Friday Morning Bookclub

March 10, 2011

Alice I Have Been

Filed under: Alice I Have Been,Book Recomendations,Historical Fiction — Esther @ 2:49 pm

“Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll has been a favorite of mine since early childhood.  I was eager, therefore, to read Melanie Benjamin’s novel, “Alice I Have Been”, which was the “story of the real Alice”.  A fascinating book, it certainly left me looking at “Alice in Wonderland” in a whole new light!  Alice was actually a young girl named Alice Liddell.  She was one of the daughters of the Dean of Christ Church College at Oxford.  Lewis Carroll was the pen name for Charles Dodgeson, a rather nerdy, socially inept math teacher at the college.  Mr. Dodgeson had a rather unusual interest in little girls.  An amateur photographer, he would often take the girls on outings and photograph them in different settings.  Such was the case with Alice and her sisters.  On one such outing, he regaled the girls with the story of a little girl named Alice who followed a white rabbit down a rabbit hole and had amazing adventures.  Alice Liddell later pleaded with him to write the story down, and thus, “Alice in Wonderland” was born.  In truth, the life of Alice Liddell was not so simple.  Charles Dodgeson’s interest in her led to some innappropriate behavior, which caused a wedge to come between Alice and her mother.  As Alice grew into adulthood, and then, into old age, she was always haunted by the fact that she was “that Alice”.  For lovers of historical fiction, this is a pleasant read about characters that we have grown up with.  I enjoyed it.

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