"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.
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Ever since Alice arrived at first grade dressed as a hobbit and endured a week of increasingly violent peer rejection, she has been home schooled by her hippie mom and indifferent dad, leaving her with what her therapist calls "a shocking poverty of age-appropriate real-life experience." Now Aliceís inept new therapist, Death Lord Bob, has cornered her into agreeing to go to the public high school. Actually, this fits right in with Aliceís career aspirations to become a cultural critic, and her eighties style statement would be working out pretty much all right (especially after she gets a great haircut somewhat by accident) if it werenít for her old nemesis Linda, now grown seriously homicidal, and her two head banger henchmen. Aliceís sensible observations are a rich source of humor in this very funny first novel, as she tries to get her life together in spite of the peculiar aberrations of the "normal" teen and adult population of Smithers, a small ingrown town in British Columbia where entertainment opportunities are limited to excuse-to-drink events like the Northern Saddle Soresí Family Trail Ride. Her mother is the kind of tie-dye clad woman who holds a sage-burning ceremony for safety before starting out on a back-to-school shopping trip, and her friends include bookstore owner Corinne, who is allergic to books. Her romance-writing fatherís poker cronies are equally colorful: gay but style-challenged Finn and taxi-owning Marcus, who has a succession of twenty-years-younger girlfriends who need a ride. When Aliceís sullen girl cousin Frank arrives, a parentsí nightmare with her bizarre outfits and stuffed-animal backpack filled with bottles and baggies, Alice observes the resulting hullabaloo with amused satisfaction, and after a hilarious, precarious car trip to a Fish Show and Drum Workshop, she finds herself well on the way to acquiring a friend and a boyfriend. Older teens will enjoy the story and the many descriptions of wacky clothes if they can get past the misguided cover, a picture of five-year-old Alice's chubby hobbit-clad legs. (Ages 12 and older) --Patty CampbellReview:
2001 Amazon.com/Books in Canada First Novel Award Shortlist: Fifteen years old and nursing a "serious case of outcastitis," Alice MacLeod is having a hard time finding anything much to like in small town Smithers, British Columbia. Her mom's a folk-festival hippie chick with a hair-trigger temper, her dad's a mild and reasonable sort of loser who hides out in the basement trying to write soft-core romance novels, and her last school counselor threw a teary fit in the middle of a session and left the profession entirely. She'd love to "get past what my father calls my 'knee-jerk dislike of just about anything,'" but she's not sure that there's anything out there that's worth it.
Alice, I Think, which was shortlisted for the 2001 Amazon/Books in Canada First Novel Award, collects a summer's worth of Alice's journals. The journals are filled with eye-rolling protests at the embarrassments and stupidities she finds herself surrounded with: her mother's drumming-circle friends, the therapeutic jargon her counselors use, the "total rip-off" that the Sea Monkeys offers in the back of comic books turn out to be. But Alice's sharp bark doesn't do much to conceal her lack of a bite. It's her mom, after all, not Alice, who gets into a fistfight with Linda, the town's feathered-hair teen thug, while Alice sits cringing in the family car. In fact, Alice has a sweet side, which she makes all the more endearing by getting all squirmy and ashamed whenever she reveals it. As a novel, her story meanders, in the way that journals will, and the jokes are often aimed at easy marks, but Alice's fierce ungainliness, and her unwillingness to surrender it to make her life any easier, make her struggles appealing. --Tom Nissley
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Book Description HarperTempest, 2003. Library Binding. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0060515449