In a couple of past columns, I mentioned that I was looking forward to reading the last book in Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's "Alice" series. And on Tuesday, it finally came out. I started reading the series when I picked up one of the Alice books at the Goodwill. At the time, I didn't realize it was part of an ongoing series.
That particular book wasn't the beginning of the series either. So I read it, and then traced back to the beginning and started reading the chronicles of Alice McKinley's life. I can't remember if I read the books in order, but I know I have for the last few years.
The first book in the series is "The Agony of Alice," where she and her father and brother move to Silver Spring. She's in the sixth grade and tries to make new friends. She had lost her mother to leukemia when she was 5 years old. Alice makes friends with Pamela and Elizabeth and eventually starts "going out" with Patrick. During the series, Alice goes through many ups and downs of growing up, and Reynolds Naylor touches on various topics, including dating, relationships, families and God.
If you include the prequels, the series encompasses 28 books. Several years ago, I figured out how old I'll be when the 28th and final book comes out as the author puts out just one "Alice" book a year. I kept thinking "I hope I make it to 41" (not being morbid, but one can never know what's going to happen). I know I'm past the age group for the "Alice" books, but I am definitely not the only one out there who's over the age of 30 reading these books. They started out in 1985, so most of the readers are my age or younger. We've lived through the trials and tribulations of Alice and her friends and family. And it's now come down to the last book, which takes us from Alice's first year of college to age 60. It's a little more than 500 pages, so it doesn't go into great detail of 42 years of her life. I just knew that I wanted to get it on the day it came out, no matter what the price. And thanks to the advent of ebooks, I didn't have to go to the nearest Barnes and Noble to get the book. I bought an Amazon gift card and one-clicked "Now I'll Tell You Everything." I'm still to the point of Alice in her second year of college. There was one reader who must have pre-ordered the book for her ereader as she read the book and posted a review on the book the morning it came out.
Some people just have too much time on their hands, or maybe this particular person is a speed reader. So far, the reviews are saying that this last book is better than the previous three (I'll admit they haven't been as good as the books from years past).
I plan on taking my time in completing this book. And, well, I'll admit to reading spoilers in some of the Amazon reviews, so I know how most of Alice's life turns out (with the exception of maybe a couple of things). It's been a good long ride with the "Alice" books. Maybe someday down the line I'll reread them in order, but that's a project for the future.