The Grooming of Alice (#12)

Posted October 4, 2012 by Tara in Review /// 7 Comments

Thia is the last of the cheesy covers. These girls do NOT look 14.

In celebration of Banned Books Week, I’m posting a later review of an Alice book I read over the summer. The Alice series is one of the most banned series of all time, largely because of Naylor’s frank discussions of sexuality, religion, and other issues faced by Alice as she grows up (name an issue, Alice has faced it usually second-hand). You can read more about the Alice books at my Alice 101 post.

The Grooming of Alice
by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Purchased from Amazon Marketplace
[#34 in my 75 book challenge]

And Alice is finally getting ready for high school!


It’s the summer before ninth grade, and Alice and her friends have decided to get in shape by running every morning. Alice is also volunteering three days a week as a candy striper at the hospital with Gwen and enjoying her best summer yet. However, Elizabeth seems to be taking the exercise thing too far and doesn’t appear to be eating, Pamela’s relationship with her father is rocky after her mother walks out with the NordicTrack instructor, Alice realizes someone she knows is in the hospital, and Lester is dating a high-maintenance new lady. To top it all off, Alice’s dad is going to England for two weeks to visit Miss Summers (where will he be sleeping?!) and Alice wants to spend some time alone with Patrick.

Issues Tackled

Exercise, body image, anorexia, lying, the anatomically correct names for the parts of female genitalia, running away from home, death.


Lester, about Alice: “She just does that, Dad. Comes out with stuff that no civilized person would talk about in public. We’re raising a social ignoramus here.”

“Preadultry? Good grief, Elizabeth, does every sin have a prefix?”

FINAL GRADE:  B  I don’t think I remember reading this book, so it must have been one of the ones I didn’t read back in the day. I knew I’d missed some of them and read them all out of order, so it was good to finally read it. I get kind of annoyed with Alice taking tiny details and running with them, making up wild stories about what’s going on behind the scenes when she really know nothing about what going on. However, I think that’s typical for a thirteen-year-old (still at the age where the world revolves around them). Alice is starting to grow up, and I know she’s grow out of this phase. She’s already becoming more independent and mature.

Have you read any Alice books? (I asked this question last spring, but I’ll ask again because I know I have new readers)


Tara is a PhD student studying education. Her dissertation will be on digital book communities as public pedagogy (ask her about it!), though she often takes a break from all of that to read books about oppressive governments and sassy teenagers. In a former life, she was a middle school teacher and middle school librarian. In her future life, she's a professor of YA lit. In her free time, she drinks a lot of coffee while planning her next grand adventure (there's always something).

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7 responses to “The Grooming of Alice (#12)

    • Tara

      There’s a scene in it where the nurse teaches the girls the anatomically correct names for female genitalia, and tells them to spend time looking at their bodies/understanding how their vaginas work. That’s too much for some folks — especially because Alice is sometimes in elementary school libraries. Parents often seek to ban the whole series. It’s more that they’re getting challenged than banned.

  1. I haven’t actually read them…from what I’ve seen, it’s cool that she openly discusses issues. But I can imagine a younger child getting sucked farther into the series than would be good, especially an advanced reader.

  2. Haven’t read the books, but the little info I did get seems like the author is trying to get adults to back up and remember their curiosity at that age and get both “Gens” to understand together.

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