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Alice and the Fly by James Rice
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Alice and the Fly

by James Rice

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Showing 5 of 5
An unsettling, but worthwhile read. Not the easiest book to finish, but it offers an unusual and interesting look at mental illness from the perspective of a teen dealing with it. Many of the entries have a surrealistic flavor which, from my 27 years experience as a mental health professional, seem spot on. ( )
  sennebec | Sep 14, 2017 |
This book is very mid-range for me.

It is a story told largely through the eyes of Greg, a troubled teen who battles with mental illness. Greg's wealthy family are largely emotionally absent, and Greg is the complete opposite of popular in his school. Told through Greg's journal entries, the reader gets an intimate portrayal of his sad and depressing life. The only ray of positivity is his crush on a girl from school -Alice. In between Greg's journal entries, the reader is treated to a police interview transcript about Greg referring to a tragic incident.

The actual event was pretty anti-climatic for me and so this book didn't really have the 'wow' factor. It is pretty easy read, and the story is interesting but it wasn't a book that amazed me. ( )
  4everfanatical | Feb 5, 2016 |
Greg is different. He has a mental illness and also has a phobia of THEM. He also likes Alice. Told from Gregs point of view in journal form to Alice the reader sees how events turned out for Greg.

This is not a book I would have picked up st all. I didnt like the cover or the blurb so I wouldn't have read except it is for book club. I was however quite surprised how quickly I was drawn into Gregs world and really wanted to see how things turned out. Its quite obvious with the police interviews inbetween that things don't go well.

I felt for Greg all the way and I thought the author did a good job in making me feel this way. Gregs plain chatty narrative, with how he sees things draws the reader in. The story is compelling, funny at times and other times quite sad.

This is an excellent read and I'm glad that I made myself pick it up. ( )
  tina1969 | Dec 30, 2015 |
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: An amazingly intense read about a teenage boy with mental issues and how his phobias and obsession take over his life. Creepy, morbid and definitely unusual, James Rice is an author to watch out for.

Opening Sentence: The bus was late tonight. It was raining, that icy winter rain, the kind that stings.

The Review:

This is the kind of story that haunts you even after you’ve finished reading it. I first thought that the main character was a girl because of the attention to detail, the thoughtful and quiet personality. Only when he introduced himself as Greg did I realise that this boy was rather odd.

The book is written from two perspectives: Greg’s entries in his journal, which are interspersed with the Detective’s interviews. Greg has been advised by Miss Hayes to write his thoughts in a journal, in an attempt to help him overcome some of his issues, and by reading these we glimpse a snapshot of Greg’s day, his obsession with Alice and his unusual habits.

Each interview is conducted with someone linked to Greg, such as his classmates, family members and teachers so that the Detective can learn more about Greg’s personality. The interviews take place after an ‘event’ unknown to the reader and the journal entries all lead up to this same ‘event.’ This mixture of journal entries and interviews, past and present, kept me guessing as to what actually happened, though I had my suspicions earlier on. With each interview, the reader is given another clue about the event but it’s not until the very end that the gruesome details are fully revealed.

How can I describe this book and do justice to the amazing writing? Honestly, I’ve never read anything like it. The detail in which James Rice captures Greg’s episodes and the panic that suffocates him is surreal. Clearly, Greg has issues and violent outbursts, but from his journal entries it’s near impossible not to sympathise with his character. He has no friends, his family treat him like an embarrassing burden and he is constantly bullied at school, referred to as ‘psycho.’ He tries so hard to be normal but it is almost like his body doesn’t listen to his brain. On numerous occasions, Greg tries to speak up and prove he is normal, but he can’t bring himself to speak, and it’s sad to see how his silence always makes things worse.

As you might have guessed, Greg is the fly from the title of this book. I thought this was a most appropriate likeness, given that Greg is always hovering near Alice in a stalker-like fashion so that no one notices him and those that do just get annoyed by his existence.

The only problem I had with this book was that I became a tad bit bored during the middle of the story because I felt that the build up was being dragged on longer than necessary. Alice and the Fly was a powerful read opening my eyes to the extremeness of some people’s phobias. Although it isn’t a book I plan to re-read given the depressing nature of the story, I will be looking out for further releases by James Rice because his writing style for his debut novel was amazing.

Notable Scene:

‘I can’t bump into her,’ Mum said. ‘Not like this.’

I couldn’t work out why. Mum was wearing her heels and her hair and makeup were perfect. She looked beautiful. She kept repeating the word ‘No,’ over and over, under her breath. ‘No, no no, no, no.’ Then she turned to me and said, ‘Just promise me, if she sees us, just promise me you’ll try and be normal.’

I didn’t reply to that because I didn’t know how to reply, I didn’t know how I could promise something I had failed to do my whole life.

FTC Advisory: I purchased my own copy of Alice and the Fly. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. ( )
  DarkFaerieTales | Apr 15, 2015 |
The story in this debut by James Rice is told by Greg, as he writes to Alice, a girl he likes, in his journal. Greg comes across as an awkward, shy boy with a phobia of ‘Them’ (which turn out to be spiders) but as the book goes on, it’s obvious there is more to be told. In fact, the story is interspersed with extracts of interviews of various characters with the police, which hint of much deeper issues.

Alice and the Fly is a book which gradually takes hold, as we find out more about Greg, his family, and his mental health problems. Telling the story from Greg’s point of view allows you to experience how he sees his world, and yet there is enough information to allow you to see what’s really going on, all the way to the heartbreaking conclusion.

My first book of 2015, and highly recommended
1 vote michelle_bcf | Jan 4, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
James Riceprimary authorall editionscalculated
Johansson, CharlotteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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A shy high school student is encouraged by his teacher to keep a journal, and at the same time the student takes an interest in a girl named Alice but in order to befriend her he must overcome paralyzing anxieties.

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