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The Pursuit of Alice Thrift

By Elinor Lipman

The Pursuit of Alice Thrift
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  • Hardcover: Jun 2003,
    288 pages.
    Paperback: Apr 2004,
    304 pages.

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Wallace from Unputdownables.net (01/23/11)

The Pursuit of Alice Thrift by Elinor Lipman
Type: Weekend Read: a book to curl up on the couch with

Rating: I’m Lovin’ It: Very entertaining!



Reasons to Read It:

You are a fan of Elinor Lipman (this will not disappoint)

You enjoy subtle humor

Fleshed out characters are meaningful to you

You’re looking for an original plotted novel to read



What I Thought:

Alice Thrift is the female equivalent to Sheldon Cooper, however Elinor Lipman has made her more human and less humorous. Not to say that this book isn’t full of humor, only that it’s subtle and not everyone will see it. In fact, it is quite funny and I recommend listening to it in the author’s careful, east coast accent to get the full effect. Once you get used to her (seemingly) monotone way of speaking you realize that it is actually quite perfect for the tone of the book and understand that no one could have done it better. Because, honestly, the tone of the reader can make or break the comedy involved in this work.

While interning in surgery at a Boston hospital, Alice Thrift meets Ray Russo when he comes in for a nose job. She has no idea how life changing this will be for her. This is not a Cinderella story, she does not turn from being a mousy, highly intellectual with social issues to a beautiful, gregarious woman just from meeting Russo. Rather, because of him, a series of events are set in motion that cause Alice to step out of her somewhat tight bubble of a world and take a second look at herself. Alice is not a person who is capable of changing in drastic ways, and I applaud Lipman for staying true to Alice’s character, yet the subtle change in Alice makes all the difference as she builds relationships; first with her roommate Leo, then with her neighbor Sylvie and eventually with her mother and strangers.

What happens with Ray will make you cringe, gag, and keep turning pages to see how Alice will react. Getting to know Alice’s family and her new friends will warm you and remind you that everyone’s family is a little nuts. Seeing the world through Alice’s eyes will charm you. If this were a movie it would be an Indie cult favorite, but it’s not a movie (at least not yet) so go grab the audio book and get to listening. I’ll wait right here to see what you think.
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