Alice Bliss by Laura Harrington

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"Outside the back window Alice can see the outlines of the garden, some of the furrows visible under the snow, stretching away in long thin rows. She can't imagine doing the garden without her dad. It's his thing; she's always thought of herself as his assistant at best. She can't imagine doing anything without her dad and she starts to feel like she can't breathe. And then she looks at him. Just looks at him as he watches the fire with muffin crumbs on his lap.
'I'll write to you.'
'I know, sweetheart.'
'Every day.'"
--From Alice Bliss

When Alice Bliss learns that her father, Matt, is being deployed to Iraq, she's heartbroken. Alice idolizes her father, loves working beside him in their garden, accompanying him on the occasional roofing job, playing baseball. When he ships out, Alice is faced with finding a way to fill the emptiness he has left behind.

Matt will miss seeing his daughter blossom from a tomboy into a full-blown teenager. Alice will learn to drive, join the track team, go to her first dance, and fall in love, all while trying to be strong for her mother, Angie, and take care of her precocious little sister, Ellie. But the smell of Matt is starting to fade from his blue shirt that Alice wears everyday, and the phone calls are never long enough.

Alice Bliss is a profoundly moving coming-of-age novel about love and its many variations--the support of a small town looking after its own; love between an absent father and his daughter; the complicated love between an adolescent girl and her mother; and an exploration of new love with the boy-next-door. These characters' struggles amidst uncertain times echo our own, lending the novel an immediacy and poignancy that is both relevant and real. At once universal and very personal, Alice Bliss is a transforming story about those who are left at home during wartime, and a teenage girl bravely facing the future.

About Laura Harrington

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LAURA HARRINGTON is an award-winning playwright, lyricist and librettist. She teaches playwriting at MIT and lives in Gloucester, Massachusetts. This is her first novel. Visit and
Published January 1, 2011 by Pamela Dorman Books. 322 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, War. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Alice Bliss

Kirkus Reviews

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Salt-of-the-earth Matt Bliss considers it his moral obligation to serve his country, although he hates leaving behind his beloved, distraught wife Angie and his daughters: 8-year-old Ellie and 15-year-old Alice.

Jun 06 2011 | Read Full Review of Alice Bliss

Publishers Weekly

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Playwright and lyricist Harrington transforms her one-act musical Alice Unwrapped into a moving debut about loss and survival.

Mar 28 2011 | Read Full Review of Alice Bliss

Book Reporter

Alice Bliss is a typical teenager.

Aug 04 2011 | Read Full Review of Alice Bliss

New York Journal of Books

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Realistic in its portrayal of family dynamics, community life, and response to major life events, the story of Alice Bliss would be a helpful read for families whose loved one(s) are deployed.

Jun 02 2011 | Read Full Review of Alice Bliss

Fiction Writers Review

Earlier this summer, we looked at BookCrossing, a website that allows users to “catch” and “release” books around the world and track where their books have gone.

Oct 04 2011 | Read Full Review of Alice Bliss

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