The Grooming of Alice

The Grooming of Alice

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The Most Exciting Summer

That's what Pamela says about the summer before ninth grade, and she, Alice, and Elizabeth are determined to make the most of it. All three girls are getting into shape for the new school year by jogging three miles a day and cutting down on junk food, and Alice is enjoying her volunteer job at the local hospital.

But things keep happening that Alice hadn't counted on. Her satisfaction with her job is marred by an unexpected sorrow. Her attempt to be a loyal friend to Pamela gets her in trouble with her father and brother, big time. And both she and Pamela are afraid that Elizabeth may be taking her efforts to lose weight too seriously. Could the most exciting summer of their lives be a little too exciting?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780689846182
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication date: 10/01/2001
Series: Alice Series , #12
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 4.18(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile: 740L (what's this?)
Age Range: 10 - 14 Years

About the Author

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor has written more than 135 books, including the Newbery Award–winning Shiloh and its sequels, the Alice series, Roxie and the Hooligans, and Roxie and the Hooligans at Buzzard’s Roost. She lives in Gaithersburg, Maryland. To hear from Phyllis and find out more about Alice, visit

Read an Excerpt

From Chapter One: The Program

"It's going to be one of the most exciting summers of our lives," Pamela used to tell Elizabeth and me whenever we thought about the summer between eighth and ninth grades. "All the stupid things we've ever done will be behind us, and all the wonderful stuff will be waiting to happen."

But now, on the first day of vacation, as the three of us stood in our bathing suits in front of the full-length mirror in Elizabeth's bedroom, we realized that the same bodies were going into high school along with us, the same faults, the same personalities, some of the same problems we'd had before.

Elizabeth, with her long dark hair and lashes, her gorgeous skin, broke the silence first. "I'm fat!" she said in dismay. "Look at me!"

We looked. She was the same beautiful Elizabeth she'd always been, except that her face and arms were slightly rounder, but she was pointing to her thighs, which puffed out just a little below her suit.

"Saddlebags! I have saddlebag thighs!" she cried. "My legs look like jodhpurs!"

They didn't, of course, but before I could say a word, I heard murmurs on the other side of me coming from Pamela. Pamela is pretty, too, though not as drop-dead beautiful as Elizabeth. She's naturally blond, and wears her hair in a short feather-cut, like Peter Pan. It always seemed to me as though Pamela Jones had the perfect figure, but it didn't seem that way to Pamela.

"I have absolutely no definition," she observed.

"Huh?" I said. Were these girls nuts?

"My arms and legs are like pudding! One part looks the same as the rest."

"Pamela, anyone can tell your arm from your leg," I told her.

"But youcan't tell what's fat and what's muscle!"

I couldn't believe what I was hearing. "People just want to look at you, Pamela. They don't want to dissect you!"

Pamela, however, meant business. "Well, I certainly need to do some toning," she said.

"And I want to lose this fat," said Elizabeth. "What do you want to change, Alice?"

Friends, I thought. But I just took a good, long look at myself in the mirror and thought about it. I've got the same color hair as my mom had, they tell me -- strawberry blond. Mom died when I was small, and I don't remember much about her, but they say she was tall and liked to sing. I'm more on the short side, and can't even carry a tune. I'm not fat, but I'm not thin. I'm more plain than I am pretty, but I'm not ugly. Miss Average, that's me.

"I don't know," I said finally. "What do you guys think I should change?"

You should never ask anyone that. You're just begging for worries you never had before.

"Well, if you want an honest opinion, your waist is a little thick, Alice," said Elizabeth. One thing about Elizabeth, she's loyal to a fault. You ask her to tell you something, she tells.

"And your legs are too straight," said Pamela. "I mean, you don't have to be ashamed of them or anything, but your calves hardly have any curve."

"Your breasts could be a little fuller," said Elizabeth. "Of course, they're bigger than mine...."

"And your arms have no definition at all," Pamela finished.

It's really weird, you know? Five minutes before, I had put on my bathing suit, ready to go over to Mark Stedmeister's pool with the gang, feeling really good about myself and my friends, and suddenly I was disintegrating before my very eyes! I had this new royal blue bathing suit that looked great with my hair, and now nothing looked right.

"There's only one solution," said Pamela. "We've got to start an exercise program. We've got exactly two and a half months to get ourselves in shape before school begins. Because how ever you look when you start ninth grade, that's how people will think of you for the next four years."

Now that was a sobering thought. I don't know where Pamela comes up with stuff like this, but she's got a cousin in New Jersey who knows all about what they think in New York, so we learn a lot from her. What we don't get from Pamela's cousin, I get from my cousin Carol in Chicago, who's two years older than Lester, my brother, and used to be married to a sailor.

I'd never seen Pamela quite so gung ho as she was now.

"If we get up at seven each morning for the next ten weeks...," she began.

"Seven!" I wailed.

"Well, eight, maybe. And we jog for three miles..."

"In public?" Elizabeth gasped.

We stared. One reason we like Elizabeth is that her whole world sort of spins on a different axis.

"I suppose we could jog nine hundred times around your room, if you'd prefer," Pamela said dryly. "But if we spend the next ten weeks jogging every morning with ankle weights, and do push-ups, we might look reasonably good by the time we start high school. And no ice cream. No chips. No Oreos or anything like that."

I looked first at Pamela and then at Elizabeth. No ice cream, no chips, and jogging three miles with ankle weights? This was a summer?

Elizabeth shook her head. "I don't want anyone to see me sweat," she declared.

"If you jog, you're going to sweat, Elizabeth!" Pamela told her. "You have to sweat! You're supposed to sweat! If you don't sweat, the fat will stay right there, and you'll keep those saddlebag thighs forever."

I looked at Elizabeth's face and wished Pamela hadn't said that. It's one thing to talk about saddlebags yourself, but something else to hear your friends say it.

Copyright © 2000 by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Table of Contents


One: The Program

Two: The Long Good-bye

Three: Volunteer

Four: Quiz

Five: Saving Lester

Six: Hiding Pamela

Seven: Blowup

Eight: A Heated Discussion

Nine: Grounded

Ten: Blue Monday

Eleven: For Girls Only

Twelve: The Next Good-bye

Thirteen: Marilyn

Fourteen: The Traveler Returns

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Grooming of Alice 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
59Square on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have always loved the Alice books, and this one is no exception. She does such a terrific job with the feelings of teenage girls. In this book, set in the summer before the girls go to high school, Alice is volunteering at a hospital, and she and her friends are trying to get in shape. Alice¿s friend Elizabeth takes this a little too far, and teeters on the edge of anorexia ¿ something that Elizabeth¿s mom talks about with Alice. Alice also talks to her older brother about sex, and he is frank and honest with her, something that I really appreciate in a book for teenage girls. I think it is not that often that you read something that educates without preaching. The girls also go to a seminar where the range of female bodies is discussed ¿ again, without too much ulterior motive. But what I think Naylor gets best is Alice¿s life ¿ how she is always changing and questioning life and what to do. It really hits a spot with me, and I hope it does with girls as well. I will definitely keep reading in this series ¿ I love Alice and her experiences.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is definitely the best alice book so far, i have read them all except achingly alice This book had a lot of important events iin alices life It was funny and and overall a great book and series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a big reader soooo i've read a lot of books.......and this is like the best series ever!! I totally love it....
Heidi_G More than 1 year ago
It's the summer between eighth and ninth grades and Alice, Elizabeth, and Pamela plan to hang out with their friends, work a few hours a week, and get in shape. Their early-morning runs and vows to eat healthier foods takes a dramatic turn when Elizabeth begins to look like skin and bones. Alice experiences the loss of her favorite teacher and Pamela has problems living with her dad. The three girls attend a workshop for girls only in which body issues are discussed, including weight and sexuality. Anatomically correct terms are used to describe both male and female body parts which might make preteen readers squirm, but they are right on target for 13-year-olds. Recommended for grades 7+. Thanks to Puget Sound Council for the review copy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was probably one of my favorite alice books. It was very iteresting and hard to put down. I thought that it was extremely well written. It went through a lot of ups and downs in Alices life but It was very good.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This has to be one of the best Alice books. Why? Well, one of young girls' problems, from preteens to teens to grown women, is body image. Some people have different ideas of what beauty is - of what a fit or perfect body looks like. And it just so happens that Alice and her friends, the summer before ninth grade, are facing this problem. The vow Alice takes along with her friends to not eat junk food and exercise are short-lived for her. Pamela is a bit more dedicated. Elizabeth is frighteningly dedicated due to a remark made by Justin Collier, a boy she likes. Instead of taking it as a joke, she allows it to quickly crush her esteem, and, I think, her sanity as well. Body image isn't the only issue here. Pamela and her family are suffering because of her mother running away with a Nordic Track instructor. Elizabeth is appearing ghastly thin. The three girls go to a seminar and come to realize that what makes us all so beautiful is our differences and that we are all 'normal!' Great book - I'd recommend it for ages 12 and up.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is by far one of the best books. Every time I hear one is coming out I check the internet every day to see when!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is possibly the best Alice book yet. Perfect for a girl any age, this fabulously fantasuper-de-duper book takes you through hilarious times with Alice and her friends. Check out the other great Alice books too!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I used to LOVE the books in the Alice series, but after reading Alice on the Outside, I didn't really like them any more. I thought it was gross and totally uncalled for. I didn't really think I would read one again, but the other day at the library, I picked it up and started reading it to see if it was any good. I finished it in about three hours I liked it so much...but I think I like the old ones more.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this was one of the best alice books i have read.i remember the day i got my first alice book i was looking in the bookstore and picked up outrageously alice it was really good but this one was the best.I think phyllis should write more and more alice books cause they are the best books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is sooo good! i love how funny and realistic it is! you should definatly read this!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow, this is the coolest book indeed. How else to illustrate life's down side than this great book by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. If you're looking for a good book, than this is the place to start!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a good book. I think Phyllis should write more books like this one, because this book was the longest one, and the others are too short!! I hate the way there's a new one every YEAR! and paperbacks dont come out until half a year AFTER the book was out in hardback! it sucks! But all the Alice books are THE BEST!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this was such an awsome book!!! this awthor is sooooo good!!! she should wirte more alice books
Guest More than 1 year ago
Will it ever come out in paperback so i can buy it!?!?
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of naylor best books for teenagers. i personally loved it