I’d seen the movie a hundred times as a kid, but I don’t know if I’d ever read the book. I think I’d tried a few times (the first few pages seemed very familiar) but never made it all the way through.
Ahhh, but as I’m quickly learning with this 100 book challenge, sometimes one needs to have a bit of maturity behind them to truly appreciate what an author is trying to get across (I discovered this recently when I read To Kill a Mockingbird).
Alice in Wonderland is completely and utterly ridiculous. Babies turn into pigs, white roses get painted red, and cakes make you grow really big (or sometimes really small). Carroll doesn’t take time to explain how these things can be true, he simply states them as fact. And that’s what makes the book so appealing.
The Vintage version I bought had both Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass and they were just as delightful as each other. I took my time to enjoy each chapter, and read many of them to my baby daughter and we sat outside on the deck. This work is meant to be read aloud. When you hear the words being spoken, the story sounds so much more ridiculous.
Most sections made me laugh, and some sections made me pause and have a good long think. The book essentially points out the foolishness of society. I can think of people in my life who are just like the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat and the Queen of Hearts (which one are you?). Who would have thought Carroll could come up with such ridiculous-yet-relateable characters that would still be relevant 150 years on?
I’m looking forward to re-reading this one to my daughter one day. She loved it this time round, and I suspect she’ll like it even more in a few years.
PS – a bit of trivia for you: This Vintage version of the book explains how Alice through the Looking-Glass is entirely based around an actual game of chess. Each character in the story is a piece on the chess board, and as Alice travels she is in fact moving from square to square until the Queen is conquered and the King is check-mate.
In July 2014 I set myself the challenge to finish 100 must-read books before I die. For my ongoing tally click here.Follow @jessieansons