Book Review Wednesday: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass (4 stars)

Posted: January 29, 2014 in Book Reviews
Tags: , , , ,

Let’s go for a classic this week. Believe it or not, before this year I had yet to read ‘Alice’s adventures in wonderland’ or ‘through the looking glass.’ My experience of these was limited to Disney films and references on movies like the matrix. I know, I’m a heathen.

Most people know the jist of the story even if they haven’t read it, but I’ll add the blurb anyway:

Weary of her storybook, one “without pictures or conversations,” the young and imaginative 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, Carroll has written a farcical satire of rigid Victorian society, an arresting parody of the fears, anxieties, and complexities of growing up.

Carroll was one of the few adult writers to successfully enter the children’s world of make-believe: where the impossible becomes possible, the unreal–real, and where the height of adventure is limited only by the depths of imagination.

I loved it. I didn’t give it five stars, but I think that’s mostly because I expected too much. I also didn’t like the looking glass as much as wonderland. I’d give five stars to wonderland, and looking glass would just scrape four.

This book doesn’t make much sense, but it does have its own logic that you only really understand if you drop all your own logic and just go with it. Understand?

All those rumors about Caroll doing LSD make a lot of sense reading this. As a writer it felt like I was reading something that had been written so fast it was just a stream of consciousness. I’ve always been a slow writer (sigh), but if I suddenly started writing really really fast whilst being half asleep I imagine my writing would start to look a little like these stories.

Wonderland has a different feel reading it to looking glass. I liked both of them, but it felt like wonderland had been written by a writer who threw all the rules out the window and just said ‘heck, I’m going to have fun with this.’ It doesn’t make sense, but because of that it makes its own peculiar brand of sense.

Looking glass felt like Caroll decided he was going to replicate what he did with wonderland but was at points in the story hit with the crippling need to make it good, and make it make sense. It didn’t feel to me as much of a stream of consciousness, and it wasn’t as fun.

Overall I’ say try it. Give it a good go by pushing everything you know about everything out of the window, try to go along with it without applying logic. You may like it, you may not. I liked it, but my mom hates it because it doesn’t make sense, and my sister hates it because she finds Alice too opinionated. Whereas I liked that about Alice because it made her more unique and I liked her ‘muchness.’

For more reviews on this book check out: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24213.Alice_s_Adventures_in_Wonderland_Through_the_Looking_Glass

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