Book Review: Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

I’ve always loved this story, but my only exposure to it was through movies and various pop culture references. I’m so glad I decided to read this book, even if it wasn’t what I expected.

3.5/5 stars

Genre: children’s classic

cover alice in wonderland

I’m not going to post an amazon description this time, because I sincerely hope you’ve heard of this story.

I loved the voice of this book. Alice is a undeniably weird child–one who can fall down a seemingly endless rabbit hole without screaming, and who will fearlessly walk into a house filled with the sound of breaking dishes and raised voices. However, her childish quirks felt familiar, and her optimistic and simplistic musings on the world brought me back to my own childhood.

I’m just going to put this out there: basically half of the events of this book don’t show up in any movie or visual retelling that I’ve seen. To those of you who haven’t read this book: have you ever heard of the Mad Duchess or the Mock Turtle? I certainly hadn’t, even though they took up pretty much the same amount of pages as the familiar Wonderland characters–the White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts.

I had no idea what the plot of the book was going in, and after reading it, I can say that there really isn’t one. While this would usually ruin a book for me, Alice’s simple progression from weird character to weirder character was an enjoyable and intriguing read, so I’m not going to complain.

There are so many literary gems hidden in this book. Here is one of my favorites (the others are longer and you need the context of the scene to really appreciate them):

“And how many hours a day did you do lessons?” said Alice, in a hurry to change the subject.

“Ten hours the first day,” said the Mock Turtle: “nine the next, and so on.”

“What a curious plan!” exclaimed Alice.

“That’s the reason they’re called lessons,” the Gryphon remarked: “because they lessen from day to day.”

If only.

I read a version with the original illustrations (done by John Tenniel), and though I had expected them to be annoying, they actually really enhanced the story.  Here are some of my favorites (though I honestly could have posted all of them):

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a light read, who enjoys the bizarre, or who is a fan of the story. I read it in a day, an I’m considering reading Through the Looking Glass.

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