Last week, we went on a little spontaneous road trip. One of our favorite things to do while we drive is listen to audio books. We downloaded several options for this trip and decided on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland because it was surprisingly short (always nice to be able to finish it!).
A few initial thoughts:
- This book reads like a strange dream. The style is very stream of consciousness.
- Again, this novel is surprisingly short which is a good thing.
- I am impressed by the Disney movie for being very true to the dialogue and plot structure overall.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll follows the experiences of young Alice as she finds herself in Wonderland. When Alice sees a white rabbit hurrying along near her home, she follows it and falls down the rabbit hole into Wonderland. There she finds a host of strange and funny characters including a Duchess and her pepper-happy cook; a March hare, sleepy door mouse and mad hatter; the overly-enthusiastic-for-decapitations Queen of Hearts; and the mysterious Cheshire Cat. Alice goes on many adventures–growing smaller and taller almost constantly–as she tries to return home. Was it all a dream or did Alice really go to Wonderland?
Alice is a precocious child who kept us laughing. I love how she takes in all the strange sights and people of Wonderland. She has some interesting conversations with them. She seems the perfect balance between innocence and wisdom–innocent enough to believe in Wonderland but wise enough to be logical about how to traverse it. And I suppose without her curiosity, the whole story would not take place. I also appreciated that Alice eventually wants to go home. While the adventures are numerous–and at times overwhelming–she still prefers to go home in the end.
We enjoyed the one line morals throughout the book which give some sense to the illogical storyline. I was surprised by how logical and even poignant some of them are. Perhaps Lewis Carroll wasn’t trying to make sense (in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was doing the opposite!), but I appreciated the moments of clarity.
Here are some of our favorites:
The ending seems a bit rushed and lacks explanation–but I also kind of like it. Or perhaps it’s just the original “was it all a dream?” story. I would have liked more explanation about how Alice got home. With so much imagination throughout the story, I expected more than just her appearing back next to her sister. The moments we spend with Alice’s sister and her dreamlike Wonderland adventures are intriguing. And I liked the way the novel ends without telling us if Alice’s adventures were dreams or not.
While I enjoyed the stories and the humor, this wasn’t my favorite classic. This novel is just a bit weird for my husband and I. It was hard to follow the direction of the plot because sometimes there was not direction at all. Sometimes, we just looked at each other in confusion–what was that mock turtle singing about? why did the Duchess’ baby turn into a pig? why is the knave’s trial even happening? And how did Alice get home? Overall, it left me with more frustrating and confusing questions.
I do kind of want to read Through the Looking Glass to find out if Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum are in that book. And we definitely want to watch the classic Disney animated film now!