Based on the novel Alice and set in 1940’s rural Georgia, Wildflower begins with children hearing rumors of a “monster” in the old Guthrie barn. After some ridiculous shrieking, Ellie discovers the monster is really just an unkempt girl in rags who has trouble speaking. On their second meeting, when Ellie tries to communicate with Alice, she realizes that Alice is hard of hearing and has been neglected by her family. After an incident where Ellie convinces Alice to scare another girl with her echoed slurred speech, Ellie starts meeting with Alice in secret to talk, and Alice’s language skills quickly improve.

Eventually Ellie introduces Alice to her brother Sammie, and convinces her grandmother to tutor her. But first Ellie must get Alice into some decent clothes. Once she’s cleaned up, Alice is no longer a monster but a sweet innocent trailing roses. Sammie is clearly attracted to her but decides it would be wrong to act on it, saying he thinks of her as being “like a baby”, despite Alice’s assurances that “I feeling that feeling” too.

Though her parents don’t like people knowing they had a child with a disability, saying she’s “devil-tetched”, one day Alice has a seizure in a cornfield and the doctor must be called for. (Her seizures are presented almost as if it was a horror film, with a shifting, blurry image and strange distorted noises.) The doctor pieces her story together, and prescribes an expensive hearing aid that just fits in her pocket.

Now that the jig is up and the whole town knows about Alice, she starts interacting socially with Ellie and Sammie’s friends. They make fun of her speech and mannerisms, prompting Sammie to join in the public teasing. Later, when he goes off to school, he does not write to Alice and avoids introducing her to his friends out of embarrassment.

Ellie calls him out on it, and at the town dance Sammie sees Alice can now look and act normal, and is thus to his mind finally eligible for a romantic relationship. (Although, in my fantasy dreamworld, a much better ending would have involved Alice telling him to shove it.)


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