This week I was supposed to read and review Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath. However due to a couple of things the book only arrived today so knowing I wouldn’t have the chance to read the just under 500 page book for today I read or rather re-read Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.
We follow young Alice and a white rabbit down the rabbit hole and into a few surprising encounters in a rather wondrous place where hare, rabbit, turtle and mouse speak. And people are somewhat mad to say the least.
I read that book a very long time ago when I was in 3rd grade (almost 30 years ago damn!); I played the Duchess’s cook and the Queen of Hearts in a rendition of the play we made that year at school. Interesting though how I never remembered that even though she keeps saying ‘off with their head’ not one of the condemned is actually beheaded. What a disappointment 😛 .
I’ll be honest Alice in Wonderland is one of my least favourite children’s books: I mean it didn’t impress me. It didn’t mark my childhood in any remarkable way. Surprisingly though because really most of my own travels in imaginary lands actually happen while I’m daydreaming like Alice. I too get down the rabbit hole and get lost until I come back. Yet, I never connected with the story or the character of Alice.
Maybe because I was (maybe still am who knows?) a bit like her: eating and drinking everything that she puts her hand on, even though it has catastrophic results. I never did grow up to a mile high though. Too curious for her own good. And that slightly schizophrenic attitude of arguing with oneself, although I do believe that every person with some shreds of imagination feels like that once in a while.
I guess as a kid I didn’t understand the absurdity of it and maybe the humour behind that absurdity. As an adult I find it overrated. And I still don’t really get the sort of absurd humour: I must have lost my capacity to appreciate the British humour, which I find somewhat sad (for me). Still I’m not entirely sure it’s a book I’d read to or with my kids…
It’s an easy read for sure but to say I enjoyed it… not really. The Cheshire cat isn’t as creepy as I remembered, the tea party isn’t as funny as I recalled. And the mock turtle? Where is this story going? As I said, I’m sure I’m missing the humour in the absurdity. But if one has to explain why it’s funny then it no longer is right?
And to be fairly honest, I’m not sure what the morale of the story is. If anyone felt like enlightening me I’d appreciate that. I’ll keep the book; after all it’s on my e-reader and I can retrieve it any time but I don’t know if I’ll pick it up again.
Have you read it?
What did you take away from it?