Kevin Anderson wrote:I disagree with Mr. Tweety’s earlier comment about our little Alice. I think she is a very intriguing and complex five year old. The author gave this child a nice mix of obsessive compulsive disorder sprinkled with a hint of pre-school psychopathic tendencies.
I thought more of autism. Alice is totally unaware of how her behavior will be perceived by or will effect others. Her insanity is not in obsessively collecting things or even in wanting to gouge out a cat eye. It's that she has no interest in other people's reactions. She's completely apathetic.
But of course she isn't autistic, because she can carry on a perfectly intelligible conversation with you and she is fully aware of her surroundings.
The character design seems illogical. She has the intelligence and perceptiveness to know that her actions will cause people to loath and fear her, and she has apparently perfect self-control, but she takes no precautions to conceal what she's doing. It seems like she would need to be either a.) an obvious lunatic who lunges at cat eyes because she just-can't-stop-herself or b.) a coldly calculating person who notes the cat eye and then sneaks out at night to take it while no one is looking. That's what I mean by "ambiguously insane." The character's madness is limited to precise, arbitrary areas dictated by the requirements of the story rather than by a plausible twist in a human psyche.
Now I feel bad because it sounds like I'm tearing this story to pieces.
I'm not: I didn't hate it. It was tight and evocative, well written, but it didn't really "work" for me, for the reasons stated. I feel that way about a lot of horror stuff. A lot of time the villain character doesn't really make sense.