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The End of Alice

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  3,941 ratings  ·  499 reviews
From the 2013 Orange Prize-winning author of May We Be Forgiven…

Only a work of such searing, meticulously controlled brilliance could provoke such a wide range of visceral responses. Here is the incredible story of an imprisoned pedophile who is drawn into an erotically charged correspondence with a nineteen-year-old suburban coed. As the two reveal -- and revel
Paperback, 272 pages
Published February 18th 1997 by Scribner (first published 1996)
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Community Reviews

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i just realized my "greg gets three" shelf only has one. i am a failure.

greg told me to write a review for this book, and i started to think about it, and realized this is going to be one of those reviews that will reflect poorly upon me when my enthusiasm for the book is weighed up against the subject matter. so - a warning.

***it is an ungentle book. you can stop reading here if you are not into the rough stuff.***

basically, it is about a man in jail for being humbert humbert with a knife. his
Hunger For Knowledge
Speaking of controversial books, The End of Alice tells a story of the correspondence happening between a convicted male pedophile and a young female college student who is about to seduce a preteen boy.

The story held two protagonist but was told through one narrator; the convicted pedophile in prison. I did find this to be an interesting way of telling the story of two people as you were only able to get the male protagonists interpretation of her letters (and her actions) which could just as
I'll say one thing for A.M. Homes: She is one brave writer. "The End of Alice" stars an imprisoned pedophile who has become pen pals with a 19-year-old woman who is dabbling in a similar avocation with a boy who is at that in-between age where he wants to see a naked girl, but also keeps a collection of his own scabs for snacking on, aged to create different tastes.

The narrator takes the woman's words, visualizes the scenes, and gets curious and jealous. All the while, it's uncertain whether he
i don't really understand why this book has so many glowing reviews on this site. sure, homes has written this well (hence the second star),but... i just don't buy it. it seems to me that she just really, REALLY wanted to shock you out of your cozy, middle-class, suburban old navy socks with this one. she tried excruciatingly hard to crawl under your skin and blow your mind with the depravity of her imagination. well, i'll tell you what -it's just too obvious that that was her mission. i mean, t ...more
The narrator of this book is a convicted paedophile, serving a life sentence in prison. He starts to receive letters from a 19-year-old girl who believes she is developing a sexual predilection for young boys, and intends to act on this obsession, preying on a neighbour's 12-year-old son. The End of Alice is the story of both the narrator and the girl, but all of it is seen through the narrator's eyes. It is, in fact, difficult to distinguish between what the girl is acually telling the narrator ...more
Ok, I get Lolita. I get American Psycho (even think it might be a work of genius). I don't get this one. Yet another exploration of the mindset of a truly sick fuck. Sections of this book are just gross beyond belief. Ok, it's well described (but I can't even say the prose uplifts or illuminates or sheds understanding in any way -- nor does anything stick because it's a phrase that just had to be written). The content though -- if you're looking for something that sickens you to the stomach, thi ...more
Ruth Turner


I doff my hat to those readers who managed to finish this book! And I’m not talking about the storyline. It was the writing that did my head in.

The author uses words, and words, and more words, and even more words, to no avail. So many words that actually say very little.

Here the narrator is speaking of the young woman who is corresponding with him…

“In a case such as this where one has been looking so hard for so long, it is within the range of possibility that a buildup of ocular imaginings
Haunting, oftentimes disturbing, sometimes disgusting, and one of the best books I have ever read.
This book has come to be the book with the most profound impact on me. Not just because of the haunting disturbing content, but because the author managed to create a narrator's voice that felt as though he was a real person of flesh and bones speaking to you through the text on each page.
Reading the book I felt like I suddenly shrunk and was placed inside a small cage. And someone carried me aroun
I suppose I picked up this book because I felt something akin to the emotion of having been "double-dog-dared". I have read a few of A.M Homes short stories (the one that springs to mind is the one about the boy and the barbie doll), and enjoyed them immensely, and greatly admired her writing style and unusual subject matter. Like a lot of people (whether or not they admit it), I do enjoy being horrified, grossed out, disgusted and mildly traumatized by art. Books and movies that people hype as ...more
It's hard for me to give this book a proper review, mainly because it was hard for me to read. I'd like to say that the reason for this is because of the lurid and explicit detail the author goes into in telling the story of an incarcerated pedophile exchanging letters and depravities with a similarly minded young woman on the outside, and maybe that was part of it, certainly. However, more than anything else, aside from the graphic nature of the storyline and details therein, it's actually pret ...more
wow what do I say about this book../sighs..I hated it. I hated the subject matter and honestly didn't think Id ever be able to read it. I felt sick at every page turn but you see I admit I am one of those people that just has to push herself past any limit out there, just to say I did it and this well this was one heck of a push. If I am honest there a lot of this book I still don't understand and think the words were a little to deep for me like... (view spoiler) ...more
Talk about pushing the buck - Holmes has really done it with this one. I felt like a little kid sneaking around my parents' room reading something I shouldn't. My cheeks flushed red with each page I turned as I was almost ashamed to be sucked into such a dark twisted world that was as oddly fascinating as it was repulsive. And yet, I couldn't put it down until I was finished almost 5 hours later. I want to be clear this wasn't a smutty masturbatory collection of fantasies for child molesters. Ho ...more
Homes has earned her reputation as one of the leading literary voices of her generation, based on her exquisite style, her adventuresome structure, and her transgressive subject matter and characters. I first encountered her short story about two teen boys whose erotic experimentation goes off kilter, and I swear I couldn't believe it was written by a woman. Reviewers of THE END OF ALICE have concentrated on the shocking nature of the characters, a jailed pedophile and his penpal, a college girl ...more
Jeni Decker
I’m not gonna lie to you—there’s a whole lot of skeevy business going on in this book. A lot of skeevy business that amounts to plenty of reasons and excuses not to read it, but they all revolve around the subject matter.

WARNING: If anything around pedophilia is a hard ‘No’ as far as reading material, look away. Seriously, very far away.

This isn’t Nabokov’s Lolita. Well, it is – kind of. But those moments in the aforementioned book that merely made you (appropriately) uncomfortable, pale in co
So, I will start out by plainly stating THIS BOOK IS NOT FOR EVERYONE.

Are we clear on that?


That being said, there’s something about this book that I love, even while it disturbs and haunts me. I read The End of Alice about 15 years ago and then put it on my shelf and thought, I need to leave that alone for a while. I’ve only recommended it to one person, though I’ve spoken of it plenty. Her reaction was, that was a great book, please don’t give it to anyone else. Ever.

The End of Alice tread
Jul 21, 2010 Outi rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any willing to go there.
Absolutely devastating, mind-altering, horrifying and wonderful. A.M. Homes tells a story about convicted pedophile/child murderer whose mind seems to spin out of control during his correspondence with a 19-year-old girl trying to seduce a 12-year-old boy. The words and sentences of Homes are so eloquent, so beautiful and yet so utterly disgusting. I couldn't stop reading even though at one point I almost had trouble breathing. Very cleverly the reader is also a part of the story, made to wonder ...more
Despite what I've been saying in my status updates, I actually didn't mind this book too much. I mean, I like dark and twisted things, and I feel like this book really pushed the limits for me. But the fact that it unsettled me so much made me respect it and want to keep reading.

This book was vivid and confronting, and in some places it actually made me feel sick in the stomach. I wondered why I was torturing myself by continuing to read. But the fact of the matter is, I wanted to keep reading.
E’ il terzo libro che leggo di A.M.Homes ed è la terza volta che rimango deluso, nelle sue parole non sono mai riuscito a trovare quello che aspettavo: la quarta di copertina è sempre più ghiotta delle pagine scritte, eventuali recensioni, l’unica presentazione cui sono riuscito ad andare, tutto suscita interesse e attesa. Ma ogni volta, manca qualcosa e rimane il sapore d’amaro. In questo senso, ‘La fine di Alice’ è il peggiore dei tre che ho letto.
Non svelo nulla della tram
I think I expected more from this book than it could possibly deliver, and as such, I have to take some responsibility for my feelings about it. I asked around for people's recommendations about the most disturbing books they've ever read, and this one came up often.

I read reviews here and plot summaries elsewhere, and I think people overhyped it a good bit. The book is vulgar and unapologetic, yes, but I think the narrative suffers a good bit because of it. At some points I felt the author was
Dec 04, 2007 jessica rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: pedophiles and those who love CSI
the story of the teenage female protagonist was disturbing in a somewhat titillating way. but her correspondence with the child molester/murderer was not for me. partly because i failed to see a real connection between them beyond the fact that both had obsessions with sex with younger members of the opposite sex. Their stories just didn't line up, and having them in the same novel almost trivializes the traits that Homes seems to want to investigate or problematize. I would never accuse her of ...more
Lauren DeStefano
I originally read this several years ago after someone said it was the most disturbing thing they had ever read. I thought they were exaggerating, but I can now safely say this is the most disturbing thing I have ever read. Not only that, it made me reevaluate how I use the word "disturbing" overall. In fact, when someone calls a book disturbing because it has harsh language or some sexual overtones, I'm often tempted to say, "Go read The End of Alice," except I can't on good conscience send an ...more
I accidentally got a spot of pee on my library copy. It's fitting.

DNF at 52%.
Joe Krudys
Think of a sexual taboo. The first one that comes to your mind.

Yeah, that was in the book, but that was a pretty weak offering by you. Come on, use your imagination this time and think of something twice as forbidden.

OK, well yeah, that was in there too. But I want you to think of the worst of the worst and most repellant taboos you can think of. One that causes the bile to rise up and touch your taste buds.

There we go!! Good job. Now, if you're thoroughly and completely traumatized by this exe
I haven’t read a book this creepy, violent, or disturbing in a long time. A.M. Homes is, quite possibly, the most fearless writer I have ever read and The End of Alice is a book that is both horrifying and beautiful. Beautifully written, that is, because there isn’t a character in this novel that is particularly sympathetic.

The novel is narrated by an unnamed incarcerated pedophile. He begins a correspondence with a nineteen year old girl - also unnamed - who writes him the details of her growin
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
As indelicate as the subject matter is, this novel eloquently and convincingly captures the perverted and obsessive musings of a pedophile serving a 23-year sentence for raping and murdering a girl named Alice. Through a series of pen pal letters, the main character corresponds with a 19-year old girl from Scarsdale of all places, who just happens to have the same hankering for pedophilia as her jailed inmate. Here's where I deducted a star for implausibility—I didn't buy the relationship betwee ...more
Heather V
This had the makings of greatness, I think. The fact that it sickened me so, made my imagination fill in the (few) blanks left so deliberately here and there with the worst possible scenarios, could've landed it quite easily among the top qualifiers in the Most Disturbing Books Ever Written hall of fame.

It didn't, and it isn't.

Don't get me wrong: there is nothing pleasant about any part of this book, a story of an aging, imprisoned child rapist and murderer who begins corresponding with his fema
Anna Janelle
Supremely disturbing. SUPREMELY.

So, as a preface and disclaimer to this review:

1. Yes, it is extremely well written (note the five stars). The alliteration that the author employs makes the book read as a long piece of poetry written in prose. Really, in addition to the thematic similarities to Lolita, Homes manages to capture the cadence and voice of Nabokov’s Humbert Humbert as well. It is haunting. Chappy makes Humbert (squared) look like a model citizen with upstanding values, a real PTA typ
Christian Engler
There are so many criminal happenings in society that it almost seems inevitable that a book like The End of Alice would come into print; when murder and crimes against children dominate the national headlines, the common question that almost always seems to arise is, How could somebody do something like that? What does it take to be that evil? How does that evil manifest itself? And the national inquiry grows layer upon layer.

A.M. Homes tries to tackle those questions, but she addresses them fr
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question re: the ending 3 84 Sep 28, 2014 11:35AM  
Chaos Reading: DISCUSSION OPEN! - 2014 Group Read #1 - The End of Alice 59 138 Mar 06, 2014 05:42AM  
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A.M. Homes (first name Amy) is the author of the novels, This Book Will Save Your Life, Music For Torching, The End of Alice, In a Country of Mothers, and Jack, as well as the short-story collections, Things You Should Know and The Safety of Objects, the travel memoir, Los Angeles: People, Places and The Castle on the Hill, and the artist's book Appendix A: An Elaboration on the Novel the End of A ...more
More about A.M. Homes...
May We Be Forgiven This Book Will Save Your Life The Safety of Objects Music for Torching The Mistress's Daughter

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“I'm nothing you can catch now. I am black powder, I am singe, I am the bomb that bursts the night.” 9 likes
“Silly bug, fly on the wall, our first fight and how quickly we are over it. Of course I don't hate you, dearest, beloved, most cherished, I owe you everything.” 3 likes
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