It’s strange that even though I have been familiar with the character Alice since childhood (thanks to Disney), I have never actually read the book. While both of the Disney adaptations—the old-school animation and the latest one—are weird, I think the book was even weirder!
Curiouser and curiouser! Alice would say.
Alice, a curious child of seven, thought it was very strange indeed that on a hot day, she should see a White Rabbit that talks and wears a waistcoat and has a watch which he took out from his waistcoat-pocket. Piqued by her own great curiosity, she followed the frantic White Rabbit down a seemingly endless hole. Through the Rabbit-Hole, she was transported to Wonderland, a world in which everything is absurd, fantastical and even ridiculous, and nothing makes sense.
Why is this book so well-loved? I don’t have the answer to that question, but I know that I like this book because:
1. You can never guess what happens next. And Alice as the main character will keep you fascinated. When I decided to read this book I was in need of a sort of escapism, and little did I know that I was in for a treat. This book is a wild journey of imagination.
2. True, this book falls into the “literary nonsense” category, but you can’t help but admire Lewis Carroll’s wordplay. And some parts are just so funny.
Let’s take a look at a passage from The Mock Turtle’s Story:
“I couldn’t afford to learn it,” said the Mock Turtle with a sigh. “I only took the regular course.
“What was that?” inquired Alice.
“Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with,” the Mock Turtle replied; “and then the different branches of Arithmetic – Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision.”
“…Mystery, ancient and modern, with Seography: then Drawling—the Drawling-master was an old conger-eel, that used to come once a week: he taught us Drawling, Stretching, and Fainting in Coils.”
“And how many hours a day did you do lessons?” said Alice, in a hurry to change the subject.
“Ten hours the first day,” said the Mock Turtle, “nine the next, and so on.”
“What a curious plan!” exclaimed Alice.
“That’s the reason they’re called lessons,” the Gryphon remarked: “because they lessen from day to day.”
3. The cover of the edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland I own (published by Puffin Books under the Puffin Chalk series). I mean, the cover alone would have been enough to rate this book 3 stars at least.
To wrap up this nonsense review, I only want to point out that even though I read this book for the first time as an adult, I read it with a mind of a child. I didn’t search for symbols and hidden meanings while reading, because the child in me didn’t need to understand to enjoy the journey.
“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
160 pages, published 2014 by Puffin Books (first published 1865)
My rating: ♥ ♥ ♥