Alice-by-accident ISBN: 9780007143870
Published by Collins, 2003
Alice is a child who has had to deal with many adult problems in her 10 years. Her single mother, who had a dysfunctional childhood herself, is loving but very busy with learning to be, and finally becoming, a solicitor. Ambitious and single-minded, she does not get along with Gene, Alice's paternal grandmother, who is the other most important person in Alice's life - another stroppy and opinionated lady. Alice is often torn between the two of them and loves them both. Through essays written for school and Alice's own private diary, the story develops, and we learn that Gene is concerned that Alice's mum will report her son to the authorities for non-payment of maintenance. Alice learns that her father, whom she has never met, did not want her to be born at all. There is a resolution of sorts, but one realises that life and family relationships are never going to be easy for the spunky little girl. It sounds a grim story, but Alice is full of a mature wisdom (in spite of her spelling!) that makes her a lovable and funny character. An excellent and only-too-believable read.