The 28th and last novel in this essential series is addressed to fans who want to know what happens to Alice.
In almost 500 pages, Alice takes herself and her circle of childhood friends through college, marriages, child-rearing and beyond. As years fly by, traumatic events include an attempted date rape, a friend’s miscarriage and her teenage daughter being caught in a beery game of strip poker. These are buried beneath flurries of happy vacation memories, emotional high points and get-togethers with close friends at sad or (more often) joyful life occasions to laugh and reminisce. What emerges is a portrait of a settled, comfortable life centered on family and relationships, with, at best, only passing mentions of academic, intellectual or professional interests. Furthermore, Alice’s decades seem to pass in a timeless bubble—when, at age 60, she rereads a time-capsule letter to herself from seventh grade, for all the scene’s poignancy, the setting could still be 1993, when the letter’s original mention in Alice in April appeared. Alice’s aspiration to live with “passion, tenderness, and joy” is only fitfully reflected in this bland memoir, and readers with, for instance, social consciences or some curiosity about the universe may by dissatisfied by her circumscribed, agnostic viewpoint.
Still, as a steady, dependable guide through the perils of adolescence, Alice is unexcelled, and her legions of fans will be pleased to see her so well rewarded. (Fiction. 12-16, adult)