Published by Seven Seas on August 19th, 2014
Genres: Childrens, Classics, Fantasy
Bored on a hot afternoon, Alice, a bright and inquisitive child, follows a white rabbit down a rabbit-hole, and finds herself in Wonderland, a very odd place indeed. This unique story mixes satire and puzzles, comedy and anxiety, Mock Turtles and Gryphos to provide an astute description of the experience of childhood.
Lewis Carroll's beloved and witty story was made into an animated film by Disney in 1951. It is also the inspiration for Tim Burton's 2010 film where an adult Alice returns to the peculiar world she discovered as a child. The film features Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway among a cast of British stars.
I think Alice in Wonderland is one of those stories that everyone is familiar with in some way – after all, there have only been about a thousand different movie adaptations. But I’d never actually read the original book, until with book club I finally decided to fill this gap in my life. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass is delightful.
In some blurb somewhere, I’d heard Alice described as being literary nonsense – and it’s just about the most perfect description ever. Do not go into Alice hoping to find some sense or explanation. There is none. It’s a light story about a little girl’s limitless imagination and how this brings EVERYTHING into the realm of possibility. You just need to go along for the ride and prepare to be amused. Someone once told me that the story’s actually dark and creepy, but I did not get that feeling at all. This is clearly a childrens’ classic. Perhaps adding an element of fear would have enhanced the story, but it is what it is. Alice is cute, though she’s such a weird weird child. The things she imagines, all the times she talks to herself… I was torn between being worried about her and just being amused. But my amusement quickly won out.
I will say that my favorite adaptations of the story, however, are the ones that try to create some back story for the characters (primarily Alice), complete the plot arcs, or add some mystery about whether or not Wonderland was a dream. Ultimately I think that makes the story much more interesting, but knowing that this is a classic, the original, and certainly one of the most unique books published in its time, I could set that aside easily enough. Alice is pure entertainment.
I suppose I’d almost venture to say that I liked Through the Looking-Glass a bit better than its prequel though. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is very much about imagination and creative characters and the like. Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There though became much more about the hilarity of the English language. It was continuous word play, and I just found myself chuckling on every other page. They really get into some ridiculous phrases, words with double meanings, and the dialogue is just hilarious to me. It’s still nonsense, but it pokes fun at our language, and I can appreciate the wit. There are elements of satire that are actually extremely clever.
Finally, I read the recently published Seven Seas edition, and I have to say that the illustrations are just plain GORGEOUS. Seven Seas publishes manga, so they illustrated Alice in the manga style and just just *EXPLODES WITH GUSHING* Seriously, they are amazing and there are so many of them and I just want to keep staring at them and stroking them and asdfjkl; If you’re torn about which edition to buy, consider Seven Seas, because this definitely enhanced my experience with the book.