08 June 2011

Just finished reading...

Alice Bliss by Laura Harrington.

Alice Bliss has a complicated relationship with her mother, as do many girls of fifteen. Alice and her father, Matt, are very close. They both love to garden, and she enjoys helping him build things.

So Alice is understandably devastated when her father's National Guard unit is deployed to Iraq. Of course it's stressful for her mother, Angie and her eight-year-old sister Ellie, but it can't possibly be as hard for either of them as for Alice. Yes, Alice is self-centered, as many teens are.

Although the book is written in the third-person, and much of it is from Alice's point of view, we do occasionally get a glimpse of Angie's feelings, and Ellie's and even those of Alice's best friend Henry. Henry's devotion to Alice is simple and absolute, and is described by Harrington in words akin to poetry.

But mostly we live and breathe through Alice. We empathize with her as she wears one of her father's shirt to a rag, discovers the release of running and yearns to remember Matt's voice and image.

Although Alice Bliss is being marketed to adults, it's also appropriate for
teens. The numbers may be decreasing as American soldiers return home, but there are still many who have relatives or friends deployed overseas. Of course in many cases, a soldier is a soldier, regardless of which flag she or he fights under.

Looking back at this review, the words summarizing and describing Alice Bliss seem inadequate. This amazing novel may become a classic in the vein of To Kill a Mockingbird or Catcher in the Rye.

*FTC Full Disclosure: Many thanks to the publisher, who sent me a copy of the book for review purposes.

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