Author: Lewis Carroll (Website)
Series: Alice #1
Genre: Children's, Classic, Fantasy
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) is a novel written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. It tells the story of a girl named Alice who falls down a rabbit-hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar and anthropomorphic creatures. The tale is filled with allusions to Dodgson's friends (and enemies), and to the lessons that British schoolchildren were expected to memorize. The tale plays with logic in ways that have made the story of lasting popularity with adults as well as children. It is considered to be one of the most characteristic examples of the genre of literary nonsense, and its narrative course and structure has been enormously influential, mainly in the fantasy genre. Summary from Goodreads
This is the first time I’ve ever read this classic story. I’ve been somewhat familiar with Alice’s Adventure’s in Wonderland because of the numerous movie tie-ins. However, I was never versed in the original story. I decided to read it because I want to read Frank Beddor’s The Looking Glass Wars trilogy and I thought I should start with a proper foundation. I was expecting a fun, whimsical tale about Alice’s adventures in Wonderland. Instead, what I read was a discombobulated book of nonsense. Gasp!
I tried to like this book. I really did. But there were only very few parts that Carroll actually showed and not told. I now understand the importance of that writing rule! All the telling was boring. And, Alice was always off on some tangent that had nothing to do with the story, which didn’t add anything to it. In fact, it just made me hate it. Plus, Alice is seven years old? Really?! She acted more like a teenager or even an adult.
I liked the idea of the story–a young girl somehow finding herself trapped in a world she doesn’t understand, meeting curious creatures and people, and then finding out that it’s all a dream. Such a great idea! If only the execution were better. Nothing was coherent and there was no rhyme or reason for anything. I take things at face value. Allegories and symbolism are completely wasted on me most of the time. One of the reasons I hated my literature classes so much was the constant analyzing of books’ meanings. Sometimes, a book is just a book. But, I digress.
My favorite part of the story was Carroll’s description of the Queen of Hearts’ court. I loved that he didn’t just come out and say that everyone was part of a pack of cards until he gave you a visualization of it all. And, I loved that the different suits meant different things. It was fun and it made those characters come alive for the short time they were there. I wish the rest of the book were like this.
I’m going to read Through the Looking-Glass next. I’m not looking forward to it to say the least, but I really want to make sure I understand Carroll’s world before I dive into Beddor’s. Hopefully, I’ll like Through the Looking-Glass better than I did Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, but I don’t have high hopes.