Read it in Twenty-Four Hours


Thank you for indulging me by reading this email. I’m sure you get many fan emails and none are terribly original, but I have to try. My name is Stefanie Kahanov, and I grew up in Montgomery County, MD (Olney, to be specific). My aunt first gave me the Alice books when I began middle school and I was very quickly hooked. I followed the series all the way through high school, scouring library shelves and Borders at White Flint for the latest books in the series. I loved that not only could I identify with the main character and plot lines, but also the area in which it took place.

Well beyond your target demographic, I discovered that you had written the final installment in the Alice series. Naturally, as a devoted reader, I read the final book in under 24 hours and finished it this morning a bit after midnight. I need to thank you. I was a healthy combination of Alice and Elizabeth (growing up and even now), and I need to thank you for making them complex and realistic while they aged. Giving them dimensions and purpose is the best gift I have received as a reader in 2015. Sad as I am to see the series end, I am grateful for the foray into their adulthood, not simply a “happily ever after” at marriage.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for the gift of these characters, their triumphs and trials, loves, losses, and most of all their companionship when I had none. I now work as a speech pathologist in the Montgomery County School System, and it’s been a while since I opened that first Alice book, which I recommend to my students very frequently. Thank you for showing that there’s even love for a goody-two-shows like Elizabeth, like me, in the word. That there is power in reason and practicality, like Alice. That there is magic in spontaneity, like Pamela. Thank you for my book-bound childhood friends.

Phyllis replied:

What a lovely New Year’s gift your email was–to know that the books were your companion.  And I was delighted to hear that you are a speech pathologist in Montgomery  County Schools.  My husband was a speech pathologist at Walter  Reed Hospital in D.C., then at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, and I’ve just had published a book, “Going Where It’s Dark,” that concerns both a boy who stutters and a speech pathologist in the plot. (Plus cave exploring and more).   I’m so happy that you can identify with all the Alice characters in  some way.  Wishing you a Happy New Year!

Posted on: January 4, 2016


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