Forum Navigation: Forum Index » Books and Reading » Reviews and Discussions about Specific Books and Series » Non-Fiction Books

Want FREE books and FREE Amazon gift cards?

Each day we announce via email a book that is either FREE or on a temporary sale at a great discount price. These are not your average free books. These are incredible insider deals on well-rated books. is where tomorrow's bestsellers are born. We also give away over $1,000 per month of free Amazon gift cards in free daily giveaways, exclusively to those signed up to these announcements! Hurry, sign up free now:

Sorry, this proves you are human.

Official Review: Alice Had a Palace

Please use this sub-forum to discuss any non-fiction books such as autobiographies or political commentary books.

Official Review: Alice Had a Palace

Post Number:#1 by bluegreenmarina
» 24 Jul 2017, 16:39

[Following is an official review of "Alice Had a Palace" by Brenda Rae Schoolcraft.]

Book Cover
2 out of 4 stars
Review by bluegreenmarina
Share This Review

Alice Had a Palace by Brenda Rae Schoolcraft tells the story of the life of Alice, the author’s mother. It is a true story of survival through abuse and despair, written over a period of 10 years, with names changed for anonymity. Brenda began writing the story when Alice was 80 years old, putting together stories told by her parents as well as other family members.

We meet Alice at 6 years old as she is starting school. Having recently lost her sister Pearl, she is the only remaining girl in the family, and the target of her abusive mother’s cruelty. Though her brothers and father do their best to love and protect her, they are no match for the domineering mother, and Alice suffers horrible mistreatment at her hands. Nonetheless, she learns to cope and survive by retreating into her imagination, a fantasy of a palace where she is a princess.

As Alice grows older, her beloved father dies, and she is forced to enter the workforce to help put food on the table. By venturing out into the world, she is exposed to lifestyles outside of the harsh and grim realities of her home life. This increases her drive to get out of her home as early as possible, and get away from her vicious mother. She meets several pseudo-maternal figures as she approaches adolescence, and eventually gains enough freedom to establish a life outside of home.

Throughout her tumultuous childhood, Alice relies on her faith to survive the day-to-day. However, she is still starved for love and affection. When she meets the charismatic Elric (singer of a local band), it takes little for her to be swept off her feet. Eventually, Elric coerces her into running away with him, and they get married. Alice realizes almost immediately what a horrible mistake she has made, but his strong personality makes it impossible to leave.

The second half of the book focuses primarily on Elric Schoolcraft – the author’s father. We are lead through the story of his childhood and early teen years, and witness his gradually escalating antisocial behavior. What starts out as common adolescent shenanigans turns into something much darker: alcohol abuse, violence, and crime. Unfortunately these things continue to escalate as Elric starts his life with Alice, and do not end even after their first child Brenda is born.

This is a dark book full of graphic scenes of physical and sexual assault, repetitive accounts of abuse, and rampant profanity. In addition to the maturity level of the content, readers should be aware that the story is long and bleak, rarely lightened by positive things. Though faith and hope do play a role here, the overall impression is still traumatic.

I had a lot of issues with the way the book was written. Throughout the entirety of the story, grammar and punctuation errors were abundant and distracting. Random letters were capitalized, quotation marks were used incorrectly, the tenses changed repeatedly (sometimes mid-sentence), and some words were missing or switched around. Certain parts of the book were barely coherent, such as this sentence describing a scene immediately after Elric’s and Alice’s wedding: “No sign of the cans that had told the world, or the just married, in the pretty flowers, the plastic flowers strewn on the lawn.”

Even more distracting than the grammatical errors was the general sloppiness of the detail within the story. For example, we meet a character named Suzie who makes a point of introducing herself as “Suzie with a z” and yet throughout the text her name is alternately spelled Susie/Suzie – sometimes switching back and forth from one sentence to the next! Similarly, we are introduced to the Lloyd Gang, who are later in the book referred to as the Boyd Gang. There are also random passages that are formatted differently than the rest of the book, as if they were added in during a later round of editing.

The only positive aspect of this story for me was its undercurrent of authenticity. Perhaps because the story was so tragic and traumatizing, it did not seem like fiction… almost as if no one would invent a story like that just for the sake of it. It seemed like a story that had a life of its own - a story that needed to be told, regardless of whether anyone would want to read it. Despite the inconsistent writing style, I could feel the reality of the emotion behind the words, and it made me want to continue reading. I sympathized with the characters involved, and believed in the truth of their world, so in this regard the author was effective.

I believe that this book needs several rounds of very heavy editing to simplify its message, clean up its style, and remove some of the many repetitive passages. I rate this book 2 out of 4 stars because its emotional impact is significant and memorable, despite the distraction afforded by its sloppy writing style. Readers who may enjoy this work are those who are interested in child welfare, and true stories of people overcoming abuse and trauma. As mentioned above, readers should be prepared for heavy subjects and graphic descriptions of violence, sometimes involving young children.

Alice Had a Palace
View: on Bookshelves

Like bluegreenmarina's review? Post a comment saying so!
bluegreenmarina's Latest Review: "Life in a Box" by JoDee Neathery
User avatar
Posts: 200
Joined: 26 Oct 2016, 14:43
Favorite Book: The Count of Monte Cristo
Currently Reading: Selected Stories
Bookshelf Size: 1138 books

View Reviewer Page
2017 Reading Goal: 30 Books
Goal Completion: 120%

Did you know?
Once you join the forums and log in you will get to enjoy a very ad-reduced experience. It's easy and completely free!

Re: Official Review: Alice Had a Palace

Post Number:#2 by admin1980
» 04 Aug 2017, 00:31

this store is emotional and i love it .it teachers us on child labour so far as the next mother treat her unfairly
User avatar
Posts: 1
Joined: 02 Aug 2017, 02:07
Bookshelf Size: 0 books
2017 Reading Goal: 0 Books

Re: Official Review: Alice Had a Palace

Post Number:#3 by The Researcher
» 04 Aug 2017, 03:37

Very emotional story! May be author can do some rounds of editing to improve the reading experience.
What is the most special thing I did today- I was MYSELF. Happy and in love and unapologetically myself.
The Researcher's Latest Review: "The Dancing Barber" by AC Michael
User avatar
The Researcher
Posts: 270
Joined: 23 Jan 2017, 05:41
Currently Reading: Buried Threads
Bookshelf Size: 94 books

View Reviewer Page
Reading Device: Kindle (E-Ink)
2017 Reading Goal: 50 Books
Goal Completion: 156%

Re: Official Review: Alice Had a Palace

Post Number:#4 by kandscreeley
» 04 Aug 2017, 10:41

It's too bad about the mistakes. That really makes a good book turn sour. Sounds like a good story that desperately needs more editing.
“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”
― Ernest Hemingway
User avatar
Posts: 2114
Joined: 31 Dec 2016, 20:31
Currently Reading: Luna
Bookshelf Size: 87 books

View Reviewer Page
2017 Reading Goal: 100 Books
Goal Completion: 70%

Re: Official Review: Alice Had a Palace

Post Number:#5 by cluborg
» 04 Aug 2017, 11:27

I hope the author will invest in editing
User avatar
Posts: 7
Joined: 04 Aug 2017, 11:23
Bookshelf Size: 0 books
2017 Reading Goal: 0 Books

Re: Official Review: Alice Had a Palace

Post Number:#6 by jemgirl202
» 04 Aug 2017, 11:34

Great review! Sounds like an emotional read.
jemgirl202's Latest Review: "The Dunston Blade" by John Nelson Daines
User avatar
Posts: 289
Joined: 17 Feb 2016, 15:33
Currently Reading: Here and Gone
Bookshelf Size: 22 books

View Reviewer Page
2017 Reading Goal: 10 Books
Goal Completion: 70%

Re: Official Review: Alice Had a Palace

Post Number:#7 by LadyClaire
» 04 Aug 2017, 17:01

It's horrible that such a good book is riddled with errors. I really like how this one is told and I am baffled at how speedily Eric changes.
I'm sorry that you didn't have a smooth read. Great review, though.
To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.
-Bertrand Russel
User avatar
Posts: 214
Joined: 11 Jul 2017, 23:46
Currently Reading: My Trip To Adele
Bookshelf Size: 45 books

View Reviewer Page
2017 Reading Goal: 50 Books
Goal Completion: 2%

Re: Official Review: Alice Had a Palace

Post Number:#8 by Quinto
» 05 Aug 2017, 20:52

I commend the review for bringing out an important snapshot of this great book. I especially like the title as it reflects the power of the intellect against the physical realities our lives sometimes brings to us. For its positive outlook against adversity, this definitely is a book I'll want to read.
Quinto's Latest Review: "Keys to Tetouan" by Mois Benarroch
User avatar
Posts: 44
Joined: 01 Aug 2017, 01:14
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 26 books

View Reviewer Page
2017 Reading Goal: 0 Books
Goal Completion: 0%

Re: Official Review: Alice Had a Palace

Post Number:#9 by ritah
» 06 Aug 2017, 00:11

The book sounds like it has a good story despite the errors. Thank you for your review.
User avatar
Posts: 190
Joined: 24 Jun 2017, 06:52
Location: Everywhere
Favorite Book: My trip to Adele
Currently Reading: Sylvio: Past and Present
Bookshelf Size: 41 books

View Reviewer Page
2017 Reading Goal: 100 Books
Goal Completion: 5%

Re: Official Review: Alice Had a Palace

Post Number:#10 by Amagine
» 06 Aug 2017, 07:41

It's disappointing when a book carries a powerful message but the message becomes lost in the overwhelming grammatical errors. I hope the author properly edits the book.

Great Review! 💞
Secret To Writing A Bestseller

You write.
You stop dreaming of writing.
You stop talking about writing.
Stop wishing you were writing.
And you write.
Amagine's Latest Review: "Tales From A Nobody" by G.C. Cook
User avatar
Posts: 4182
Joined: 04 Mar 2017, 19:27
Location: Lost in My Imagination
Favorite Author: James Patterson
Favorite Book: Writing for Children and Teens
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 687 books

View Reviewer Page
Reading Device: Fire HD 7 Tablet
2017 Reading Goal: 400 Books
Goal Completion: 42%

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Javaid R Khwaja and 11 guests


Return Home » Books and Reading » Reviews and Discussions about Specific Books and Series » Non-Fiction Books