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Review: Through the Looking Glass (Lewis Carroll)

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Review: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Amazon | Goodreads


Summary (from Goodreads.com)
In 1865, English author CHARLES LUTWIDGE DODGSON (1832-1898), aka Lewis Carroll, wrote a fantastical adventure story for the young daughters of a friend. The adventures of Alice-named for one of the little girls to whom the book was dedicated-who journeys down a rabbit hole and into a whimsical underworld realm instantly struck a chord with the British public, and then with readers around the world. In 1872, in reaction to the universal acclaim *Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland* received, Dodgson published this sequel.

Nothing is quite what it seems once Alice journeys through the looking-glass, and Dodgson’s wit is infectious as he explores concepts of mirror imagery, time running backward, and strategies of chess-all wrapped up in the exploits of a spirited young girl who parries with the Red Queen, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, and other unlikely characters. In many ways, this sequel has had an even greater impact on today’s pop culture than the first book.

Title:
Through the Looking Glass
Author: Lewis Carroll
Length: 192 pages
Source: Bought

Plot: ★★
Characters: ★★
Readability: ★★
Overall: ★★

My opinion:

I have to admit, I just didn’t enjoy this as much as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, despite the fact that it felt much more structured.  I debated whether to give this 2 stars (it was okay) or even 1 (I didn’t like it). I eventually settled on 2, but only just to be honest!

Some of the imagery and characters from the films don’t appear in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at all, but in Through the Looking Glass. Tweedledum & Tweedledee, the white queen and Humpty Dumpty all appear in Through the Looking Glass, but to be honest the book just didn’t resonate with me at all.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was, without a doubt, a bit crazy – it jumped around, it rambled and the whole thing was pretty barmy, with a very loose plot. But in Alice, that felt deliberate, fun and charming; a chance to enjoy the word play, to let go of plot and follow the rhythm.  Through the Looking Glass, with the stronger plot and more structured flow felt awkward and jolting in comparison – not dramatic or coherent enough to come across as a more traditional novel, but without the smooth whimsical feel of Alice.

In terms of characters, I didn’t hate them but a lot of them felt a bit bare. Why is the Red Queen no longer desperate to chop everyone’s heads off?  Is it a different Red Queen, or has the old Red Queen changed drastically in the years since Alice was in Wonderland?  Humpty Dumpty was quite fun, lots of word play in that chapter!

The Jabberwocky and Bandersnatch, such often mentioned symbols, appear in this book, rather than the first. However, neither are actually seen, only mentioned in the Jabberwocky poem. In fact, there’s rather a lot of poetry, which might be a good or bad thing depending on your point of view.

Alice’s progress across the chess board felt very fast, and this combined with the poetry made the whole book feel disjointed and fragmented in my opinion.  But, it was a quick and easy read that left my brain feeling refreshed (and also kind of desperate for something less weird).  I don’t think I would recommend it, but I also don’t resent it because it didn’t cost me much in either time or money!

Buy it? It’s currently free on kindle, but check out the comments since some versions are missing the poetry.
In a nutshell: Give it a go, but not great in my opinion.

Other Reviews of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: The Book Lover’s Boudoir | Jandy’s Reading Room | Jules’ Book reviews (Alice & Through The Looking Glass)

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