The Truth About Alice reminds me why I'm hesitant to dive into books with sensitive issues and why I end up reading them anyway. I can be a touchy person and reading about bullying has this ability to transform my feelings into a deep emotional state. I never experienced the kind of bullying the characters I read about go through nor was I ever a subject of derision and rumors and hate or intense blame, but I'm not impervious to the problem's full extent. This book reminds me how powerful and damaging
What sets this apart is Jennifer Mathieu's refreshing route to tell the story. It's told in point-of-views of four persons who each has his/her own motives which involves Alice. I won't go much into a further explanation of who they are, but when we interviewed Jennifer Mathieu back in June, I asked her to describe the characters in a single word and she thoughtfully provided them. She answered that Alice is a survivor, Brandon is entitled, Josh is repressed, Elaine is a queen, Kelsie is damaged, and Kurt is compassionate. These words perfectly typify each character.
I value this story for what it is and I understand the point it aspires to make but there are also issues that I couldn't overlook. For one, I didn't get confused with the switching of POV's but the indistinct perspectives bothered me at the beginning. I did get used to it and they became more discernible with time, but I wish each voice is more different and unique from each other. Aside from that, I was a little disappointed with Alice's character. I was hoping to get a glimpse of the confident and self-assured Alice that she was in the past but sadly, that part of her appeared to be already stripped away.
That said, I appreciate that the story isn't wrapped up neatly in a pretty little bow because it aims to represent reality the best way it can. I believe Jennifer Mathieu has written a kind of tale that readers (and not just this generation) can identify with.