In her new novel, “Alice Bliss: A Novel,” rookie author Laura Harrington writes a heart-wrenching story that seems anything but amateur. The story is told through the eyes of fourteen-year-old Alice, a girl who is at odds with her mother, annoyed by her sister and devoted to her father, Matt.
When Matt’s Army Reserve Unit is activated for duty in Iraq, Alice is devastated, holding onto the memories she has by wearing his unwashed shirt for weeks. Once her father is gone, the weight of single-motherhood is too hard for Alice’s mother to handle, and Alice is left responsible for filling the empty space of a mother while also trying to balance her life as a teenager.
Although the book starts off as a piece of sorrow, the growing and prominent emotion of the novel is love– unconditional love between a deployed father and his daughter; complicated love between a teenager and her mother and an exposure of new love with the boy-next-door.
Harrington’s novel also makes a subtle yet powerful statement against the war. There are thousands of American kids like Alice facing their teenage years with a parent gone at war.
Her story is harrowing and heartbreaking, without disguising the truth. This novel is truly one that will transfix you from reality and allow readers to see through the eyes of Alice. It may rip your heart out, like it did mine, but the message and maturity gained is truly priceless.