Earlier this year, I took it upon myself to read more classic literature — books that are the cornerstones of literature and storytelling, and books that have – or should – set precedent for modern literature. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, I believe, is one of those books; there is something magical and wonderful in the book’s narrative that the Disney adaptation just cannot capture.
Whilst reading this book, I had this sense that this book is the ideal book for a child and their parent or an adult to read together. Though the narrative is simple and easy to read, the prose is written in a way that makes it silly, but simultaneously playful and imaginative. And I think this sort of narrative, that doesn’t take itself so seriously and is conscious of its tone, is the ideal story to share with young children. It’s a comforting read – where silly and wild imaginations are encouraged, and perception is broadened as we view a strange world through Alice’s, a young child, mind and perceptions.
Also whilst reading this, I felt that this book was tapping into my subconscious; I had a similar reading experience whilst reading Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. And while it may not have the sophistication that Hard-Boiled Wonderland does, the aimlessness and purposelessness of the narrative and Alice’s journey feels like an exploration of the Other and the unknown – such as the possibilities within our consciousness or the boundaries of what we can conceptualize. This, I think, is what a children’s book should do – something that encourages childhood perceptiveness and reignites the adult imagination.
Analysis aside, I enjoyed the ideas and the effect of Alice in Wonderland more than the story itself. Don’t get me wrong with the rating – I recognize the importance and cleverness of this book and its narrative, but in terms of how much I enjoyed it, I found it entertaining enough to continue reading – it also helped that this book wasn’t very long, otherwise I might have struggled through it. So with regards to its rating, it’s not due to the faults of the book; it’s really attributed to my personal taste.
Book Name: Alice in Wonderland (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland)
Author: Lewis Carroll
Publisher: Gramercy Books