Young and curious Alice stumbles down a rabbit hole and into Wonderland following a white rabbit wearing a waistcoat. On her journey, she soon discovers that this is only one of the many strange things common to Wonderland.
Not used to the way things function and the strange way everyone in Wonderland behaves, Alice often finds herself in strange situations. If Alice hopes to get back to her sister she must forget everything she thought was normal and adapt to the ways of Wonderland.
As a longtime fan of many Alice in Wonderland related things, I decided it was finally time to read the actual novel by Lewis Carroll. I really wanted to love it but sadly, the original source material just doesn’t do it for me. It was boring to read and I was so so so disappointed by it.
As a child I watched the old animated Alice in Wonderland movie and it was one of my favorites, it still is. I’ve also always enjoyed retellings or when other stories happen to reference elements from Alice in Wonderland.
Alice in the Country of Hearts by Quin Rose which is a retelling of the story, and Pandora Hearts by Jun Mochizuki which was just full of references to characters, are among my favorites. Both series are from when I was really into reading Manga and I believe both are complete by now.
Perhaps everything I’d seen and read just set unrealistic expectations for the actual book. It may be unfair to judge in comparison to the movie but I found that so much of the charm I’d seen in the animated movie version, just wasn’t there in the book.
The entire time that I was reading the book I kept thinking that there had to be a more profound meaning to what I was reading but if there was or if there wasn’t, I just never got it. By the time I finished the book I was so done with it, I really had no motivation to look more into the symbolism of it all.
Another thing I didn’t like was that it practically had no plot. I mean her trying to find her way back home could be the plot, but getting back home was only vaguely a concern for Alice. For most of it, she was just rolling with the punches. The characters introduced are fun and quirky but there isn’t much to them other than what you get in the scene that they appear in. Alice, who does get more development, what with her being the central character and all, still isn’t very dynamic.
I’m going to compare the book to the movie again, but the way that Alice is in the book makes her come across as more ditzy and annoying; her portrayal in the animated movie on the other hand puts her more on the cute and quirky side.
Originally I thought I had nothing good to say but after some consideration, I enjoyed parts of the book. Some characters from the book are more interesting than others, and when Alice interacts with them it’s fun to read. Two highlights for me are when she meets the blue caterpillar and then when she attends the Mad Hatters tea party.
The randomness of the way the story is told is also not a high-point for me but I do think that it fits the concept of how everything in Wonderland is random, weird and out of the ordinary, which is something others might appreciate.
Also, I was reminded in a twitter discussion that the book is not necessarily written for me. It is a children’s book.
For children Alice in Wonderland can be this neat little story that teaches them to think outside the box, think for themselves, learn that things aren’t always what they seem and that everyone is special in different ways. I would say that every character Alice meets along the way, teaches her something important.
I could tell you my adventures – beginning from this morning,” said Alice a little timidly; “but it’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”Alice pg. 87/ Lewis Carroll
This is the first book I’ve read by Carroll. I know there is a sequel, Through the Looking Glass; and despite not liking Alice Adventures in Wonderland, I will still give the sequel a shot. I’ve heard that it is an improvement from this first book but it will be some time before I do actually decide to pick it up.
1 out of 5 stars for this book and again, I just wish I would have enjoyed it a lot more than I actually did.
I do not recommend this book as a casual adult read, but I would recommend it as like a literary analysis kind of read. Also, if you happen to like the classics maybe Alice is for you.