Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Book review by Deane Barker tags: fiction, classic

It’s tough to review this book. It was written 150 years ago, and I am clearly not the intended audience. It’s a children’s story, which came from a story that the author made up to tell to three young girls one afternoon.

To be clear: there’s no real narrative here. The story is basically a fever dream or drug trip. There are no plot points, no plot progression, no…plot. It’s nothing but a non-stop hallucination of sorts.

Alice is sitting on a riverbank and sees a rabbit with a pocket watch who vocalizes that he’s concerned about being late. Then he jumps down a hole, and Alice follows.

She falls a while. She shrinks, she grows, she walks through doors, she talks to animals, she interrupts tea parties, she gets in arguments with an anthropomorphic deck of cards, etc.

At the “end” (in quotes because it’s the end of the book, not the end of any linear narrative that could make sense), she gets in an argument with the Queen (a playing card), a physical fight ensues…then she wakes up.

Yes, it was all a dream

…sort of. In the last pages, her sister (in real life) lays down in the same spot as Alice and seemingly starts having the same dream…? Maybe ?

(Note: I have not read any plot summaries at this moment, so this is my interpretation from my read. Maybe I missed something?)

It’s a short book. My copy was a leather-bound reproduction of the original, and it’s 150 pages with extremely large type. My total reading time was maybe 40 minutes.

What I do find interesting is the enduing phrases, situations, and characters that have from the book:

  • The concept of going “Down the rabbit hole…”
  • “Off with her head!”
  • “I’m late, I’m late! For a very important date! “
  • “It is better to be feared than loved.”
  • “Not all who wander are lost.”
  • “Birds of a feather flock together.”
  • The Cheshire Cat (who doesn’t seem to serve any purpose to the “plot”)

So, I choose to read the book as a historical artifact; a product of its time. It would be interesting to be in the historical mindset of Victorian England, and the mental mindset of a child. which is probably the only way to really appreciate it.

Book Info

Lewis Carroll

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