My rating: 3 stars
I finished reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll some weeks ago and wasn’t going to review it. However, I changed my mind, as I have to get some things off my chest. Although I acknowledge that this is quite an imaginative story, I am failing to understand why it is considered a children’s classic. This is not a bad book at all, it just doesn’t have much of a plot besides Alice falling down the rabbit hole and getting involved in some crazy situations.
Once Alice gets to Wonderland, she encounters a vast number of characters, such as the White Rabbit, the Caterpillar, the Hatter, the Queen of Hearts and the Cheshire Cat. None of them are well developed, since the reader doesn’t get to know much about their traits and backgrounds. Two things are certain though: they all seem to be quite mad and their interactions don’t make much sense. The meeting between the Cheshire Cat and Alice during which she asks him “How do you know I’m mad?” and he replies “You must be. Or you wouldn’t have come here” is one of the rare occasions when the dialogue between the characters makes perfect sense.
If we imagine that all the mad encounters that take place are nothing more than a dream, then what happens in the story makes sense in a way. However, for me that possibility doesn’t transform this book into an extraordinary one, but only a satisfactory one at best, since the story doesn’t seem to go anywhere. While reading it, I kept looking for an occurrence that could be perceived as a true moment of confrontation that would lead to a resolution. But I really couldn’t find one. The Queen of Hearts asking for everyone’s heads and the trial looked more like extra moments of madness, adding to the already extensive list of those occasions.
The three-star rating of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is mainly due to the inventive set of circumstances and the last two pages. It was at that point that I started considering the potential metaphor behind the story and that two questions came into my mind. Can we keep the innocence of childhood after growing up? And, are we more creative as children? Nevertheless, I have to admit that I struggled to finish this short children’s book.