Nope, not the Alma you were thinking of. This Alma is a character in one of my favorite books. As a friend of mine pointed out once, I seem to like books with young protagonists or narrators. I had never thought of that, but once she said it, I realized it was true.
Alma is one of the main characters in The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. Really, Alma is many characters in the book because of the book-within-a-book situation. Alma is a teenager who is trying to help her mother find happiness and understand what life is all about (that’s a very simplified description of who Alma is…).
I love this passage, where the main Alma is telling about the Alma in the book:
The first woman may have been Eve, but the first girl will always be Alma… Maybe the first time you saw her you were ten. She was standing in the sun scratching her legs. Or tracing letters in the dirt with a stick. her hair was being pulled. Or she was pulling someone’s hair. And a part of you was drawn to her, and a part of you resisted – wanting to ride off on your bicycle, kick a stone, remain uncomplicated. In the same breath you felt the strength of a man, and a self-pity that made you feel small and hurt. Part of you thought: Please don’t look at me. If you don’t, I can still turn away. And part of you thought: Look at me.
Alma is a girl I wish I knew. Alma and I could hang out with Oskar. I think they could help each other a lot (I wonder if this was the idea… since History of Love and Extremely Loud and IncrediblyClose were written by a wife and her husband).