Sunday, August 26, 2012

Alice I Have Been

by Melanie Benjamin
Published: Random House, 2010
Pages: 345

This is an "Eclectic Reader 2012 Challenge" Book!

As Alice Liddell reflects on her childhood, it is apparent that she was a very curious little girl.  She's the daughter of Dean Christ Church in Oxford, surprisingly sensible, incredibly charming and the inspiration of the little girl in Alice in Wonderland. 

There were many characters that absolutely unsettled me.  Mr. Ruskin and unfortunately, Mr. Dodgson were just a couple of the characters that I ultimately did not like.  I wanted to like Mr. Dodgson but there was just a feeling I got when reading about him that I couldn't reconcile.

I must say that the relationship between Alice and her mother drives me insane.  I have never read about a relationship so poor, so unhealthy.  I causes me great pain and anger to read their interactions and her mother's final insults.

Alice, however, was most definitely a great character and I really enjoyed hearing her story.  I've always been curious as to the person who inspired the bright-eyed Alice in Alice in Wonderland. Although, this is a fictional story, I love the fact that someone took the time to create this world that centered around the life of Alice Liddell.  She is such an adventurous girl, not afraid to speak her mind or do what she wanted.  Only pausing to consider her class standing and the proper ways of a young woman, every once in a while.  Even when tragedy strikes Alice stays strong, empowering.

Melanie Benjamin does a spectacular job writing the history of Alice Liddell.  This fictional account of a real woman, provides so much insight to what could have been the relationship between Lewis Carol and Alice.  There were times when I sincerely believed Alice was really telling me about the trials and tribulations of her life.  Her writing is enchanting and utterly convincing, she captured me as Mr. Dodgson had captured the young Alice with his stories.

Stars: 4/5


"Melanie Benjamin blends the known with the unknown in a seamless tale of love, loss and myth. It's storytelling at its finest."
           —Sarah Addison Allen

 "Benjamin draws on one of the most enduring relationships in children's literature... spinning out the heartbreaking story of Alice from Alice in Wonderland...Focusing on three eras in Alice's life, Benjamin offers a finely wrought portrait of Alice that seamlessly blends facts with fiction. This is book club gold."
           —Publishers Weekly starred review, "Pick of the Week"

"Melanie Benjamin works valiantly to conjure up the real girl behind the Wonderland myth, and finds glints of genuine magic."
          —Entertainment Weekly

1 comment:

  1. An interesting idea to write a 'autobiography' for a fictional character.

    Thanks for sharing your review for the Eclectic Reader Challenge

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out