I just finished Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. I read them together, as they were in the same volume. I hated to admit it, but until this most recent read, I had never actually read either of these books. Aside from the Disney film, the closest I had ever been to one of Lewis Carroll’s works was a brief study of “Jabberwocky” in Victorian lit. And in all honesty, I might never have read them had it not been for the feature part of a certain Cat in the Thursday Next series.
I felt like I was missing something crucial from Fforde’s books because I hadn’t read about Alice. Oh, sure, I had seen the film. In fact, little did you know, I actually played Alice in our third grade production of Alice in Wonderland. (Do you remember, Rindy?) The White Rabbit was played by my arch-nemesis, John Calvin, who turned out to be the first boy I ever slapped. Something about Vienna Sausages . . . . Rindy was one of the narrators. Reagan played my sister. I can still remember the songs, like it was yesterday.
But I digress . . .
Because I felt I was missing so much, and because I wanted to be able to find all of Fforde’s subtle references to Alice (and believe me, there are so many more than you know if you’ve never read them), I dove in.
I’ll admit, I was hesitant. “Jabberwocky” really didn’t do it for me in Victorian lit., so I was afraid that Alice would be a great disappointment.
I shouldn’t have been concerned. Lewis Carroll is as underrated as Dickens is overrated. I adored the story! Alice was much more delightful than I ever imagined she could be, as were the other characters. Oh, and did I mention that “Jabberwocky” really makes so much more sense when read in the context of the Looking-Glass?
I was fascinated by Carroll’s imagery. Wonderland became alive before my very eyes. Reading it felt as real as if I was running with the Red Queen, or talking with Humpty Dumpty. It was beautifully poetic. Before I was even finished, I realized that I wanted to read it again and again. I felt I couldn’t get enough of this wonderful tale. I wanted to see every movie ever made about it, read every book that had ever been inspired by it, and listen to every audio version ever created.
And to top it all off, the version I purchased had a letter that Carroll had written about Easter “to every child who loves Alice.” How perfect was it that I read came to that part of the book on Saturday, just one day before the dawn of Easter morning? It was such a beautiful finale to the amazing adventures I had just shared with Alice.
After that review, it will come as no surprise to anyone reading this that I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars!