Closure is something that we often seek to come to terms with the end of something. Often it helps us resolve issues, so we can move on with our lives without dwelling too much on the past. Yet once in a while the time comes that closure is no longer necessary. It’s way past overdue and no longer serves the purpose for which it is meant to exist. That is how I feel with Now I’ll Tell You Everything. I thought it’d be nice to know how things turn out for Alice. To some extent, it was nice but for the most part, I just wanted to slam the book shut and be done with it.
Alice McKinley is going to college! And everything, from her room to her classes to her friends, is about to change. Stoically, nervously, Alice puts her best foot forward…and steps into the rest of her life.
Just how crazy will her college life get? Will Alice’s dream of becoming a psychologist come true? Are she and her BFFs destined to remain BFFs? And with so many miles between them, will Alice and Patrick stay together…or is there a hot, mysterious stranger in her future? As Alice well knows, life isn’t always so predictable, and there are more than a few curveballs waiting to be thrown her way.
This is it. The grand finale. You’ve loved her, you’ve learned with her, you’ve watched her grow up through twenty-eight books. And now everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Alice McKinley will be revealed!
See, packing decades into a single book when the previous books only dealt with one year or even less each made for a very cumbersome read. The humour I so fondly remembered from the earlier books was completely lost in Now I’ll Tell You Everything. There were a couple of amusing moments but they only lasted half a page or a page at most. There was no space to allow any one moment to breathe. It felt constricting reading the book right from the first 50 pages, which made me groan, knowing I had close to 500 more pages to go.
Nonetheless, I laboured on because I kept up with Alice all these years since I first picked up my first book in 6th grade. Whenever a new book in the series was published, I’d look out for it at the library. Since this book was the last, I figured I might as well finish it. Altogether, I’d say, maybe 50 to 60 pages were worth reading. The rest of the book could hardly hold my interest.
Those who grew up with the series might read this last book for the sake of it but those who’ve never picked up an Alice book before, this is not the place to start. Better to go back to the earlier books, even if they feel dated since they’re set in the 90s. Now I’ll Tell You Everything came across more like an anthology of the rest of Alice’s life. Each chapter came across as the plan or summary for a fully-fledged book, so that is what Now I’ll Tell You Everything was to me: a highly condensed summary of books that’ll never be written.
I would’ve preferred if the bulk of the book would’ve focused on Alice’s college years, maybe a couple of years until after graduation when her career path and love life have been sorted out. The rest could’ve been left to fans’ imaginations. I think cutting away the second half of the book would’ve given more space for character development, and could’ve better shown how Alice matured. After all, the previous books were about her growing up. Being actually grown up could’ve been left in an epilogue of sorts.