Monday, 7 January 2013

Review: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Author: Lewis Carroll. Website 
Published: 26 November 1865 (Originally published)
Format: Hardback Illustrated Edition (Macmillan)
Pages: 192
Project Gutenberg: E-book 
Amazon: Paperback|Kindle
Waterstone's: Paperback|e-book
Book Depository: Paperback
Challenge: 2013 Children's Classics Challenge

Source: Own

Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
Journey with Alice down the rabbit hole into a world of wonder where oddities, logic and wordplay rule supreme. Encounter characters like the grinning Cheshire Cat who can vanish into thin air, the cryptic Mad Hatter who speaks in riddles and the harrowing Queen of Hearts obsessed with the phrase "Off with their heads!" This is a land where rules have no boundaries, eating mushrooms will make you grow or shrink, croquet is played with flamingos and hedgehogs, and exorbitant trials are held for the theft of tarts. Amidst these absurdities, Alice will have to find her own way home. 

My Review:
This is one of the books that really prompted me to start this challenge. I've had it on my shelves since I was a child! Everyone knows the story of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland but how many people have read it instead of just hearing about it? It's one of those stories that everyone knows but that I've never read, so I'm very glad I've changed that!

What I really liked about this book was that the action starts straight away. I knew Alice was going to end up down a rabbit hole and I had to wait less than two pages until that happened - fantastic! I absolutely fell in love with Alice as a character because she takes all the bizarre things that are happening to her completely in her stride. Even as she's falling down the rabbit hole the most important thing to her is her cat Dinah. I thought her habit of talking to herself made for a really great narration of the story. Alice strikes me as someone who doesn't really think much before she speaks!

I think the title is very apt, in that the story definitely feels like a connection of adventures. Suddenly we move from one weird situation to another, with very little happening between each event except Alice very slowly moving through Wonderland. I was expecting the book to be bonkers but it was actually a lot more coherent than I thought it would be and very readable! Most importantly it was fun. I think my favourite part was the croquet match where you use flamingos as clubs and hedgehogs as balls. That's exactly the kind of imaginative, fun, lighthearted things I love in a story! Having the Queen around generally added to the entertainment as well. I thought she was hilarious!

The copy I have is illustrated and I would definitely recommend grabbing an illustrated copy of this book if you decide to read it. The description is magical enough to hold its own but I thought the pictures really brought it to life and just added something a bit extra!

Sure it goes off on a few tangents and that was my only real flaw I think - just some bits that I didn't quite likes as much didn't feel necessary. But overall this book has so many quirky things that make it so likeable. I loved the talking animals, Alice's frustration at never being the same size and the little rhymes, songs and poems that are scattered throughout the story, as well as the focus on word play. The writing was just so brilliant. If you've seen any of the film adaptations but never read the book then definitely go ahead and read it - I devoured it in a few hours!

Rating: 4*
What to read next: Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
Books like this: Splintered by A. G. Howard, Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

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