- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Picador (24 May 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 033054411X
- ISBN-13: 978-0330544115
- Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 2 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 700,574 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Alice Bliss Paperback – 24 May 2012
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A powerful coming-of-age story of love, family and grief. (Big Issue)
I put down this book and thought, there is no one like this girl, so fully has Harrington brought a new Alice to life. (Sarah Blake, bestselling author of The Postmistress)
Compassionate and intelligent . . . strong storytelling and a rich emotional core. (Jenny Downham, author of Before I Die)
A heartbreaking story of love, loss and grief.See all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
It took me a while to really get into the book, which is part diary, part conversation, part 3rd person narrative. I found the very 'american' happy family backdrop which juxtaposes against the reality of war a little cliched, but once I became absorbed by the character of Alice, I was swept along. The letters are beautiful, and I shed many a tear along the way.
This is a love story, from father to daughter and back again, and I'm glad to have read it.
The book is beautifully written and steadily paced. Alice is at a difficult age, finding her own interests in life and changing feelings towards the boy next door, Henry. I found Harrington's portrayal of teenage angst to be so realistic. Alice plays the aloof teenager, distancing herself emotionally from her family and yet crying out for attention and a hug, which she then dismisses when someone reaches out to her. So frustrating and yet so true to life for anyone who has ever been a teenager or who is raising one.
Although the plot is not fast-paced there is enough going on to make this an entertaining read. We are taken through the full range of emotions from sadness to laughter via uncertainty and fear but ending up most of all with hope for the future and moving on from what has gone before. It makes us think, not just of the servicemen and women at war and the dangers they face but also what it is like for the loved ones they have left behind who must worry about them constantly whilst trying to get on with their lives as normally as possible. I felt Harrington did an excellent job of bringing all this together realistically without resorting to clichés. A job well done and a very good read.
The story is told almost entirely from the point of view of teenager Alice, who learns that her father is going to fight in Iraq as part of the National Guard. She is left at home with her mother and her eight year old sister Ellie, and finds herself struggling to cope with day to day life, school and her developing friendship with Henry, the boy next door. The writing is simply beautiful and lets you into Alice's world completely, with vivid accounts of her feelings of panic, grief and numbness, along with stunningly evoked memories of her past relationship with her dad. I could almost see Alice helping her father with his roofing when she was younger, and smell the after-the-rain scent of the garden as she plants seeds ready to sprout for when her father hopefully returns from war.
Alice's relationships with her mother and her sister are so realistic and average but at the same time heartbreaking; Alice and her mother are both so lost without her father, and yet fail to connect with each other. Alice's confusion over her relationship with Henry and her newly emerging feelings is also portrayed excellently, and when the story occasionally shifts a little to Henry's point of view you can nearly taste his longing and nervousness. Minor characters are drawn very vividly too: Uncle Eddie and Gram for example have only small parts to play, but their personality pervades the whole book. The only parts of the book I felt didn't work so well were the very rare shifts to the point of view of Alice's mother.Read more ›
Alice Bliss is the story of Alice, a fifteen-year-old faced with the absence of her father who, as a member of the New York National Guard, is sent to Iraq. Laura Harrington does an exceptional job bringing Alice Bliss to life along with the supporting characters, that you will find yourself completely enthralled in her story. Each sentence leads the reader to form images and sounds and emotions and tastes and smells that jump right off the page. It's no wonder, Alice Bliss has received so many awards.
This novel is nothing short of a gift, a blessing to those who walk in Alice Bliss's shoes every day, but find it difficult to explain to others the emotions created by the absence of a family member who serves our nation. It also serves as a comfort to those who have experienced loss and provides hope when the world seems to dim.
Read Alice Bliss and see how poignant, powerful, stunning, and alive a novel can be. Pick it up, read it, share it, talk about it!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Damn, what an emotional read.
I’m not usually someone who allows my emotions to get the better of me in books, but this one… this one hit a nerve. Read more
A great read in the vein of The Lovely Bones as a teenager experiences growing up through a traumatic family experience.Published 24 months ago by K T Andrews
A touching subject matter. Loving father is deployed to Iraq leaving his adoring wife and two daughters behind. Read morePublished on 12 May 2015 by Zoe
Laura Harrington wrote this novel out of a desire, she tells us, to give a voice to the children of American soldiers, who lie in bed each evening knowing that their fathers are... Read morePublished on 2 Sept. 2014 by Kate Hopkins
A great insight into a teenager's life as she copes with her father missing in action. A thoroughly enjoyable read.Published on 11 Feb. 2014 by Anne-Marie
This book is about wartime and the families left behind, and the impact on children trying to cope with it all. Moving and beautifully written.Published on 15 Nov. 2013 by Macca
I wasn't really expecting much from this book but it was such a good read. A story of a family that is separated and how each deals with things in their own unique way. Read morePublished on 29 July 2013 by Nikki Cunnah
A friend gave me this book for my birthday, and although I possibly wouldn't have picked it up otherwise, I haven't been disappointed. Read morePublished on 2 July 2013 by AmaDablam
This was a choice by my book club, and judging by the cover and the blurb on the back I probably wouldn't have chosen to read it.But, I'm glad it was chosen. Read morePublished on 5 April 2013 by Jaycey