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Simply Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
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Simply Alice

by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Series: Alice (14)

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Showing 4 of 4
Most of this review will focus on one chapter, but I'll save that and its spoilers for the end. Except for that chapter/event, Simply Alice is another delightful entry in the series. Lovable Alice has the usual rounds of age appropriate worries and joys. She starts seeing a different boy for the first time, Lester dates one of his teachers in college, Mr McKinley is on cloud 9 waiting for his fiancee, Sylvia Summers to come back from England so they can get married, Alice works on a high school drama production as a stage crew member, Pamela and Elizabeth have their own worries.

Now, spoilers ahead:
In all the books, part of Naylor's formula is to have one little side story that is more serious than the rest of the book. Previous books have dealt with the death of a family member, death of a beloved teacher, teen suicide... On the one hand, it's good that her audience get a sampling of real world more serious issues along with the lighter fare that the books focus on. Sometimes she pulls this off pretty smoothly, but sometimes the weight of the serious event squelches the rest of the book, and that was definitely the case here.
Early on after she joins the stage crew for the drama production, two boys on the stage crew sexually assault Alice backstage. Not rape. But definitely sexually assault. She is suddenly pulled into the dark behind the curtains when she didn't think anyone was around, thrown over a boy's knee, and he starts trying to pull her pants down. When they are too tight, another boy reaches to the front of her pants and unfastens them so they can be pulled down more easily. Wouldn't Alice assume at this point that she is about to be raped? The assailants pull her pants down far enough to expose her buttocks, and use a rubber stamp to mark her rear end with drama masks. An "initiation" to the drama club.
Another girl who has been on the club for a few years says when she joined they stamped her breast.
Although Alice is furious, she isn't nearly furious enough, and nor is anyone else. Her father wants to go to the superintendent (why not the police???) But Alice convinces him to let her handle it her way. Her way is to do an anonymous expose in the school paper about her experience, along with assorted other humiliating, mostly sexual in nature, initiation and hazing pranks. When the paper comes out it creates a stir, and the superintendent reads it and gets more firm about the rules. End of story. It is barely mentioned again as the book goes back to more entertaining territory. Alice even mentions late in the book that at a cast party even the two boys who did this were acting decent towards her.
Why were these boys not at least expelled? Better yet, arrested and taken downtown?
In one earlier volume, I felt Naylor made light of middle school boys publicly assigning girls nicknames based on the size of their breasts. Later she made light of Patrick pulling Alice into a dark closet, without her even knowing it was him, and forcibly French kissing her. This one was even more extreme.
With ten books still to go in high school, at this point I'm assuming someone is going to be raped. I hope I'm wrong.
So - I loved the rest of the book, but found this episode extremely unsettling for a variety of reasons. ( )
  fingerpost | Feb 1, 2018 |
I thought it was a really great book and it is nice to know that Alice got to meet her secret e-mailer and that it turn's out to be good. ( )
  hooverkids | Jul 8, 2008 |
i LOVED the alice books growing up! i definitely recommend them to all girls around 9-10 and up, and the good news is that she's still writing them! so the series starts out when alice is in elementary school and now she's in high school! ( )
  jfoster_sf | Jun 3, 2008 |
The title of the book is "Simply Alice", written by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. It has a total of 222 pages. the setting of the story is mainly at school and home on the second semester of school. Alice, Pamela, Elizabeth, and Faith are the main characters of the story, and they are believable. My favorite character was Alice because she was involved in many activities. I could relate myself to Alice because, we both have a lot of things to do. The conflict of the story is that she is not hanging arround with her firends a lot and that Alice doesn't imagine life without Patrick, her ex-boyfriend. At the resolution of the story she finds out that obsessions and jealousy can afect anyone, and that there is a life after patrick! The problem is solved when she gets over her boyfriend because she has a new admirer that sends her anonimous e-mails. i didn't like the ending so much, because it wasn't very clear. My personal opinion about this book is that she talks a lot about her school activities and problems. I would change her problems with her new friend Faith. Everyone should read it, its really a good book. ( )
  hhcardona | Oct 12, 2007 |
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To the one and only Claudia Mills
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The thing about the second semester of ninth grade is you're not so scared anymore.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0689859651, Mass Market Paperback)

We're starting to notice a pattern. In Alice Alone, ninth grader Alice gradually becomes too busy to see much of her boyfriend. Now, in Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's next installment in the Alice series, Alice and Patrick have broken up, and our heroine decides to throw herself into new activities to drown her sorrows. And suddenly, best friends Elizabeth and Pamela are starting to feel the dearth of Alice, too. After all the girls have been through together (The Grooming of Alice, Alice on the Outside, etc.), can they maneuver this latest bump on the road through adolescence?

Starting out with the most embarrassing high-school situation imaginable (no, really!), and wending its way through various family crises and side plots, Simply Alice reveals a newly single, steadily stronger heroine experiencing all the bittersweet turmoil of high school. But will she be single forever? Don't count on it. Romance lurks, as Alice fields e-mails from a secret admirer. Friends of Alice, old and new, will be simply delighted. (Ages 12 to 15) --Emilie Coulter

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:12 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In her freshman year, fourteen-year-old Alice experiences changes and challenges with friends, family, and school activities, which leave her feeling better about herself than ever before.

» see all 2 descriptions

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