Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Book Review: Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin

Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Length: 368 pages

But oh my dear, I am tired of being Alice in Wonderland. Does it sound ungrateful?

Alice Liddell Hargreaves's life has been a richly woven tapestry: As a young woman, wife, mother, and widow, she's experienced intense passion, great privilege, and greater tragedy. But as she nears her eighty-first birthday, she knows that, to the world around her, she is and will always be only "Alice."

A love story and a literary mystery, ALICE I HAVE BEEN brilliantly blends fact and fiction to capture the passionate spirit of a woman who was truly worthy of her fictional alter ego, in a world as captivating as the Wonderland only she could inspire.

Review: I wasn’t originally planning to read this book. I heard about it on a podcast, and I thought it sounded interesting but I didn’t really want to pick it up at first—I can’t really say why. And then I heard about it on the radio, and then a friend mentioned it, and then it was on display at the library, so...I just had to pick it up. And I’m so glad I did.

This book was filled with the kinds of interesting facts mixed with story that makes historical fiction so interesting to me. Not a whole lot is known about the real Alice or her relationship between the man who would become Lewis Carroll, and this book filled in the gaps to make her into a very realistic person. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to read Alice in Wonderland the same way, because I’ll always be thinking about this book when I do.

Besides the fact that it just puts a personality to someone I’d never thought much about, this book also told a fantastic story, which was even more interesting because it was at least partially true. Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) in the books was much more creepy than I had ever imagined, and a kind of pedophile way. But he wasn’t a creepy person…he was just obsessed with little girls. Okay, that does make him sound creepy. But it was fun and interesting to read about.

Alice’s story was extremely well told, not just as the story about the girl from Alice in Wonderland but as a story of a life. I loved it in almost every way, and it definitely deserves to be read. it, because you won't regret it.


  1. Sounds like an awesome read! I'll have to add it to my wishlist.

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