parents took her out of school and have taught her at home ever since. Now she's about to enter high school, with the stated goal of boosting the self-esteem of her counselor, Death Lord Bob. Bob is happy now. But what about Alice?

Will she be able to interact with people her own age who are not home-based learners? Will she be able to survive some sort of boy-girl interaction? Or is this best left until after high school? Until middle age? What about a unique and innovative career path? A new look? (This must, like career choice, reflect uniqueness.)

Alice, I Think is the story of a teenager attempting to survive her parents, her hometown, and her reentry into society. Told through keenly observant, satirical journal entries, Susan Juby's first novel is wise, witty, and utterly original.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Alice, a misfit extraordinaire, has been home-schooled by her aging-hippie parents since early childhood; now 15, she enrolls at the local high school. "Alice's acerbic apercus will have readers roaring," PW said in a starred review. "Juby's dark wit virtually glitters on every page." Ages 12-up. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Alice has lots of advice for parents. "Don't send your kids to school dressed like a character from a fantasy book unless that kid has a lot of friends who also dress like fantasy characters." When Alice showed up for first grade dressed as a Hobbit, "the little delusional in the gunnysack" suffered major peer rejection. Her tie-dyed hippie mom decided that home schooling and therapy were the next steps. After Alice's first counselor went crazy, the new one who she refers to as Death Lord Bob, convinces her to attend public high school. Anyone who has suffered through the trauma of the teen years may appreciate the results. Despite Alice's inability to interact with her peers, she does establish "Life Goals" and "Career Choices" that need constant revision. The book is filled with quirky characters and bizarre anecdotes. Some of the negativity becomes wearisome, but there are plenty of humorous scenes to keep the reader intrigued. 2003, HarperTempest/HarperCollins Publishers, Ages 12 to 16.
—Laura Hummel
KLIATT
This novel is really a long comic monologue. If a comedian were in front of you telling these vignettes, you would be laughing. That's the effect Juby has with the written account�and it does feel like an oral narration somehow. Alice tells how it all started: when she was four she read The Hobbit with her father and decided she was a hobbit. But when she went to school for the first time, dressed as a hobbit (which her parents thought was really cute), she became an instant pariah with her classmates. So she is home schooled. And by the time she is an adolescent, she is really trying to understand herself and get some friends, even a boyfriend, maybe, and get on with her life. Here are some lines: "...going back to school, which is probably the third most hostile environment on Earth after the deep ocean and Everest." "I wouldn't be surprised to hear about a few New Agers going postal�gunning down everyone in their yoga center or whatever." It's absolutely impossible to summarize this plot. Let's just settle for some facts: it involves a really good haircut, which is transforming; it introduces a girl cousin named Frank who wears "a short, shiny red one-piece jumpsuit covered with blue and yellow stars, black-and-white-striped legwarmers, some kind of half-bald feather boa, and silver slippers" to go horseback riding; it involves a family outing to a fish show, where Alice's genius younger brother exhibits his amazing fish. This is just a small sampling of the outlandish family shenanigans, as seen through the eyes of Alice, who is an engaging combination of naivet� and cynicism. It may not be humor that appeals to absolutely everyone, but I believe most readers will be amused.KLIATT Codes: JS�Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2003, HarperCollins, Tempest, 292p.,
— Claire Rosser
VOYA
Alice does not exactly fit in. On her first day of school, she dressed like a hobbit, and that was about the end of regular school for her. Her overprotective parents have homeschooled her since then, and through her diary-an assignment from her cute "Teens in Transition" counselor-readers learn about her Life Goals List, from "1. Decide on a unique and innovative career path. (To get helping professionals off my back.)" to "7. Develop a new look. (Like career choice, must reflect uniqueness.)" She starts off with a bang-Career: Cultural Critic. Look: Plaid stretch pants, orange muscle shirt, and green down vest from the thrift shop-but somewhere in her exaggerated enthusiasm to impress her counselor, Alice indicates that she would also like to go back to "regular" school. Nevertheless, Alice plows ahead with abandon and a kind of odd grace: "I don't think the whole properly applied makeup thing is going to work for me-I'll either apply it badly or not at all." She stumbles through a terrifying first boyfriend experience-"I think I love Aubrey. I know I love my hair. I may even be a girl. The rituals of humans are very odd."-and lands... somewhere. At least somewhere, she can say, "Well, actually, my life isn't really that bad at the moment." Over the top but oddly realistic, with a narrator who is wandering and unreliable yet strangely articulate, this novel is strictly for self-proclaimed weirdos, who ought to enjoy it immensely. PLB
— Nina Lindsay <%ISBN%>0060515430
School Library Journal
Gr 7-9-It's inevitable that Susan Juby's Alice (HarperTempest, 2003) will be compared to the incomparable Georgia Nicholson of Louise Rennison's Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging, but Alice of Smithers, British Columbia is more than able to stand on her own. Since arriving in first grade dressed as a hobbit, complete with furry burlap sack and furry toes on her shoes, Alice has been unable to face public schooling. Ten years have passed, and when she is forced to develop life goals by her new counselor, Death Lord Bob, one of her goals is to return to school. In the intervening decade, Alice has turned from a na ve hobbit-girl into a cynical, self-aware young person who desperately wants to be "alternative." As we follow her adventures through her journal entries, we come to know and love Alice and appreciate her struggles to find her own way. Angela Goethals' youthful voice is fitting for Alice's droll, self-effacing personality. As listeners warm to the story, Goethals' voice warms as well, creating a very memorable portrayal of an astute and funny young lady who will live long in the annals of young adult literature. Prospective listeners may be put off by the first grade Alice on the cover, but with a little encouragement, this audiobook should find many listeners simply by word-of-mouth.-Lynn Evarts, Sauk Prairie High School, Prairie du Sac, WI Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Comedy rules in Juby�s satirical, laugh-out-loud debut about a wacky home-schooled teenager who decides to try public high school. When Alice was an imaginative little girl enamored of The Hobbit, her well-meaning but inept New Age parents allowed her to start school dressed in full Hobbit regalia, complete with a peaked green cap. Hostile rejection ensued, followed by years of incompetent home-schooling and fruitless therapy. Narrating in a diary format, the now 15-year-old Alice relates her sidesplitting struggles with her clueless parents, social acquaintances, and the various members of the helping professions. Juby wields a sharp pen and has a marvelous time skewering everything from makeup to multiple chemical sensitivity disorder. Although brimming with well-observed quirky characters and waspishly witty narration, some of the incidents are comic riffs only marginally connected to the story line. But the biggest complaint readers will likely have is the pain in their stomachs from laughing. Hilarious. (Fiction. 12-14)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060515430
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
06/03/2003
Edition description:
1 AMER ED
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.12(h) x 1.01(d)
Lexile:
950L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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