Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Alice and the Fly by James Rice

4 Stars

Greg doesn’t have a problem remembering good things about his childhood. He knows he was happy living with Nan and Herb. His family took an amazing vacation to Finner’s Island. Even when he was seeing THEM Nan was right there with him – stocked with packing tape to seal THEM out. Those days are long gone, however. Herb died and Nan had to move into a nursing home and nobody in the family wants to talk about what happened at Finner’s Island. Nowadays Greg has to be satisfied making it through a day of high school. A place where . . . .

“I’d like it if someone just called me “Greg.” “Psycho is a hard nickname to live down.”

Greg’s teacher, Ms. Hayes, thinks she might be able to help with that. And why not? She seems to really know what she’s talking about . . . .

“Do you have any prior training in this field?”


“Are you qualified in any way?”

“I studied psychology.”


“High school.”

With the encouragement of Ms. Hayes, Greg begins writing a journal, but with a twist – he writes in his journal to a fellow student named Alice . . . .

“I think writing to nobody’s pretty stupid. That’s why I’ve decided to keep writing to you. I hope you don’t mind. You just seem like a good way of getting the words on the page. I know you don’t know me, but nobody knows me, and by knowing that you now kind of know me better than anyone. My name’s Greg, by the way.”

I discovered this book thanks to the Bookish Buzz’s 13 Underrated Novels You Must Read Immediately. I’ve now read six of the thirteen and while I can’t say they have all been what I would consider “underrated” I can say they’ve all been completely unique. Alice and the Fly is definitely not going to be a book for everyone. The entire thing is spent in the head of a mentally ill person AND aside from a couple of interview snippets with a handful of other characters it’s all in journal form. That means you’re literally reading things like what Greg had for breakfast. It’s obvious the story is building up to something, but that something doesn’t come until 90+% so if you’re not invested in Greg, you will struggle. This is also shelved as YA, but I would consider it a very mature YA. Although the bad stuff is either alluded to or written fade-to-black style, pretty much ALL the bad stuff you could think of happens. It should go without saying at this point, but this is definitely not a sunshine and unicorn farts type of book. However, if you’re like Mitchell and me you already believe that . . . .

So maybe you’ll be mesmerized by it too.

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