Sunday, February 28, 2010

Alice I Have Been Melanie Benjamin

I read Alice In Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass for the first time a few years ago for a Classics Challenge.  I totally did NOT understand Lewis Carroll's writing even though I was reading an annotated copy and had seen Disney's version.  I recognized many parts and was surprised to find that many poems and stories I was familiar with originated with the Alice books.

Even though Lewis Carroll's genius soared way over my head, I developed a strong interest in the little girl Carroll wrote about and in the author himself.  Unfortunately, there are not many personal papers remaining to provide insight on the relationship that existed between Alice Liddell and Charles Dodgson.

Benjamin is upfront about informing the reader this fictional story told from Alice's perspective.  Although much is unknown Benjamin weaves her story around substantiated events.

The book is divided into 3 major sections based on the men in Alice's life.  The first is Alice's questionable relationship with Charles Dodgson, one that is both filled with love and mystery and leaves Alice totally baffled when her mother stops them from being with each other even though Dodgson continues to work on campus.  Next is Alice's relationship with Prince Leopold that ends with questions for the reader, at least this reader.  I wish there was more known about why that relationship ended.  The final section is about Alice's marriage to a man who basically rescues her from spinsterhood.  It was during this part that I choked up and even shed some tears.

I loved this book!  Good story, good writing.  I strongly recommend Alice I Have Been, even if you're not a fan of Alice In Wonderland.  I read this book in November and have no worthy excuses for my delay in reviewing it.  I've thought of it many times over the ensuing months and finally decided I needed to review it so I could recommend it to others.

I received this book as a advanced reader's copy.  I did not receive any other payment for my review.


Kristen M. said...

I really love Alice in Wonderland and I'm sad that I had this book from the library but just didn't get to it before it was due back. Now I have to get back on the end of a long list. Maybe I should just buy it ...

jenclair said...

I want to read this one! Thanks for the review!

Cindy Hudson said...

Love your review. I just finished reading it myself, and I too choked up in the last section. Very interesting tale woven around historical knowns and unknowns.

Zibilee said...

Great review! I have been wanting to read this book since for awhile. I have seen really good reviews of it popping up all over the place and it looks like a great read. It's definitely on the list for upcoming purchases! Thanks for your excellent review!

Framed said...

I've been trying to mooch a biography of Lewis Carroll for months but no luck. This book sounds like one I would enjoy.