C.G. Drews's Reviews > Alice and the Fly

Alice and the Fly by James  Rice
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really liked it
bookshelves: 4-star, contemporary, read-2015, young-adult, thriller-crime, mental-illness, ya-male-narrators

That was...incredible. It was marvellous. IT WAS...WHAT ARE WORDS ANYWAY? GAH. So I had no idea what to expect. The blurb is super vague, but promised obsessions and phobias, which I figured would mean mental illness and I so do want to read more of that because I like to learn about how different kinds of people view, and struggle, with the world. This book is also about schizophrenia. I wasn't exactly expecting it, but I figured it out a few chapters in. Also IT'S NOT NARRATED BY ALICE. Which through me. But I'm getting ahead of myself. LEMME BACK UP AND EXPLAIN.

So the book is narrated by Greg. He's super quiet, to the point where he never. says. anything. This is partly because he's always branded as "weird" and horribly bullied, and the kids at school call him "psycho". He also has a lisp. He also has a severely messed up family. Greg is an incredibly unreliable narrator, and that's one thing I LOVED about this book. We're so in his thought-process that it's easy to get caught up in his delusions. I so empathised with Greg. I totally felt like I was understanding him. But the delusions and obsessions were seriously freaky.

He's totally obsessed with this girl at school (hallo, ALICE). In fact, the entire book is "written to her", in a sort of letter form. (So it's "You smiled and I watched you" kind of deal. The second-person threw me a little bit, but I merged into it. I think there's always a risk with unconventional writing styles that they'll be too hard to mesh into...BUT I LOVE UNIQUENESS. I basically adore it. (I read a lot and get tired of everything sounding the same, okay?!) The book is written as Greg's stream-of-consciousness, to the point where, when he's having an "episode" it shows in the writing. He'll forget punctuation compltely for one chapter. And then they'll be a freaking-out-chapter where THE ENTIRE THING IS ONE SENTENCE. (!!) That is a mega-long sentence, okay?! An entire chapter as a sentence. But it just totally got me sucked into the story.

The story is also unfolding with all these hints that something TERRIBLE happened. There are these little police transcripts in between Greg's chapters. So a detective is interviewing the family (not Greg, though) and they keep referring to this horror that happened. So I'm sitting there absolutely writhing because WHAT HAPPENED?!! WHAT?!! TEEEEELL ME. It's told in the present and in the future and we, readers, get to wait until for the answers in the middle. and OH MY FREAKING GOSH. THAT IS ALL. OH MY GOSH.

Except, I do need to take a moment to be squinty because...eh. DO NOT OPEN THESE SPOILERS OR THE BOOK IS RUINED, OKAY?!! --> ending spoilers (view spoiler)

Basically this book is incredible and thrilling. I love unreliable narrators and there was this total tug of whathappenedtellmenow that kept me turning pages like a frantic fiend. I was totally choked up by the end. The delusions were written so convincingly I was believing Greg and simultaneously aching for him. Life is hard when you're different. I think the author captured this so so well. The entire book has a real thriller feel to find out what this horrible tragedy is. I COULD NOT STOP READING.

Do I recommend it? Heck yes. It reminded me a lot of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close in terms of style. MY HEART BREAKS FOR GREG AND ALICE AND THE DOG. Why are you even still here?! GO READ THIS BOOK.

And isn't that cover beautiful? Correct answer is: yes, it is.
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Reading Progress

January 22, 2015 – Shelved
January 22, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
April 19, 2015 – Started Reading
April 19, 2015 –
page 80
24.77% "THIS IS INCREDIBLE. And disturbing. And they keep alluding to something terrible but not explaining and I'm sooo curious I COULD EXPLODE."
April 20, 2015 – Shelved as: 4-star
April 20, 2015 – Shelved as: contemporary
April 20, 2015 – Shelved as: read-2015
April 20, 2015 – Shelved as: thriller-crime
April 20, 2015 – Shelved as: young-adult
April 20, 2015 – Finished Reading
May 18, 2015 – Shelved as: mental-illness
November 17, 2016 – Shelved as: ya-male-narrators

Comments Showing 1-9 of 9 (9 new)

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message 1: by Shai (new) - added it

Shai WOAH. I think I might HAVE to read this book. :O

message 2: by holly (new)

holly That sounds so good! I'll have to check it out.

Sarah Snell What a review! I was also confused by the ending but agree with everything you say! It was mind blowingly brilliant.

rachel ☾ I just finished it and loved it too, Cait! Thanks for writing such a great review that it made me want to read it! With the ending though: (view spoiler)

C.G. Drews @RacheL: Ohhh that does make sense. I kind of have forgotten a lot of this book and need a reread. xD (Although my ominously huge TBR is kinda preventing that.) BUT OMG THIS BOOK WAS AMAZING.

rachel ☾ @Cait - I cannot believe how much it flew under the radar. Mental health books were all the rage last year and I would have thought it would have gotten some attention... people are missing out! And ugh, the struggle for time to reread it strong. Damn TBR piles!

Angela C I just finished Alice and the Fly and am still shellshocked! That being said, I have a thought on the ending: (view spoiler)

C.G. Drews @Angela: Omg that makes sense. 0_0

message 9: by Amy (new) - rated it 2 stars

Amy Lou Unfortunately I just wasn’t impressed with this one? I found it really similar to The Perks of Being a Wallflower except with the added Stalking and Very Bad Thing which were both EUGH. I agree, I did actually really enjoy the writing and I was most definitely in his head (even when i didn’t want to be) but it felt very unfinished and not in a good way to me.

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