Panning ‘Alice in Wonderland’
By Kathryn Reed
Just because it’s a classic doesn’t mean it’s a good book. Such is the case with “Alice in Wonderland.”
That was my opinion and that of the majority of the book club I’m in. A classic was chosen for the December book, and this children’s selection was the book of choice.
I’m not sure 92 pages have ever been so painful. As I was reading it, I kept thinking – no wonder I have never read this before.
I can handle talking animals just fine, after all, “Charlotte’s Web” is one of my all-time favorite books. But there is something about Alice that isn’t likable. This seems out of place in a children’s book, that the main character is not someone you are rooting for, so to speak.
I really didn’t like any of the characters. I didn’t even like the story. I’m still trying to figure how it has relevance today and why it’s still in circulation.
Alice is definitely adventurous. Precocious would be another word to describe her. All of that is good. The best part about this book is that a girl is the lead character – and that she is strong. Remember, this was written in 1865.
Each book club member rates the book on whether they liked it, would recommend it and its literary value. Most of us didn’t like it and would not recommend it. I argued it had literary value. Any book this old, that is still being talked about, and is read by adults and children has staying power for some reason. I just can’t figure out that reason.
The author of this article might benefit from getting a book called “The Annotated Alice”. It describes references and historical clues and things that the ordinary person ( such as myself) wouldn’t know and makes Alice more intriguing. Not everything is for everybody, but I love the book!
For whatever it’s worth and for whoever cares, the honors English class in my Christian Brothers taught high school in the late ’50s assigned Alice in Wonderland to the top students. As a member of that class with somewhat below high academic standing, I was given a lesser assignment, but I seem to recall that those top tier guys found it loaded with allegories, and similes and other literary devices that permitted them to later become heads of industry or judges or other kinds of outstanding leaders while I sought a lesser road, uncluttered by literary symbolism, and became a cop.
But Kae, I don’t recall any of them starting an on-line newspaper, so maybe reading Alice killed their literary ambitions, a fate you seem to have avoided.
I wonder if Trump ever read Alice?