Monday, August 30, 2010

Alice In Wonderland Review

Alice In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.
Published in 1865.

Bored on a hot afternoon, Alice follows a White Rabbit down a rabbit-hole without giving a thought about how she might get out. And so she tumbles into Wonderland: where animals answer back, a baby turns into a pig, time stands still at a disorderly tea party, croquet is played with hedgehogs and flamingos, and the Mock Turtle and Gryphon dance the Lobster Quadrille. In a land in which nothing is as it seems and cakes, potions and mushrooms can make her shrink to ten inches or grow to the size of a house, will Alice be able to find her way home again? The book initially seems a very simple story written for children. However, many of its chapters and scenes have very deep meaning. The story flows very rapidly. Most of the scenes provoke your though process. The book is an interesting read due to its apparently simple storyline but complex characters, light humor and very simple logic.

My Thoughts:
I absolutely adored this book! I read it as a kid and immediately fell in love. When the whole Tim Burton movie craze started up, I re-purchased the book and read it again. Finished it in a day. Sheer nonsensical bliss. What an original Lewis Carroll was! There’s no one like him – his voice is unmistakable. The wit, the cleverness, the intellect and the sheer playfulness of the writing guarantees a good time is had by adults as well as children. One thing that is completely absent from Alice, and therefore from the books, is fear, so I do get puzzled when people describe the books as terrifying. Even the Queen of Heart’s hilarious, all-purpose “Off with their heads!” seems to carry no real danger – the only real threat in Wonderland appears to be being sent to prison (read: Sent to one’s room without supper). The whole thing is relentlessly funny – it’s mean to inspire giggles, not nightmares. And, well, little children are blood-thirsty creatures anyway. I believe that the genius of these books and the reason that they’re so enduring and entertaining for child and adult alike is that they were written for a specific child and the books are suffused with the sparks and sparkle, the unique symbiosis, of a very real, particular friendship. Beneath the dazzling performance of the adult seeking to amuse the children with funny stories and voices, there is a specificity, a sense of a private language or code, stemming from the fact that it was written for one beloved person, that gives one the uncanny feeling that there’s a meaning amidst all the nonsense – an elusive, indescribable but integral truth that’s impossible to discover – like the objects in the shop in Through the Looking Glass that can only be seen out of the corner of one’s eye, but never when you look at them directly. Or like the most beautiful garden you ever saw, seen through a keyhole in a door you’re too big to pass through.



  1. Alice in Wonderland is one of my favorite books and has been since I was in grade school and received a boxed set of Alice and Through the Looking Glass from my parents. Your review is insightful and I can only agree that the unmistakable voice of Lewis Carroll was meant for young and old alike.

  2. I like Alice in Wonderland, too. The fact that it's still around and still so popular after all this time shows how really good it is.

    Have you read The Looking Glass Wars? It puts the story in a whole new light.

  3. Hi. I hopped over on the Friday Hop. I am glad to see that I am not the only one who reviews books that have been published for years. It seems like so many reviewers only review books that aren't even published yet. I am intrigued to read the Looking Glass Wars, too. Please take a look at my highlighted review at
    *New Follower