American Lit

Alice Bliss by Laura Harrington

“We make our wishes and then light them all at once so no boat will be lonely,” 

When I picked this book from Poundland, I didn’t know quite what to expect. Perhaps a fluffy forgettable story that I could put down and walk away.

However, when I finished the book I felt so bereft, it completely blew me away. The story is presented from the point of view of Alice, whose father is missing in action in Iraq. Meanwhile, Alice and her family have to try and continue with their lives at home while facing the possibility that their father may not come home.

The characters are all fleshed out within the story so as to make them by no means perfect but despite this the characters are written to elucidate the concern of the reader when something bad happens to them or someone within the family or the story itself.

Of course at times the main protagonist came across as nothing more than a whiny teenager but in the same way the novel serves as a bildungsroman because of Alice Bliss’s transition from childhood to adulthood in lieu of personal loss and tragedy.

The family’s obsession with making things – bread, carpentry, long words, gardening etc also serves as a antithesis for the story’s inner conflict. I also loved that the story did not have a conventionally happy ending. I feel that would have been too unrealistic.
This book really surprised me with how much I enjoyed reading it. I hope there is a sequal because if there isn’t there certainly should be. I love exploring new authors (this isn’t really a new genre for me) and I want to always explore new authors and books in the hope that I can be pleasantly surprised once more.

MY RATING: **** / *****

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