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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

"A Town Like Alice"

Author: Nevil Shute

Publisher: Vintage International/Vintage Books

Published: Original Date 1950

ISBN: 978-0-307-47400-1

Paperback: 351 pages

FTC- I borrowed from a friend, but will be purchasing my own copy.

If you are looking for something wonderful and inspirational to read this Thanksgiving holiday, I have the book for you. I read this amazing book for book club this month, and I didn't want it to end. *Word of advice, don't read the back cover, it will pretty much give the whole story away*.

"A Town Like Alice" is the story of Jean Paget. She inherits a small fortune from her long lost uncle who has passed away. Jean's uncle's lawyer, Noel Strachan, tells Jean's story. During World War II when the Japanese take over Malaya, Jean is there working. She has lived there a few years, but lived in Malaya previously when she was younger, so she was familiar with cultures and can speak the language. When Jean is taken by Japanese officers, she is with a friend and her family. The men are taken away, the woman and children are forced to walk hundreds of miles over the course of many months, from village to village, because no one wanted them. Many get sick, and a good deal die. Jean is an amazing strength to these woman, and a tremendous help because she knows the language, and traditions of the people. With that, Jean could also communicate some with the Japanese officers. The other woman who had lived there years longer then her, never bothered.

Jean meets Joe Harman in one of towns and... well, you have to find out the rest. The part in Malaya is a great step in Jean's journey, but what does she want do with the rest of her life?

What I loved most about the book was, of course, Jean. She is an remarkable woman with so much strength and humor. Her reasoning, and why she wants to do what is does, is what I like most about her. Jean is also very humble. Her journey through Malaya makes her well-known, and she can't understand why. Jean also falls in love, and sticks to her standards. I also enjoyed the way the story is told. I liked the jump from Jean telling Noel her story, to him (in a way) telling us different pieces about her life too. Noel is in charge of her trust, so she writes to him now and then for money and advice. Also, keep in mind this story was written on the 50's, so in a couple scenes, things are said differently, and mean different things then they do know. The ending left me teary, I loved what Noel thought of Jean.

I give this book 5 stars of out 5. It truly is an awe-inspiring story, that is one my top favorite books.

Nevil Shute wrote many novels, this was the only that wasn't science fiction based. I also liked the author's note at the end.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

1 comment:

  1. I'll have to put this on my to read list. The only book I've read by Shute is "On the Beach" that delightfully (or not) telling of the end of the world by radiation poisoning after a nuclear war. Such a cheery topic. Gave me and my brother nightmares. Nice to know he can write something with a HEA.