Friday, March 5, 2010

Alice I Have Been

Let me start by saying I almost did not finish this book. Reading it a little bit at a time, I was confused about where the book was going. The first part of the book hints at child sexual abuse. Nothing explicit is ever stated but I was getting the distinct feeling this was not the happy book about Alice Liddell's life that I was expecting.

Now, that said, I finished the book and am glad I did. The story of Alice's life is told through Alice's voice as she goes back to her childhood. She first meets Mr. Dodgson (whose pen name Lewis Carroll is more familiar) when she is a 4 year old little girl living at Oxford College. Dodgson becomes a friend of her family and he takes Alice and her sisters (Ina and Edith) on many adventures. The oldest sister, Ina has a crush on Dodgson which he doesn't reciprocate. Dodgson indulges in his hobby of photography by taking pictures of the girls, especially Alice. The relationship sours when he takes a picture of Alice dressed as a gypsy girl.

Hinted at throughout the book is some deep secret that profoundly effects Alice's life. Her relationship with her mother is always strained as is the one with her sister Ina. The secret is not revealed until the end of the story.

The book is interesting in that it chronicles Alice's life. It is definitely not the Disney version, but the story is interesting telling of what went on and how the stories of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland were created. I went and did some research into Dodgson's life as well to try and figure out exactly what was supposed to have happened.

If you are expecting a happy tale of Alice Liddell's life, this book may not suffice. But it is a well written fictionalized account and reveals the secrets of her life in a way that will make you want to keep reading.

Alice I Have Been
By Benjamin, Melanie
2010-01 - Delacorte Press
9780385344135 Check Our Catalog

In this spellbinding historical novel, readers meet the young girl whose bright spirit sends her on an unforgettable trip down the rabbit hole--and the grown woman whose story is no less enthralling. …More

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