The first book chronicling the sometimes agonizing life of Alice McKinley came out in 1985. She was in the 6th grade, she was in a new town, and, as we read The Agony of Alice, we met a character who unapologetically admitted exactly what was important in life: boys, and doing everything humanly possible to avoid life-threatening embarrassment. The latest Alice novel, Alice on Board, came out last month, and brings the series up to 24 titles. Alice has graduated high school, which makes us feel incredibly old and incredibly grateful, because there was that time in 7th grade, and that other time sophomore year, and possibly that time last month when we really needed Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's wisdom. If you haven't read the Alice series, here's some advice we've picked up from the series:
Don't Bring Your New Bra To The Park
It might seem like a good idea to show your friends your new bra's amazing, laws of physics defying properties, but it's not. Boys will come and boys will mock.
Don't Wait To Go To The Bathroom
There's an incident with rushing to the bathroom and tripping down the stairs and a need for a change of jeans...
Find Someone Who Will Love You Even If You Throw Up On Them
When Alice witnesses her step-mother-to-be puke all over the airport floor as her family comes to greet her and her dad lovingly rushes to her aid without missing a beat, Alice decides this is the test of true love. It's not a bad benchmark.
Disappointments Can Lead To Better Things
6th grade Alice has her eyes on an ancient globe her beloved teacher is rumored to be giving away at the end of the year. She's crushed when her bestie gets the creaking sphere, then shocked when her teacher gives her a ring passed down from mother to daughter. Shiny jewelry beats aging geography.
Older Doesn't Automatically Mean Smarter
Alice and company are constantly making life decisions based on the advice of a friend's older cousin, or a neighbor in the next grade up. And some of the advice is really terrible. When seeking counsel, intelligence is a better qualifier than birth date.
Everything is Going to Be Okay
Looking at a shelf of Alice books organized from middle school to college bound can be incredibly calming, because you realize that with every book came a new set of problems, and Alice lived through all of them. If you could go back in time and tell your sixth grade self no one will be remember the unfortunate skirt-tucked into underwear incident you probably wouldn't believe it. But perspective should make what went down yesterday at Starbucks with the hot guy and your apparently really hot coffee seem more bearable.
What's the best advice you found in the Alice Books?