Summary (from Goodreads.com)
‘Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, “and what is the use of a book,” thought Alice, “without pictures or conversations?”‘
So begins the tale of Alice, following a curious White Rabbit down a rabbit-hole and falling into Wonderland. A fantastical place, where nothing is quite as it seems: animals talk, nonsensical characters confuse, Mad Hatter’s throw tea parties and the Queen plays croquet. Alice’s attempts to find her way home become increasingly bizarre, infuriating and amazing in turn.
A beloved classic, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has continued to delight readers, young and old for over a century.
Title: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Author: Lewis Carroll
Length: 129 pages (for the version I had, though it varies a lot)
Throughout February, The Cheap Reader is hosting Project Fairytale: a month long event dedicated to fairytales and their retellings. Each blogger has to select one fairytale to read and review, as well as considering retellings. I’ve chosen Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for my focus, which although not a traditional fairytale fits enough to count in my opinion!
According to the dictionary on my shelf, a fairytale is “a story about fairies or magic, an unbelievable story or explanation” and according to Merriam Webster’s website it is
“a : a story (as for children) involving fantastic forces and beings (as fairies, wizards, and goblins) —called also fairy story
b : a story in which improbable events lead to a happy ending”
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is definitely an unbelievable story involving fantastic forces!
Pretty much everyone is familiar with Alice in Wonderland, though I personally was much more familiar with the Disney version (which includes elements from both Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as well as Through the Looking Glass) than the original. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the original novel, since it seems to cause very mixed responses! I’ve spoken to a lot of people about it, and heard opinions from people who think it’s nothing but an average childrens’ story, people who think it’s full of commentary on self-identity as well as people who think it was written by a guy in a drug-fuelled haze.
On top of all the mixed opinions about the story I was nervous because Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is, at the end of the day, a classic. I confess, I was a tiny bit terrified I’d hate it, and then have to share that opinion on here only for everyone to tear me down for my lack of appreciation. Thankfully, I didn’t hate it!
I found Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to be a quick and easy children’s story. I didn’t honestly love it, but I can imagine that it would entertain children who may be less frustrated by the nonsensical!
I loved the imagery, the world-building and the novel characters. The vast ways in which Wonderland differs from our own world was interesting and engrossing: from the breakdown of time to games with no rules, the scene-setting was probably my favourite part of this book. However, the plot was a little frustrating, with periods where nothing seemed to happen, and periods that were chaotic and felt rushed. I also felt it was undermined severely by the ending, which was a big disappointment in my opinion.
I enjoyed the word play, and the way the novel seems to read in the same way as a child’s consciousness – flitting from thought to thought, somehow ending up far from where you started! The word play balanced out the lack of plot a little for me, though I think some of it would definitely go over a child’s head. It took me next to no time to read, and I’m glad I read it even if I didn’t love it as much as I’d hoped.
Buy it? It’s currently free on kindle, or £2.50 for paperback, either of which are worth it in my opinion.
In a nutshell: A classic that you should definitely give a go
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
“I don’t much care where –”
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
“If everybody minded their own business, the world would go around a great deal faster than it does.”