Melanie Benjamin's historic fictional account of the life of Alice Liddell & her childhood encounter with Charles Dodgson (which led to the creation of 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland') fails to fill in the gaps left by the absence of letters, photography, & a first hand account of what really transpired between muse & writer. The footnotes are far more interesting than the fiction of 'Alice I Have Been'. A missed opportunity and a real shame.
Totally agree with MomB96: "The first third of this book was rather uncomfortable to read." In fact, I found the whole book rather distasteful as it focused on a disproven theory and paints Lewis Carroll in a rather unflattering light. I prefer my historical fiction to be about fictional characters, not speculation on the lives of real living people. Other than the subject matter which I didn't care for, this was a good book: well written and enjoyable, if you can approach it as a story and not the facts about what happened to Alice (as the writer states, it isn't exactly intended to be that anyway - though I wish the notes would have come as a prologue that could color your reading instead of something to explain it away).
A novel about the real Alice! When I heard that, I was hooked. Based on Carroll's diaries and other facts about the Lidell family, we learn the origins of Alice in Wonderland. A great read for anyone, whether or not historical fiction is your thing.
Serving suggestion: tea and scones with cream
It's a creepy and sad look of what Alice Liddell life may have been. Alice Liddell being the Alice of Alice in Wonderland. I also like that you never know precisely how the break between her and the man the world will know as Lewis Carroll - was she willing, is this what we think and all that.
It's a commanding, albeit fictional, account of a famous literay muse. It's perhaps one of the ultimate real world examples of "be careful what you wish for." Yes she was a child when she asked the story to be written down so she could be a child forever but what is this book about if not how no one really has one. Or how quickly one has to grow up or what sins we commit as young people.
It's really a profoundly depressing book in many ways but, in the end especially, it is uplifting as well. It's quite an experience to read.
Absolute beautiful story. As a mother of 4 children, I could barely stop crying towards the end because it was so heartbreaking. Highly recomend.
The first third of this book was rather uncomfortable to read. The second third skips to a later period and leaves you wondering how things will turn out. The final third wraps it all up, finally identifying the turning point between the first and second thirds of the book. Except for the second third of the book, it was just an uncomfortable read.
Delightful story about the girl that Alice in Wonderland was supposedly based on. Mixing historical facts with fictional accounts of her life, it was a thoroughly enjoyable read. Leads you to the computer to find out the "real" story.
What do you do when the whole world wants you to stay a child forever? When your juvenile self is more real and lovable to everyone you meet than the adult you? Alice Liddell Hargreaves, the "real life" inspiration for Alice in Wonderland would have been a remarkable woman even had she never met a peculiar mathematics don named Charles Dodgson. As the daughter of the brilliant dean of Oxford’s Christ Church college and his socially ambitious wife, she studied art with John Ruskin, flirted with the sons of Queen Victoria, and was photographed memorably by Julia Margaret Cameron. Her long lifetime encompassed the cataclysmic shifts in English society brought on by the industrial revolution and World War I. Yet despite her rich, emotionally varied life, Alice Liddell, the keen-eyed belle of Oxford, later Mrs Reginald Hargreaves, the country gentleman’s lady, could never escape the long shadow of her childhood relationship with Charles Dodgson. In Melanie Benjamin’s vivid reimagining of her story, _Alice I Have Been_ “Alice” and its author played an unwanted role in much of her later life, and may even have cost the real Alice her one true love.
This fascinating fictional account of the relationship between Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) and Alice Liddel (who inspired Alice in Wonderland) is sure to raise some eyebrows and renew interest in the topic.
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