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Alice Blissby Laura Harrington
Synopses & Reviews
"Outside the back window Alice can see the outlines of the garden, some of the furrows visible under the snow, stretching away in long thin rows. She can't imagine doing the garden without her dad. It's his thing; she's always thought of herself as his assistant at best. She can't imagine doing anything without her dad and she starts to feel like she can't breathe. And then she looks at him. Just looks at him as he watches the fire with muffin crumbs on his lap.
'I'll write to you.'
'I know, sweetheart.'
--From Alice Bliss
When Alice Bliss learns that her father, Matt, is being deployed to Iraq, she's heartbroken. Alice idolizes her father, loves working beside him in their garden, accompanying him on the occasional roofing job, playing baseball. When he ships out, Alice is faced with finding a way to fill the emptiness he has left behind.
Matt will miss seeing his daughter blossom from a tomboy into a full-blown teenager. Alice will learn to drive, join the track team, go to her first dance, and fall in love, all while trying to be strong for her mother, Angie, and take care of her precocious little sister, Ellie. But the smell of Matt is starting to fade from his blue shirt that Alice wears everyday, and the phone calls are never long enough.
Alice Bliss is a profoundly moving coming-of-age novel about love and its many variations--the support of a small town looking after its own; love between an absent father and his daughter; the complicated love between an adolescent girl and her mother; and an exploration of new love with the boy-next-door. These characters' struggles amidst uncertain times echo our own, lending the novel an immediacy and poignancy that is both relevant and real. At once universal and very personal, Alice Bliss is a transforming story about those who are left at home during wartime, and a teenage girl bravely facing the future.
"Playwright and lyricist Harrington transforms her one-act musical Alice Unwrapped into a moving debut about loss and survival. Fifteen-year-old Alice has always been closer to her father (they share a love of working with their hands) than to her mother, but when she needs him the most, he's deployed to Iraq. Alice flexes her independence by claiming his workshop as her own and wearing his shirt. She feels a mix of responsibility and resentment toward her precocious little sister and her disengaged mother, and pursues typical teenage rites of passage while fearing the arrival of bad news. When it comes, Alice inspires her family to preserve her father's traditions and to craft new ones in his honor. The playwright's facility with language is evident throughout: 'Maybe, she thinks, maybe he'll be home in time for cucumbers, and if not cucumbers, then for corn, and if not corn, then surely in time for tomatoes.' Though the fluid narration offers access to many characters, this is the story of Alice, her courage, fear, and optimism, and her heartbreaking discovery of the extent to which her father's life will shape and guide her own. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Nothing less than a fully realized vision of a young complicated girl." —Entertainment Weekly
Tomboy Alice Bliss is heartbroken when she learns that her father, Matt, is being deployed to Iraq. Matt will miss seeing Alice blossom into a full-blown teenager: she'll learn to drive, join the track team, go to her first dance, and fall in love—all while trying to be strong for her mother, Angie, and her precocious little sister. But the phone calls from her father are never long enough. At once universal and very personal, Alice Bliss is a profoundly moving story about those who are left at home during wartime and a small-town teenage girl bravely facing the future.
About the Author
"I put down this book and thought, there is no one like this girl, so fully has Harrington brought a new Alice to life. The great sorrow, of course, is that there are many Alice Blisses out there. The power of Harrington's richly delineated novel lies in putting a girl like Alice before us and asking us to remember how many beautiful, feisty others are staring down the long hall of adulthood with a father or a mother gone to war."
-Sarah Blake, bestselling author of The Postmistress
"Alice is a true heroine: intelligent, passionate, strong-minded. Watching her find her way is an absorbing pleasure."
-Margot Livesey, author of The House on Fortune Street
"This book may be the Our Town of the twenty-first century."
-Anne Roiphe, author of Epilogue: A Memoir
"Meet Alice Bliss, the heroine of Laura Harrington's gorgeous page-turner of a first novel. Like Scout in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, Alice is destined to become a household name."
-Charlotte Gordon, author of The Woman Who Named God and Mistress Bradstreet
"Heartbreaking yet edged with promise, Alice Bliss explores the wounds of war, love, and family bonds while illuminating the strength of a young girl's spirit. A stunning debut."
-Beth Hoffman, New York Times bestselling author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt
"Alice Bliss is a poignant tale about the homefront horrors of war when a father leaves his wife and two girls for a tour of duty in Iraq. It is a touching reminder of our need for community to help those left behind find inner peace in a time of war."
-JoeAnn Hart, author of Addled
"Strong storytelling and a rich emotional core."
-Jenny Downham, author of Before I Die
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