Alice the Realist at Last
Alice MacLeod, two books ago, home-schooled, a teen in transition (not trouble) and self-doubting returns, a dramatic, alternative school survivor, a sophisticated dresser with flair for writing and&causing chaos! Alice the Realist at Last, Susan Jubys narrative is about discovering and coming to terms with oneself. The emphasis is on Alices departure from the disillusioned romantic to the accepting realist.
In the third, calmer installment of Susan Jubys series, wacky Alice meets challenges. Alices seventeenth summer is spent juggling three jobs, as well as potential beaus, corresponding with her mother, (jailed for staging an unwanted environmental protest) all while her ex-boyfriend treks through Europe, accompanied by a Swedish supermodel. To make things worse, her new counsellor doesnt have a scrap of sympathy for her! So, Alice pens a screenplay, (starring herself) which she hopes will hand fame and fortune, that she desperately needs, on a silver platter. However, in the end, Alice realises that its not the time for dreams, and faces reality as best as possible.
Alice possesses a witty, sardonic charm, greeting everyday with a burst of energy. She has a soul of a true ( sometimes self-absorbed) drama queen. One moment youre plagued with the sorrows of Alices traumatic teenage life, the next minute, youre laughing uproariously. Teens meeting Alice for the first time will likely be captivated by this entertaining heroine. Alices quirky sense of humour, slightly pessimistic nature is enduring; I can relate to her truthful, gritty comments about life. In my opinion, she bears a resemblance to Louise Rennisons Georgia Nicholson. Both teens share their diaries, story-telling talent and the ability to arrive in each scene with a little mayhem and a lot of drama. The difference is, the Alice books discuss issues like: relationships, incarceration, harassment, love, jobs and self-discovery, while the Georgia series focuses on romance.
The book is refreshingly different. Ms. Jubys writing is raw, true and humorous. It gives us insight about the trials and tribulations of a teenagers turbulent life. It is reassuring to know that irrational thoughts are common! During the novel, scenes in screenplay format are inserted regularly to give the reader a glimpse into Alice's masterpiece. This technique is interesting and amusing. The book seemed to screech to a sudden halt, leaving the reader with the vague conclusion of Alices screenplay. Personally, I wouldve included a brief entry by Alice explaining her screenplays conclusion and tying up the books main theme in her own words. To me, this would convey the books focus on real life more directly, therefore more powerfully. Rather than change, Id add a scene where Alice and Goose(Alices ex-boyfriend) communicate their problems, rather than bickering over email.
Nevertheless, Alice the Realist at Last is a gripping, interesting and laugh-out-loud read. Susan Juby has created a one of a kind character in a set of funny, heart-warming books. I urge teenage girls, romantic, realistic, or in the middle, to try this best-selling Canadian book!