- Kelly McDermott-Bay
- Hello, my name is Kelly and I welcome you to the Bookend Diaries book blog. I created this blog to share my own reviews of existing and new books, to discuss with other readers what we’re currently reading, update you on my book club picks, and of course, to ultimately support the work of the authors we all enjoy. I am addicted to reading and I thought this would be a great way to reach out to other readers who are as obsessed with books as I am.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Alice, I Have Been by: Melanie Benjamin
***Received an advance copy of this book courtesy Bantam Dell Publishing Group
Few works of literature are as universally beloved as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Now, in this spellbinding historical novel, we meet the young girl whose bright spirit sent her on an unforgettable trip down the rabbit hole–and the grown woman whose story is no less enthralling.
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.” Her life was permanently dog-eared at one fateful moment in her tenth year–the golden summer day she urged a grown-up friend to write down one of his fanciful stories.
That story, a wild tale of rabbits, queens, and a precocious young child, becomes a sensation the world over. Its author, a shy, stuttering Oxford professor, does more than immortalize Alice–he changes her life forever. But even he cannot stop time, as much as he might like to. And as Alice’s childhood slips away, a peacetime of glittering balls and royal romances gives way to the urgent tide of war.
For Alice, the stakes could not be higher, for she is the mother of three grown sons, soldiers all. Yet even as she stands to lose everything she treasures, one part of her will always be the determined, undaunted Alice of the story, who discovered that life beyond the rabbit hole was an astonishing journey.
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.
My Review Comments:
This was a beautifully written book describing the life of the real Alice behind Wonderland. The book starts out having Alice at the age of eighty-five looking back at her life. Alice was the daughter of a Dean of Oxford and was brought up in a privileged, intellectual atmosphere among scholars, students and the upper crust of British society. At Oxford, when she was just a little girl, she met Charles Dodgson aka Lewis Carroll, a mathematics professor who became a close family friend. Lewis Carroll, as he would later be known, used to take young Alice and her sisters out for day trips. Alice inspired him to tell stories and he would often photograph the young girls on different occasions. The depiction of Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) is both fascinating and disturbing. Alice was Lewis Carroll’s little muse and when she begged him to write his story that he made up about her, he would later present it to her as a gift. Alice’s family suddenly broke off ties with Lewis Carroll when Alice was still just a child. But, they don’t go into the detail as to why this occurred it is just implied that there may have been something inappropriate going on. Alice develops into a young woman and has a love affair with a prince. Unfortunately their love affair ends badly when the rumors start to fly about her past and because of this, her hope of marriage to him fails. She eventually will marry, not for love but for money and because there is fear that she will become an old maid. She does find happiness with having three sons and eventually, although too late to appreciate, her husband, until he passes. Until her husband dies, she lives a life in obscurity and comfort. She loses two sons to the war and is faced with financial troubles that make her face her past with Lewis Carroll again. She must now sell her original copy of, “Alice In Wonderland “ through Sotheby’s in New York City to save her family fortune.