Sunday, January 29, 2012

REVIEW: Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin

Title: Alice I Have Been
Author: Melanie Benjamin
Date Published: January 12, 2010
Page Count: 345 Pages
Year Read: 2010

Goodreads: Few works of literature are as universally beloved as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Now, in this spellbinding historical novel, we meet the young girl whose bright spirit sent her on an unforgettable trip down the rabbit hole–and the grown woman whose story is no less enthralling.

But oh my dear, I am tired of being Alice in Wonderland. Does it sound ungrateful?

Alice Liddell Hargreaves’s life has been a richly woven tapestry: As a young woman, wife, mother, and widow, she’s experienced intense passion, great privilege, and greater tragedy. But as she nears her eighty-first birthday, she knows that, to the world around her, she is and will always be only “Alice.” Her life was permanently dog-eared at one fateful moment in her tenth year–the golden summer day she urged a grown-up friend to write down one of his fanciful stories.

That story, a wild tale of rabbits, queens, and a precocious young child, becomes a sensation the world over. Its author, a shy, stuttering Oxford professor, does more than immortalize Alice–he changes her life forever. But even he cannot stop time, as much as he might like to. And as Alice’s childhood slips away, a peacetime of glittering balls and royal romances gives way to the urgent tide of war.

For Alice, the stakes could not be higher, for she is the mother of three grown sons, soldiers all. Yet even as she stands to lose everything she treasures, one part of her will always be the determined, undaunted Alice of the story, who discovered that life beyond the rabbit hole was an astonishing journey.

A love story and a literary mystery, Alice I Have Been brilliantly blends fact and fiction to capture the passionate spirit of a woman who was truly worthy of her fictional alter ego, in a world as captivating as the Wonderland only she could inspire.

Alice I have Been by Melanie Benjamin is a historical novel that made me change the way I thought about Lewis Carroll or should I say, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Carroll's real name). Though I did enjoy this novel... I would not recommend it to anyone who is not a fan of his works "The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass..." and of course all you fans out there should pick up this book and read it. It's a very interesting novel for a historical fiction novel.

I liked how Benjamin would basically show how Alice Liddell influenced the children's book. Like how her mother calls all her maids Mary Ann just like the White Rabbit does in the Children's Book.
"Only one person noticed. The Marry Ann from the kitchen- Mamma called all maids Mary Ann; she said it was easier that way--" Young Alice... in a flashback ( Alice I have Been, page 51)
I found that kinda funny, also it made me wonder if this was actually true, but true or not it worked in my opinion. Another thing that caught my interest was the fact that Mr. Dodgson (well from how I looked at this novel) he was portrayed as the Mad Hatter. For example, he would always be wearing a hat and tea would be mentioned every now and again... when he was around. Also, how there is a fanbase sense on how Alice and the Mad Hatter have like a thing for each other... (spoiler?!)

"Wonderland" photography by Jae Feinberg
(Barbizon USA's IMTA NY 2010)

Overall, I really loved Melanie Benjamin's view of how the "real Alice's" life was... and I defiantly loved how she captured the voice and place and time period it was easy for me to read and imagine the time and events. This novel was just beautifully written... I loved how she portrayed the children's novel in this book...  just read this novel to see what I am talking about....

Let me just say if your an Alice fan you will enjoy this novel or at the very least find it interesting :D

My Rate: ★★★
Overall (Goodreads) Rate: 3.61 Stars
( o u t . o f . f i v e . stars)

[Check out @ Goodreads]

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