Review: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

Read: 8
To Go: 92

Book List
1. Happy Ever After – Nora Roberts
2. The Bone Cage – Angie Abdou
3. Unless – Carol Shields
4. No Rules…Just Write – C. Noelle Susice
5. All My Friends Are Dead – Avery Monsen and Jory John
6. The Best Laid Plans – Terry Fallis
7. The Case for Falling in Love – Mari Ruti, PhD
8. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

After finishing up with Mari Ruti’s self-help book, I got started on Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland because I had to read it for my Children’s Lit class. Regardless, it was a pretty decent read.

We all know the basic story of Alice and Wonderland: little girl falls into a rabbit hole and enters a fantasy world where the impossible is, naturally, completely possible. I knew what I was getting myself into, but it was still nice to revisit an old classic.

I did like the book, but one thing I found to be really irritating was the habitual talking down – the ‘narrator’ tended to over-explain Alice’s actions or, on occasion, make her appear much less intelligent than she assumedly is.  According to my Children’s Lit teacher, things like this have to do with a deliberate attempt to binarize children and adults, and to see children as “other.” It’s to define for ourselves who we are in relation to who we’re not – children, who “need” to have everything explained to them.

Yeah, I’d buy that.

I suppose that I should’ve been expecting a bit of a talking-down narrative, given that I was reading a story not for my age group, but it didn’t occur to me to assume I’d encounter it. And for authors of children’s literature to assume that their audience needs to have everything explained to them often, and in simple language, is pretty insulting to the collective intelligence of children, who are really quite intuitive.

Aside from that glaring flaw, I did like the book. The story is whimsical and silly and, barring the typical narrative style of children’s books (home-away-home), the story didn’t follow any really obvious plot arc. Given that I hadn’t read it in a long time, I was pleasantly surprised every time Alice ended up in a new, bizarre place with new, bizarre creatures.

I don’t know that I’d say I’d recommend the book, since it’s for a different audience entirely, but if you’re feeling nostalgic for the old days it’s a good one to read.

Next book: Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evils of Slavery – Quobna Cugoano (it’s for my Nature of Narrative II class…kill me. Kill me now.)

– Kelsey

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2 thoughts on “Review: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

  1. I loved this book when I was a kid. I reread it somewhat recently, and I definitely have to say that I agree with you about the narrative. But it’s a good book regardless. Will you be reading Through the Looking Glass as well? It’s basically the sequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, although IIRC, it never mentions her previous trip there.

    • I don’t think I read the book as a kid, but I remember seeing the movie, lol – the Cheshire Cat cannot be forgotten. At any rate, yeah, it’s a great book regardless of its overbearing narrator.

      Through the Looking Glass? Probably not – the only children’s books I’ve been reading for my challenge are the ones that I have to read for class. Otherwise, it’ll be pretty much all “grown up” novels. 😛

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