Friday, 27 November 2015
Run Alice Run by Lynn Michell
review by Maryom
Alice Green has settled into a drab, middle-class existence far from the exciting life she'd envisaged as a teenager. Her marriage has deteriorated into silent co-existence, and her job in a run-down library is monotonous and undemanding. She feels invisible - who would remark on such a dull person making their way down the street, or out of a clothing store with a bag full of unpaid-for goods? For Alice craves excitement and thrills, wants to feel the blood pounding through her veins, and this is how she goes about it. It turns out though, that she's not as invisible as she thought for, returning home one day she's met by police waiting outside her door. As Alice is led away to the police station, her younger self appears before her, wanting to know how she got from teenager full of such promise to mousey housewife with nothing to look forward to .....
Run Alice Run is a look at life from the disappointing standpoint of middle age. Alice is caught in a mid-life crisis; her dreams have fallen by the wayside, her future looks bleak. Instead of going out and buying a fast car or taking up bungee jumping, Alice turns to shop-lifting for the thrill it brings; it's really though a plea for help.
Reaching her teenage years in the 1960s, Alice expected all the world to be open to her, but her parents are still stuck in the mindset that expects a girl to marry well and settle down with children. Despite her education, this has rubbed off on Alice more than she realises - and her life revolves around the men in her life, always putting them and their work first, above her own feelings or needs. She gradually slips into conforming with others' ideas, letting them shape her life. I'm not sure though how much I'd say this was down to the general perception of women at the time, and how much was due to Alice's personality - she does at times seem rather too placid and willing to put others before herself.
Even though at the end there's a hope that Alice may free herself from her dull life, it's still really due to someone else's actions, and I wondered if, sadly, it was too late for Alice to reinvent herself.
Maryom's review - 4 stars
Publisher - Inspired Quill