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Customer reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
The Pursuit of Alice Thrift
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on 1 August 2014
I enjoyed this story even though I couldn't quite believe in the story or the characters. It was unusual.
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on 12 August 2003
An enchanting novel, I read it straight through, and stayed up late to finish it on a work night! The story concerns Alice Thrift, a hospital intern who feels she can't connect emotionally or socially and takes things very literally (a spock-type soul).
Over the course of the book, Alice meets a man (who pursues her), makes friends and learns about the softer side of patient care. It's written in the third person, but with a no-nonense tone that matches how Alice's internal monologue must sound. There are a number of touching moments, the characters are intelligently drafted and some funny situations are found; I found it heart-warming and have enjoyed thinking back on it since I finished it last week.
14 people found this helpful
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on 27 December 2015
I have enjoyed several of Elinor Lipman's novels and am trying to work out why this one was not really one of them. There is wit and some great dialogue and a sort of off-beat ambience which can be so entertaining. But...maybe the Aspergerish heroine 's difficulty in making relationships, an interesting concept in itself, colours the sense of a lack of connecting with this reader. Her pursuer, the social-climbing fudge salesman is such an unenticing character and some of the other relationships just don't ring true, so that despite having an interest in Alice herself, I just wasn't absorbed enough by the whole of the story. Some fun comic moments though.
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on 1 July 2003
Elinor Lipman has excelled with this one. For her band of faithful readers this is the funniest and poignant so far.
The heroine Alice Thrift is a doctor in training and somewhat lacking in social skills and bedside manner. Two friends come to her rescue. The dialogue is pure comedy reflecting life. Ms Lipman's talent for capturing ordinary conversations is amazing.
I loved this book as I did Isobel's Bed.
7 people found this helpful
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on 20 July 2004
If you're over the age of, say, twenty, THE PURSUIT OF ALICE THRIFT probably won't tell you anything you haven't already learned in the demanding School of Relationships.
Alice Thrift, M.D., is a hapless first-year surgical resident at a Boston teaching hospital. Expected to work a zillion-hour week, she doesn't have a life outside her scrubs. She's the epitome of boring. Her only contact with the outside world is her platonic male roomy and friend, Leo, an extremely popular pediatric RN at the same institution. Alice doesn't have a boyfriend, much less a pet goldfish.
One day while rotating through Plastic Surgery, Alice is consulted by a forty-year old widower, Ray Russo, seeking advice about a nose job. After being talked out of it, Ray embarks on his romantic pursuit of Thrift. Russo is a fudge salesman. Or so he says. He's also extraordinarily glib, and, obviously to everyone but Alice, up to something.
The problem with THE PURSUIT OF ALICE THRIFT is threefold. The ending is revealed on page 6 when Thrift tells the reader that Ray is a "LIAR", and that they had a failed marriage. One only reads further in hope of learning the sordid details. Secondly, Alice is numbingly ordinary. Having that goldfish, or even a tabletop ant farm, might have made her more interesting. And her social interactions with more socially developed friends and colleagues are only marginally amusing. Finally, since this is a story about the poor decisions a person makes to escape the throes of loneliness, it shouldn't be revelation to any reasonably contemplative individual beyond adolescence. Indeed, on finishing this novel, the average reader should be able to state, "Yup. Been there; done that; will likely do it again."
THE PURSUIT OF ALICE THRIFT isn't a bad book, just decidedly so-so.
2 people found this helpful
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on 24 June 2006
Superb book, for a time I could recognise myself so much in Alice Thift that I even imagined wearing a white coat and becoming a doctor. This book is funny using every day natural situations and witt. I loved it!!
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on 27 February 2005
Funny little book! Very readable and we all know someone like Alice who is so surprised when someone takes an interest in them they get duped!
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