Book Review: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

I made a post about a list of books that Amazon thinks everyone should read. A low-hanging fruit on that list was Alice in Wonderland, so I rented the audiobook from the library and took the opportunity to listen.

The Book

alice_in_wonderland2c_cover_1865

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Author: Lewis Carroll
1865
Gutenberg Project Link (Versions on Amazon are ok because they have illustrations, but if you just want the book, don’t support useless moneymongering of public domain works)

I’m not very good with absurdist or surrealist anything, so I don’t have high hopes. However, this book is pretty short and I don’t think there’s much potential waste of time involved.

Non-Spoiler Review

I wasn’t a huge fan of this book. It felt childish – as it was intended – and a bit nonsensical. The chapters didn’t flow from one to the next, and it never felt like anything built on itself. Much like the Disney movie indicated it would, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was a series of short events that were random and, while pretty and fantastical, meaningless.

I gather a lot of people see allegories in Alice, and that’s fine. I dig. But it was just weird to me. Perhaps I haven’t taken enough drugs. Perhaps I just thought the queen much flatter than I remember her in the movie.

One thing I found pleasant about the book, something I may have forgotten from the movie, was how intelligent and brave Alice was. I was surprised and rather pleased with how well she drove the story forward. Good on Carroll for doing that with a young female character in the 1860’s.

2/5 Discoball Snowcones

2 Discoball Snowcones

SPOILERS REVIEW

I think a lot of people know the story of Alice – she follows a rabbit down the hole and gets really high and low. She runs about with the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, the hookah-smoking caterpillar, etc.

And that’s really all it is. If you watch the Disney version and expect something similar, you’ll be disappointed to find the climax is… absent. Disney does a great job with the excitement of the Queen, and they made an even better decision to add the Walrus and the Carpenter beforehand.

The part I don’t remember from the movie was the Mock Turtle portion. WT ever loving F was that mess? It was depressing, weird, and had a stupid song about beautiful soup. I don’t understand.

Next week:

Next week I’ll be reading Pride and Prejudice! Out of all the classics I’ve not read before, I think that one’s the BIG surprise. So stay tuned!

24 thoughts on “Book Review: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

  1. crispina kemp says:

    I think there have been so many film adaptations of Alice that reading the story must disappoint us. Also, neither child nor adult are as naive as they were when Carroll wrote it

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      I think that no matter what version of something you experience first, whether it be movie or book or TV or whatever, that’s usually the version you’re going to like best. It takes something especially bad or especially good for the second-experienced form of media to improve on the first.

      • crispina kemp says:

        Oh indeed yes. Though the one time that didn’t hold true was when I read The French Lieutenant’s Woman, after seeing the moving. The book far excels.

      • crispina kemp says:

        The movie was made way-way-way back with a very young Merril Streep and Jeremy Irons. Don’t remember the author’s name. Despite being old to us now, the book deals with that aspect of the female psyche prevalant in false rape claims… which just doesn’t come across in the movie.

  2. robertawrites235681907 says:

    Alice in Wonderland is one of my favourite books, H. I love the creativity and imagination in it. I have about 10 different copies. Isn’t it great that we are all so different and enjoy different things.

  3. D. Wallace Peach says:

    I’ve heard that the story is a satirical allegory for the politics of the time, of which I’m unaware. I can see it being interesting from that standpoint, but… nonsensical to anyone not tuned in to the various parties, movements, controversies, and characters. I’m not surprised that it’s just turned into a Disney story for little kids where it doesn’t need to make sense. 😀

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      Oh, interesting! I hadn’t read it thinking at all about politics of the time. I’m afraid I’m much more familiar with the American politics of the time, and I don’t think Alice in Wonderland is about populism and the gold standard, haha!

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