The Passion of Alice

( 4 )

Overview

It's 1984. Alice Forrester is a twenty-five-year-old anorexic who has just experienced heart failure when she is taken to the emergency room of Seaview Hospital, renowned for its eating disorders clinic. There, family and friends in league with staff and doctors intently try to steer her toward recovery. But it's not that simple. She passes time at the clinic waiting to find out what is wrong with her. What happened. When and how the damage was done. Along the way, Alice encounters a fascinating array of oddballs...
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Overview

It's 1984. Alice Forrester is a twenty-five-year-old anorexic who has just experienced heart failure when she is taken to the emergency room of Seaview Hospital, renowned for its eating disorders clinic. There, family and friends in league with staff and doctors intently try to steer her toward recovery. But it's not that simple. She passes time at the clinic waiting to find out what is wrong with her. What happened. When and how the damage was done. Along the way, Alice encounters a fascinating array of oddballs and misfits - Dr. Paul, the physician who clinically evaluates and monitors this disparate group of afflicted young women; various members of the psychiatric support staff whose treatment of anorexia revolves around a chillingly familiar twelve-step program; wraithlike, flaxen-haired Gwen, whose anorexia ultimately turns into tragedy; and finally Maeve, raucous, vulgar, tender, and kind, who shakes up Alice's life and opens her eyes.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Grant's debut revolves around the self-destructive patients at an eating-disorders clinic. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Like the recovering heroines of Carrie Fisher's Postcards from the Edge LJ 8/87 and Susanna Kaysen's Girl Interrupted LJ 3/15/93, Alice Forrester faces rehabilitative treatment with self-awareness, humor, and insight. Like them, as well, she is constantly teetering on the brink of a relapse. Just under six feet and weighing 92 pounds, anorexic Alice is admitted to the Seaview Complex outside of Boston, having suffered a heart attack. Alice's fellow patients are overweight Louise, hungry for food and friends; waiflike Gwen; Queen Victoria, so named because, at 60, she is the oldest person in the center; and loopily eccentric Maeve, who vomits into her purse because she doesn't like to put her head in toilets. With dining room and bathrooms strictly supervised, the anorexics and bulimics conspire to accommodate each other's neuroses until their treatment leads to understanding that their present diagnoses mask deeper problems. Ultimately, for the lucky ones, desire for control gives way to a desire to live. This rich and moving first novel is highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/95.]-Barbara Love, Kingston P.L., Ontario
School Library Journal
YA-After suffering a heart attack, 25-year-old anorexic Alice is committed-more or less voluntarily-to a private rehabilitation center. Proud of being thin, she is scornful of the therapists, the therapy, and most of her fellow patients, describing with biting humor their often bizarre compulsions. Then Maeve, a voluptuous, worldly, bulimic manipulator, enters the picture. Both emotionally and physically attracted to the newcomer, Alice willingly allows herself to be used by Maeve in her war with the world. In the end, Alice begins to emerge from her illness, despite rather than because of Maeve's friendship. Grant's book is well worth reading, especially for teens who may be falling into the anorexic trap. As a novel, though, it has a couple of serious flaws. First, the detail is great, but readers can take only so much description of life in a rehab center, and Grant goes too far. Second, the key to Alice is her self-described ``emptiness''; unfortunately, the author does too good a job of conveying that trait, and Alice is therefore too passive a character to maintain readers' interest or sympathy. Nevertheless, recommend this book for its unusual, inside depiction of eating disorders.-Chip Barnett, Rockbridge Regional Library, Lexington, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553378610
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/1/1996
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 1,074,839
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2005

    It picks up...

    This book was a little slow starting but after a few chapters it picked up, I'm glad I stuck with it, it was a good book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2002

    a beautiful and insightful book

    This is a quiet, beautiful book describing in detail the thought process of someone who has given herself over to anorexia. I found the author's description of Alice's justification for wanting to remain thin believable and powerful. In addition, she does an incredible job of discussing the way in which anorexics see other eating disorders. I found that the book resonated with me in many places. For me, the desire Alice feels for her friend made sense. It seemed to be the first foray Alice makes into the discovery real sexuality. However, I was glad that the book focused less on the issue of sexuality, and more on the centrality of maintaining control for those dealing with anorexia.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2002

    Anorexia starts in the Mind...

    This is an excellent book and I recomend it to young women who have low self esteem about how they look and their wieght.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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