Alice and the Fly- James Rice

A YA best seller……

I’ve always enjoyed young adult books despite not often picking them up to read. I’ve always found they tackle real issues prevalent to the daily struggles of so many teenagers in a way that is accessible- without the extra words and gumpf! I chose this from the library whilst finding books for my little boy. It looked interesting and as if I might learn something from between the pages. It is James Rice’s debut novel and he didn’t disappoint. I’m not sure if it is a best seller, but if it’s not it should be!

I was immediately interested. I always am when it comes to issues for children because it might in some way help me to understand, even just a little. I didn’t read the blurb (because Ialice and the fly don’t) so I had to figure out what his difficulties were. The main character Greg lives with his Mum, Dad and Sister, Sarah. It’s not a happy family. Each member has their own life problems that they are tackling, and although each are aware and care deeply for Greg, he is swept under the carpet and left to fend for himself with regard to what is going on inside his head. Not only does Greg have schizophrenia, but he is also very socially awkward and finds school and socialising a really challenging part of life, especially when his hallucinations rear their ugly head- literally! With the guidance of his English teacher- who also has life problems- it is suggested to Greg that he keeps a journal, and it is through this journal that we learn the inner workings of this vulnerable, thoughtful, sweet but misunderstood teenager. It all goes wrong for Greg but not through his own intentional wanting and the book ends without much resolve for the family. Although the read learns the truth- his family don’t and you’re left wondering whether they ever will; whether this poor, poor young la
d will ever have anybody who will understand him.

I just thought this book was fascinating. I don’t know much about schizophrenia at all. I’m only aware that it can manifest itself in a split personality or hallucinations, but of course there are other repercussions, self-confidence, self-esteem and social belonging must be so present as it was for Greg. The uncertainty of not knowing if/when he may see them and know the everything that follows afterwards. It seemed, in the book, that Greg coped really well considering his circumstances but I just wanted to take him home and help him! It was a really easy read and to me a book is very good when I don’t take any notice of how many pages I have read.

I would highly recommend this book to both young adults and adults. It is a really insightful read that won’t take you long to finish.



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