Overall I found this book dull and lacking. I’m not sure if it has to do with it being built up so much throughout my lifetime (the two big films: the animated Disney which I grew up with and the 2010 Johnny Depp/Tim Burton version) or perhaps because it’s only half the story I know (I didn’t read Through the Looking Glass with it), but I was completely and utterly underwhelmed with this book. On the plus side it counted for the Back to Classics, Mount TBR and The Classics Club Challenges.
I will say that the book is incredibly short and that worked in its favor. If I had to read more than 89 pages of what came across to me as rambling nonsense, I would not have finished the book. It did make me wonder about whether it was a novel or a novella and a quick internet search says novel. (Novels feature more conflicts than novellas and novellas feature more than short stories according to the ever accurate Wikipedia.)
For example, most of the book came across sounding a lot like this to me:
“Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise.” (63)
Although this novel is the lighter of the two novels, and I think the fact that it is a dream supports this, it is very indecisive and inconclusive. I felt like there was no ending and that it was just a ramble through a dream without any purpose or meaning. And I guess that makes sense if it’s a nonsensical novel, but it wasn’t for me.
Recommendation: Plan on reading both Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass if you want to enjoy the whole story. I don’t know if I’ll read Through the Looking Glass this year, but I should so that things aren’t left in turmoil for me.
Opening Line: “Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, ‘and what is the use of a book,’ thought Alice ‘without pictures of conversation?'”
Closing Line: “Lastly, she pictured to herself how this same little sister of hers would, in the after-time, be herself a grown woman; and how she would keep, through all her riper years, the simple and loving heart of her childhood: and how she would gather about her other little children, and make THEIR eyes bright and eager with many a strange tale, perhaps even with the dream of Wonderland of long ago: and how she would feel with all their simple sorrows, and find a pleasure in all their simple joys, remembering her own child-life, and the happy summer days.” (Whited out.)