Reviewed by Katie Hayes for TeensReadToo.com
Born with the name Ilse, Alice Rene was six when the Nazis took over her hometown of Vienna, Austria.
Her Jewish family was forced to flee, and while many others, including some of her family members, weren't so lucky, Ilse and her parents and older brother eventually settle in Portland, Oregon.
From there, Alice documents her life in America: learning English, her struggles making friends at school, becoming an American citizen. She changes her name from Ilse to Alice and starts calling her parents "Mom" and "Dad" instead of "Mama" and "Papa."
As she gets older, Alice experiences her first romance and watches her older brother go through the pain of heartbreak. She also gains the courage to stand up to her overbearing father for the first time. When high school ends and she starts applying to college, Alice begins to plan ways to forge her own identity apart from her family.
This is an interesting memoir that reads more as a series of chronological anecdotes than a straightforward narrative. While the effects of the Holocaust are an inescapable part of the novel, the focus is more on Alice's experiences becoming American and establishing her own identity.
I would recommend BECOMING ALICE as an interesting coming-of-age memoir.