Thanks to the animated movie, I knew the characters and I felt like I was being reunited with old friends. I especially felt this during the Mad Tea Party, which I think must rank among the most brilliant comic scenes in English literature. However, Alice proves that books for children need not be dumbed down or sentimentalized. There are some dark undercurrents to the excellent humor . And the beautiful concluding paragraph is a startling, Shakespearean meditation on childhood, age, and eventual womanhood. And then of course there’s the drug use of the caterpillar and Carroll’s suggested pedophiliac obsession with young girls. But people who approach Alice as psychedelic literature or a creepy Lolita story, I think, miss the point.
There’s also something that’s fun and a bit surprising when we’re reading something we thought we knew really well (because we’ve been exposed to the stories for so long even if we haven’t read the actual story). I know my ratings are always subjective based on when and where I’ve read a specific book. It’s clear that I was ready to have fun down the rabbit hole! RC Sherriff’s 1928 play Journey’s End provides a powerful example.
In fact, if you are really into fairy tales, I imagine this could be a one sitting book. These things interested the adult reader in me, but Alice is really for children of all ages.
The time zipped by so quickly after again having been sucked into the story. I highly recommend this Audio book to anyone, whether you are new to the story or not. Since its publication in 1952, Charlotte’s Web has become one of America’s best-loved children’s books. For fifty years, this timeless story of the pig named Wilbur and the wise spider named Charlotte who saved him has continued to warm the hearts of readers everywhere. This 1953 Newbery Honor Book comes to life in a delightful unabridged recording, read lovingly by the author himself. I’d read Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland a few years ago; however, I just felt like picking it up again and I’m glad I did. I don’t know why, but I enjoyed Alice’s observations and the humor more this time.
However, these questions do add to the depth of the reading experience. Over the next 30 years, Carroll experimented with this idea in various ways.
There is a lovely innocence to Alice and a startling and surprising freshness to all the creatures and characters she meets. It does sometimes feel like an acid trip, but then so does Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and other high flights of fancy. The great thing here is the oblique criticism of societal norms and the evocation of youth and innocence that is unforgettable and ageless. This is yet another book that one should read to their own kids as a gift for their imagination. If I didn’t already know the story and the basic plot points of Alice in Wonderland from movies, books, and other pop culture retellings, I think this book would have been very confusing. I didn’t realize how short the Wonderland part of Alice’s story is so, despite the bizarre writing, it was a pretty quick read.
It’s one I remember very fondly of my childhood after having countless books and even an audio book which I had read and listened to many times. So when I heard that this version was available I had to get it! It is read so well and each character was brought to life exceptionally by Scarlett’s performance.
For most of the action, the Alice books remain in the background, like the steady grumbling of the guns; only occasionally do they flare into life to remind the audience that they have been there all along. The night before a planned raid on the German lines, the officer Osborne takes a small leather-bound copy of the story from his pocket and starts to read. Initially it appears to be straightforward escapism, rather as he proposes that they avoid thinking about the busy worms in their trench by talking about croquet instead. My own memories of the Alice books go back much further than my earliest memory of reading. They were always there, full of quirky figures that helped to populate the busy borderland where real life shaded into the world of stories, and that is where they remained for the next 40-odd years. I visited Wonderland as a reader from time to time, but for the most part Carroll’s story remained quietly in the background.
Only when I started to investigate Alice’s literary birth and afterlife did I discover that I knew far less about her than I had assumed. You may have seen the Disney film or been to a play, but most everyone growing up in a Western European-based culture has had some contact in some form with Alice and her adventures. I cannot recommend high enough actually reading Lewis Carroll’s superb book written for his daughter Alice’s bedtime story.
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