Alice Bliss by Laura Harrington

Alice BlissWhat is so tragic for families and loved ones of those who’ve fallen in war, Alice Bliss makes intimate and real for the rest of us. The novel centers around 15-year-old Alice, whose father’s National Guard unit is called to Iraq.

Soon her father, Matt, is deployed and his family struggles to move on without him. Alice and her father have been particularly close over the years — loving the same things and working together in his shop and on his construction jobs. She is especially affected by Matt’s absence and works to ensure that everything will be exactly as it’s always been upon his return.

It is not long however, before Alice and her family learn that Matt has been captured by the enemy, and then that he has been killed. Through Alice’s eyes, we are taken through a journey of what it means to have a family member sent off to war, to cling to desperate hope when he disappears, and to finally face the reality that he will never come home. Though a painful novel at times, there is much beauty, as the extended family and the town itself encircle the Bliss family with their love.

War takes an incredible toll, not just on those who serve, but on their families. Alice Bliss takes readers on this journey about the true price of war for every family that ends up paying it.

Pamela Dorman Books, Viking/Penguin; ISBN 978-0-67002-278-6; $25.95.
Alice Bliss: Reader's Guide

Return to Book Club Choices