Nine-year-old Alice must write about herself for a school assignment, and in doing so, she sorts out her feelings about her somewhat prickly single mother, the father she has never met, her flamboyant paternal grandmother and the rest of her sometimes confusing life. Alice doesn't see how she can write her life story as a class assignment. How can she fit nine years into a couple of pages? Her pets have died and the only family she has is her mother. Until recently she had a beloved interfering grandmother - Gene - but she's gone from Alice's life. Besides, Alice discovered ages ago she was born by accident, and that's the sort of private thing you don't write about for school. Alice does the assignment but she thinks it's boring, until she discovers a need to write about her true life - the exciting, complicated and private of her life. She writes how Gene came along, how she changed Alice's life, making it richer in experience but also more complicated. She records ongoing quarrels between Gene and her mother which ended with the Big Row and now she can't see Gene any more. Lynne Reid Banks has written a truly compelling story of a creative child caught in the middle of a difficult but very real and increasingly common situation.
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Writing convincingly in a young person's voice poses a huge challenge even to an experienced author like Lynne Reid Banks ( The Indian in the Cupboard and others)--probably second only to writing in authentic-sounding dialect. Banks manages to do both brilliantly in the public and private notes of almost-10-year-old Alice Elizabeth Williamson-Stone, a sensitive, quirky British girl being raised by her struggling single mom. Alice dutifully reports her name in the first line of the book as part of an autobiography in her School Notebook, which continues throughout. But we soon learn that much of the turmoil in her world revolves around that name's origins. In her private Special Notebook, Alice later describes meeting her grandmother Gene at the age of three: "She rang Mum (in Brighton this was) and they had a row straight off because Williamson-Stone is on my birth certificate.... Gene said I had no right to that name because Mum wasn't married to my dad and she said Mum'd stolen it. Of course that's stupid, you can't steal a name... she could've called me Alice Pokémon or Alice Peanut Butter Sandwich." Alice's strong accent and idiosyncratic language can be a bit off-putting until you get to know her, but patience pays off, and the contrast makes her recounting of The Simpsons and Oprah Winfreythat much better.
Pulled between loving but strong-willed parental figures with their own complicated histories (and she hasn't even met her dad yet), Alice must find her way despite a rocky home life, an unexpected and emotional move, and the usual demands of a difficult age. But she shines through it all as a stalwart, likable, and--most importantly for middle-school readers--believable heroine. (Ages 9 and 12) --Paul HughesAbout the Author:
Lynne Reid Banks was born in London in 1929. She was an actress in the early 1950s and later became one of the first two women TV News reporters in Britain. She is a best-selling author for both children and adults, and has written over thirty books, including The L-Shaped Room. Lynne Reid Banks has three grown-up sons and lives in Dorset and London with her sculptor husband, Chaim Stephenson.
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Book Description Book Condition: New. Depending on your location, this item may ship from the US or UK. Bookseller Inventory # 97800071438700000000
Book Description Collins, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. 144 pages. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # __0007143877
Book Description HARPER COLLINS, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: NEW. 9780007143870 This listing is a new book, a title currently in-print which we order directly and immediately from the publisher. Bookseller Inventory # HTANDREE0982239
Book Description HarperCollins Children's Books, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0007143877