"Life is like a dumpster. As soon as you get rid of one embarrassment, you pick up another," Alice McKinley explains in The Agony of Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. From relocating to a new city to not getting the teacher she wants, Alice encounters a series of shortcomings, downfalls, and mishaps from meeting new friends to finding a role model to look up to since the loss of her mother. Plus, living in an all-male household is not easy, but this coming-of-age story marks Alice's growth from a girl to a young lady including buying a bra, getting her first period, and learning how to acknowledge inner beauty.
The Agony of Alice is the first title of a 28-book series that chronicles Alice's life from middle school to the summer before she leaves for college. While the Alice series speaks to a wide audience, especially young female readers, it has also been frequently challenged by critics on multiple grounds. Some believe that various titles contain material that is "unsuited to age group" or argue that content is "sexually explicit." Others are bothered by what they feel is "offensive language" or disagree with homosexual and religious viewpoints that Naylor presents. Because of this, the Alice series appears on the American Library Association's "Top Ten Challenged Books Lists by Year" for 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, and 2011.
Despite what critics may say about the Alice series, Naylor presents a sequence of familiar yet meaningful life events set in a realistic tone. Readers have the opportunity "grow up" or "relive their youth" with Alice, and while the series started years ago, children and young adults still face similar issues today. So don't feel embarrassed about picking up the Alice series; check one out today!
Hayley @ Central