My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was far better my second read-through. Some books are like that, striking your fancy more one day than the next. I think for me, the difference came from reading it a few years later. I'm a bit more seasoned and appreciative of witty nonsense verse apparently. This is unlike any other children's novel I've read. It's easy to see why so many people (particularly in the 60's) thought Carroll was on mushrooms when he wrote this. Truth be told, Lewis Carroll was a mathematician, fond of logic puzzles and an Anglican priest in the Victorian Age. His imagination ran wild for that time period in particular. Perhaps it was the cultural constraints of his society that sparked such a need to create a world like Wonderland. After all, it was this same time period that worlds like Oz and Neverland were also invented. Another aspect of the novel I noticed this read-through and missed entirely last time, is that Alice is just as mad as the many characters she meets in Wonderland. Every time she attempts to recite on call, her words become confused and jumbled, and she has a funny habit of talking things out to herself in front of other people. It seems fairly obvious that she did not happen upon this strange world by accident. While Wonderland is proposed to be Alice's dream world, I like to think she belongs there as much as the Hatter & the Hare.
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My rating: 4 of 5 stars
"Through the Looking Glass" was just as much of a pleasure and a puzzle as "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland". I had not realized that many of the elements of the classic story we think of (thanks to Disney's retelling) are featured primarily throughout "Looking Glass." Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the Jabberwocky & Walrus and the Carpenter poems are first given here, as well as the talking flower bed. While I enjoyed the different take and elements to Carroll's sequel, I wasn't as big a fan of Alice's obvious dreaming. At times Alice mysteriously appears in a new location, or a character suddenly transforms into another character, just like in dreams. I think I much prefer the first adventure into Wonderland, where the characters and world are more grounded. "Looking Glass" was much more surreal and at times confusing, yet still delightful.
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