Monday, August 29, 2011

The Agony of Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

This book is the first in a long series, and I gave it a rating of four out of five. Alice has just moved to a new home with her father and teenage brother, Lester. Her mother died when Alice was four. Alice feels like nothing ever goes right for her. On the first day of school, she hopes to get Miss Cole, the pretty teacher who can be her "adopted" mother, or Mr. Weber, the cool teacher who sings songs and takes his class on an end-of-the-year trip. However, Alice gets stuck with Mrs. Plotkin, the old lady no one wants. Alice does all she can to be around Miss Cole, and she goes through many of the life changes that all girls experience, such as maturing physically and wanting to kiss a boy. She starts to help Mrs. Plotkin after school and writes a journal for her class. These events, along with a trip to Chicago, help change Alice's outlook on the world. It all ends happily!

Being a guy, I never lived through the emotional life changes experienced by Alice, but I can imagine most girls can appreciate her problems. Alice's problems are worse, because she doesn't have a mother or older sister to talk to. Mrs. Plotkin is a wonderful character and is able to help Alice through these difficult times. Alice learns to admire qualities in many different people, but she wants to become like Mrs. Plotkin.

Lexile level from 910

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