09 January, 2012

Review - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

I always have a hard time reviewing the "classics." Not so much because I don't have anything new to say - I have my own impressions at least - but more because what if I didn't like it? Does that make me poorly read or did I just not get what everyone else got? There's a very good chance of the latter no matter what I'm reading, let's be honest.

But that's not that I didn't like Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I really enjoyed it, but I didn't love it as I thought I would.

What sucked me into reading this book was the writing. Lewis Carroll takes everything from Alice's perspective, her very young perspective. And it's hilarious. The way she sees things is just like you would picture in a child. She looks at everything the way she's learned, but also according to how she's put things together in her young life.

Then, she also rambles and ends up on tangents that had me chuckling. You ever start thinking of one thing and suddenly you're at a whole new place and you have no idea how you got there and you can't help but laugh out loud? And then other people look at you weird. It's like that.

I do the same, as I'm sure many others do.

I'm sure you know the story, I won't bore you with the details, but there are some differences from the movie(s)...at least I think. I better not say what I think they are before I watch the movie again. :) Here's some blurbage:
Weary of her storybook, one "without pictures or conversations," the young and imaginitive[sic] Alice follows a hasty hare underground -- to come face-to-face with some of the strangest adventures and most fantastic characters in all of literature. The Ugly Duchess, the Mad Hatter, the weeping Mock Turtle, the diabolical Queen of Hearts, the Cheshire Cat -- each more eccentric than the last -- could only have come from that master of sublime nonsense, Lewis Carroll. In penning this brilliant burlesque of children's literature, this farcical satire of rigid Victorian society, this arresting parody of the fears, anxieties, and complexities of growing up, Carroll was one of the few adult writers to enter successfully the children's world of make-believe, where the impossible becomes possible, the unreal, real, and where the heights of adventure are limited only by the depths of imagination.

I think the thing that brought this book down a peg or two for me was the ending. That's right the ending. Skip this paragraph if you don't wanna go there. But come on Carroll. Really? It was all a dream. I've heard that one before - I'm looking at you Oz.

Also Tweedledee and Tweedledum don't appear in this one, I'm guessing they do in Through the Looking Glass, the sequel. I was a bit disappointed when I didn't see them, but I'm now looking forward to Looking Glass.

Overall this was a highly enjoyable book and at only 93 pages (and free on Kindle), it's worth a go. Come on, it's a classic.

3.5 out of 5 Stars

Ps. I have yet to read Through the Looking Glass, but it's on my Kindle and ready whenever the mood strikes.


Mieneke van der Salm said...

This book drove me absolutely nuts. I did a Carroll theme week on my blog last year and while I could appreciate their literary and historical merit, Alice in Wonderland just didn't click for me. Mostly due to the fact that there is no plot to speak of.

As for the ending, remember that Carroll wrote long before Baum published Oz, so maybe it was the other way around ;-)

Jamie Gibbs said...

I usually don't read 'classics' for the same reason, but I think I need to expand my horizons a little and give it a shot. Thanks for the review.

Bryce L. said...

@Mieneke - Yeah, there wasn't really any plot, that probably should have bugged me more. And with the Wizard of Oz, I was just complaining about dream sequences in general. Such a terrible way to excuse everything. I would take pretty much anything else over that - like they were aliens. :)

@Jamie - You know I think it's worth it. Carroll's writing is beautiful and it's fun. Not my favorite thing ever, but worth 93 pages.

Nicole Wiggins said...

You know I think it's worth it. Carroll's writing is beautiful and it's fun. Not my favorite thing ever....