The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu Book Review (Non-Spoiler)

Rating: 5/5

Published by: Roaring Book Press

Publishing date: 2014

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction

 

“There is one thing I’ve learned about people: they don’t get that mean and nasty overnight. It’s not human nature. But if you give people time, eventually they’ll do the most heartbreaking stuff in the world.”

After thinking about it,  I don’t think there is a better quote to depict the synopsis of this book.

Teenagers don’t bully other teenagers because they’re evil. They do it because something triggered them; and even though their actions shouldn’t be justified by these factors, it can’t be denied that it happens.

Because we’re humans and  we make mistakes and because we’re not perfect at all.

This story shows how Alice came to be known as the biggest slut in town. How she lost all of her friends, social status and reputation. How, little by little she was alienated from society by people who liked her and used to be her friends.

Therefore, these same people that contributed to her situation are the ones that are narrating the story for us. They tell us how and why they did what they did. What led them to spread rumors, believe them and then shun her from their lives.

We can experience from these perspectives the triggers, the backstories, the anger, the sadness, the jealousy, the shame and the anxiousness. All of this emotions makes you see that they are human and stupid and afraid.

That being said, I found this book to be very refreshing, for it is told not from the victim’s perspective but from those who hurt her.

Moreover, the characters are three-dimensional and it was surprising how well developed and deep these cliché characters felt. They were flawed, gullible, insecure and stupid but they also had a conscience and were able to recognize that they were wrong at times.

On the other hand, something I found eerie in the story was how little to no help Alice received by the adults in this book. They didn’t seem to care at all about her, even though they were well aware of the rumors, the shunning and the bullying. They only joined in spreading the gossip and bad reputation and her mother was never around.

Additionally, one of the things that I noticed and profoundly agreed with, was the fact that these kids let themselves be guided by their anger and their fear; and by not wanting to admit responsibility and therefore by having the need to blame someone else for their mistakes.

These kids, much like the kids in my generation when I was in school, had no courage.

However, selfishness was the biggest issue for all of the characters. Something I related to, for I identified myself and people I know in some of the situations that occurred in this book.

We can see how little by little, harmless things such as one word or one laugh can be the start of something bigger. How things that for us are not such a big deal can change someone’s life and ruin it forever.

Overall, this book is very dark and powerful.

 I also think it’s very relevant for our society, since these life ruining gossips are very real and very constant, especially among teenagers and social media. Therefore, it is important recognizing the triggers, attitudes and events that lead to these types of situations and always have an open mind and give the target the benefit of the doubt, no mater what notions we have about the person.

After all, I devoured this book and highly recommend to anyone, even to people that don’t read the young adult genre.

Also, I found this book to be very similar to Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King which is one of my favorite books, and if you enjoyed this or the other you most likely will enjoy the one of the two that you haven’t read.

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