Original Books

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Monday, March 1, 2010

Finding Alice by Melody Carlson

Alice is an average college student trying to live a sane life outside the bubble of her mother's strict and judgemental church. But she keeps seeing visions, and she soon believes that God has given her a Golden Key. She also knows a person named Amelia who no one else seems to be able to see. Her mother and her mother's church "friends" come and try to cast the demons out of her, but they end up putting her in a mental institution. But Alice miraculously escapes with the help of Amelia and embarks for life on the streets with the other mental cases. Her fascination for Alice in Wonderland has gone to her head as she imagines people as the characters in the book. As she descends deeper and deeper into schizophrenia, will anyone ever be able to find Alice?

Melody clearly knows what she's doing with the plot setup and surroundings. The journey through the life of a schizophrenic is original and intriguing if not enlightening. Melody also brings up several interesting points about the cure for schizophrenia and how the medical field is not treating it properly. Melody did good research on causes and cures of schizophrenia and found some solutions I agree with. I do believe the medical field is too eager to prescribe drugs for everyone. Schizophrenics are not made to sit in a white room and stare at the wall like a vegetable while people pump them full of drugs. God created all people for a purpose. I agree with these facts wholeheartedly, but one must not get caught up in the surroundings. All of these original settings only mask a typical plot that could have been easily fixed.

For starters, the characters lack personality, yet they are all imperfect. Melody has been faithful to eliminate all perfect characters from her character department. All of her characters are down to earth except for their lack of personalities.

Melody obviously got so caught up in the research that she forgot to write a better plot. She resorted to the typical, very simple, girl-meets-boy plot. The allusions to Alice in Wonderland add an interesting touch, but when broken down, it's very simplistic. Melody could have made this book Elite with a better plot.

Nevertheless, Carlson knows how to create realistic situations based on imperfect characters. This will always be to her advantage. Many things can be learned from Finding Alice, but how to write a plot is not one of them.

3 stars

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