Thursday, 9 July 2020

Mini Reviews: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through The Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll


Sorry, my graphics are mismatched! I made them (and wrote the mini-reviews) months apart after finishing each book. Oh well. 

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On an ordinary summer's afternoon, Alice tumbles down a hole and an extraordinary adventure begins. In a strange world with even stranger characters, she meets a rabbit with a pocket watch, joins a Mad Hatter's Tea Party, and plays croquet with the Queen! Lost in this fantasy land, Alice finds herself growing more and more curious by the minute...


This is quite possibly the most random book I have ever read in my life. Call me old fashioned but I expect a book to have an actual point… A beginning, middle and end with highs and lows and varying pace but this book had none of that. There was no point whatsoever and I’m utterly befuddled on how it became a classic. It read like a freaking acid trip with Alice plodding along like an entitled brat from one random encounter to another. Nothing is explained, nothing seems to have a particular purpose… It’s like random word vomit jumping from one scene to the next.
It begins abruptly and it ends worse than the series finale of Lost.
However! I was bemused from beginning to end and actually laughed out loud a few times.

If I’d been reading this book instead of listening to the audio, I’d have struggled to get through it but listening to it in the car to and from work was not a chore for Miriam Margolyes' narration was absolutely superb! She was animated and really breathed life into the characters giving each their own accents and inflections and varying her tone and pace to suit the story.
Her narration generated a sense of enthusiasm for the text that I feel I wouldn’t have managed to conjure up on my own so I highly recommend listening to it if you fancy falling down a rabbit hole!

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When Alice steps through the looking-glass, she enters a very strange world of chess pieces and nursery rhyme characters such as Humpty Dumpty, Tweedledee and Tweedledum and the angry Red Queen. Nothing is what it seems and, in fact, through the looking-glass, everything is distorted...


Through The Looking Glass: And What Alice Found There is every bit as nonsensical, whimsical and ridiculous as the first book. The only difference is that Alice steps through a mirror into a random world rather than falling down a rabbit hole. 
It was pointless, slightly annoying, and had me questioning why the hell Alice is a literary classic. 
It was definitely something conjured up during an opium binge and probably only truly likeable if you are likewise wasted. 
It was less funny and entertaining than the first and, once again, it was only Miriam Margolyes' narration that saved the tale and prevented it from being a DNF. Her storytelling and plummy accent suit this story beautifully and she does a marvellous job of bringing the characters to life.

All in all, I cannot say I recommend but it's nice to have read the books and to have formed my own opinion on them!

12 comments:

  1. I haven't read many of the classics (or if I did, it was so long ago I don't remember lol)

    I remember liking the chesire cat (from the animated movie) but that's about it.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. I'm not big on classics but I'm trying to read/listen to a few more of them.

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  2. Uh yeah. It was a DNF for me, whatever version of it I tried to read. I like things which make sense. The Disney movie was also a bomb for me.

    Anne - Books of My Heart

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    1. I liked the live actions is so much as I could watch them but neither the live actions much resembled the books... They just had the characters and a few key settings.

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  3. It's always amusing to me to hear what people think of classics like these. They often sound so random and not something most people would really love if published today.

    -lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. I find that with classics too... That maybe we've just lost whatever it was that made them resonate over the course of time or something.

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  4. I read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland 10-12 years ago and wasn’t a fan. Like you said, it just felt so random a and absolutely nothing seemed to make sense or have purpose. And then it ended. I don’t even think I would have liked it as a child. Ha!

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    1. I'm glad I didn't read it as a child... It would have put me off reading, lol.

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  5. I read these when I was maybe 8 or 10 years old and enjoyed them. I wonder if that makes a difference? Maybe kids are just more willing to roll with whatever the author writes? I re-read them at some point and still enjoyed them but I agree that Through the Looking Glass is definitely the weaker of the two. Sorry these didn't work for you!

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    1. I can roll with a lot but these just seemed to lack any purpose or plot... But to each their own! :)

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  6. I DNFed Alice when I read it a few years back and I agree with your comments. I didn't like Alice and thought she was a brat and found the story too jumbled up for me. I never read the next one.

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    1. I had the audiobooks because the kid listened to them (and loved them) so I listened while cooking... All I can say is thankfully they're short!

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