Friday, June 6, 2014

Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin

Alice I Have Been
By Melanie Benjamin
Paperback, 345 pages
Published December 21st 2010 by Bantam

Summary: Part love story, part literary mystery, Melanie Benjamin’s spellbinding historical novel leads readers on an unforgettable journey down the rabbit hole, to tell the story of a woman whose own life became the stuff of legend. Her name is Alice Liddell Hargreaves, but to the world she’ll always be known simply as “Alice,” the girl who followed the White Rabbit into a wonderland of Mad Hatters, Queens of Hearts, and Cheshire Cats. Now, nearing her eighty-first birthday, she looks back on a life of intense passion, great privilege, and greater tragedy. First as a young woman, then as a wife, mother, and widow, she’ll experience adventures the likes of which not even her fictional counterpart could have imagined. Yet from glittering balls and royal romances to a world plunged into war, she’ll always be the same determined, undaunted Alice who, at ten years old, urged a shy, stuttering Oxford professor to write down one of his fanciful stories, thus changing her life forever.


Alice I Have Been tells the story of Alice Liddell and her relationship with Mr. Dodgson who later is known for Lewis Carroll. It starts off with 7 year old Alice being taken by Mr. Dodgson to in her 80s where she prefers to believe Dodgson is part of her past that she wishes to remain in her past. The story also goes into detail about her love affair with a soon to be king. We watch Alice grow up and how difficult it is for her to shake the image of Alice. It's a part of her past that she wishes to ignore, but the world does not let her forget.

I LOVED this story. I have always loved Alice In Wonderland spin offs, but this is a much different spin off. It has a little bit of truth to it and isn't about wonderland itself, but how wonderland became and how wonderland was soon forgotten. While this book may not fit everyone. The relationship between Alice and Dodgson could be turned off because of their huge age difference but also remember that during that time it was normal. If you put that behind, then this book is a fantastic read.

You find yourself feeling sorry for Alice as she goes through so much in her life, and how she never changes as a person. She suffers love loss and death multiple times. It raises a question on what exactly happened that made Alice hate Carroll so much that she completely washed him out of her history every chance she had.

It was beautifully written, and highly recommend if you're a Alice in Wonderland fan.

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