Alice, I Think
Author: Susan Juby
About Alice, I Think: A teenager returns to school after years of being taught at home. The first book in the Alice MacLeod series.
Review of Alice, I Think
A week later Linda and her friends followed me home throwing rocks. One of the rocks hit me on the head and made me bleed. And that was the end of regular school for me. My mother and father have taught me at home ever since, which hasn't exactly set me on the road to being voted most popular but may have saved my life. And it also seems to have bought me a lifetime membership in the crisis counseling club. Which brings me to my current situation. [page 5]
The following is an edited transcript of a discussion between LMB and AB, age 17, on 14 March 2009.
- What book are you going to talk about?
- Alice, I Think by Susan Juby.
- What was the book about?
- A girl, Alice MacLeod, living in small town British Columbia.
- What was the name of the town?
- She was home-schooled for years and years and years and has finally decided to go back to school and the whole story is written in her diary.
- The whole book was written as if it was her diary?
- Yeah, it'll be that day or later or a little bit later in time.
- Did you like that?
- Yeah, because it was all from her point of view but you wondered what everybody else was thinking because she coulda totally fibbed and exaggerated and you only get how she saw everything.
- But it helped you get a better sense of who she was.
- How old was she in the book?
- 16? Something like that.
- Did she sound like a 16-year-old?
- Yes, gaga over certain celebs.
- So she was believable.
- Why did she decide to go to school?
- I think she thought it was time and she wanted to. She had a rather traumatic experience in grade one.
- In grade one? What happened?
- Well, see, her parents read her The Hobbit and she loved it and so then they made her a hobbit outfit and she believed she was a hobbit. So the first day she goes to school dressed as a hobbit and she's all, "I am a hobbit" and they were all, "No, you're not" and they kept picking on her and they threw rocks at her and then she was just at home.
- So then she didn't want to go to school anymore.
- Yeah. She thought all the other home-schooled kids were freaks because they had conventions where the parents all got together and discussed their tactics. All the other ones were freaks and she was normal. She wasn't normal.
- So what happened to her in the book?
- She goes to the normal school for a few classes and this alternative school for the other half of the day where there are kids like her with similar problems. And she gets counselled and stuff like that. Oh and there's this bully and she picks on her. And she meets a boy, a few boys.
- Anything else?
- Her home life was kinda weird because her mom's this hippy eco-activist kinda person and then her dad's this lazy guy who lives in the basement. Oh and he says he's writing bodice-rippers. I didn't know what that was at first but that's what he claims he's writing. Her little brother is really really bright so she thinks her family is full of freaks except for her brother. Oh and all of her dad's friends, she thinks they're all losers and all of her mom's friends are completely crazy and nuts.
- Would you want to hang out with her?
- [laughs] No. She doesn't sound like fun. She has really bad fashion sense. It's described really well because the author went to fashion school so she can describe all these clothes. I'm only half getting what it looks like but it's pretty bad.
- Did you like the book?
- Yeah. It was nice, it was different. Quirky. That's my key word.
- Was it funny?
- It made you laugh out loud?
- A few times but mostly kinda smiled or snickered.
- Would boys like it?
- No, probably not to be honest.
- Wouldn't it give them insight into the mind of a teenage girl?
- See, Alice is not your typical teenage girl. She's very self-centred.
- So are lots of teenagers. It's just a part of being a teenager.
- But she deals with problems differently and not in the best of manners. Not very well.
- Did you like the ending?
- I don't really remember the ending just because I knew there'd be another book and it just kinda would flow.
- Would you recommend it for people to read?
- Sure, as a kinda light, kinda goofy read.
- Maureen Garvie, Quill & Quire, August 2000
- “This is a smart, perceptive, intelligent book.”
- Jocelyn A. Dimm, CM Magazine, 11 April 2003
- “The book deals with teen issues on a very honest level, including bullying, personal identity, and dating — from a very alternative teenage girl's perspective.”
- Christine Bruce, The Asian Review of Books, 12 July 2003
- “This sharp first novel by Susan Juby is definitely one to amuse cynical teenagers — and adults.”
- Miss Print, 30 January 2008
- “Then there's the fact that it's literally a laugh out loud funny book.”
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Added 11 April 2009.
Updated 23 August 2013.