Alice the Brave by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor


Another fun Alice book, but not one of the more memorable ones in the series. Alice is secretly afraid of deep water, and is forced to confront this fear when she and her friends all spend the last month of summer at Mark Stedmeister’s pool.

For Alice and her friends, its a summer of guilty secrets. Alice is deeply embarrassed of her fear of water, Pamela is secretly planning on breaking up with Mark to date his best friend Brian, and — most memorably of all — Elizabeth steals her parent’s copy of Arabian Nights. This last transgression leaves them with a lot more questions than answers about sexuality, especially with regards to “Yemeni wrigglings” and “Abyssinian sobbings”.

After Alice overcomes her fear of water (in a single afternoon swimming lesson), she resolves not to let her fears control her life again. There’s a nice passage here where she realizes that if she lets this one fear change her life, it’ll be all the more easy to allow subsequent fears to change her in the future. Once you set the precedent of running away from your problems, Alice realizes, it’s even harder to go back.

– Patrick and Alice are back on, which is boring. I don’t remember Patrick being such a dud the first time I read these.


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