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Lewis Carroll – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Title: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Author: Lewis Carroll
Year: 1865

There are several things about Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland that are frankly astonishing. First, it is astonishing that I have neither read the book nor seen any of the various film adaptations. It seems to be such an integral part of Western culture that it is a pity I did not enjoy it earlier. Second, the book itself is astonishing in many ways, which is what I will discuss in this review.

The story of a young girl who follows a white rabbit into a hole in the ground, ought to be familiar to even those who have not read the book. Alice explores this absurd, dreamlike Wonderland with a sense of curiosity, courage and integrity. She meets with a number of figures and situations in contrast to which her child’s mind seems to be the pinnacle of logical thinking (which it is not). These scenes are expertly depicted through use of verse and prose blended into a colourful and entertaining whole.

What is interesting about the absurdities of Wonderland is that they have a lot of bearing to the real world. The problems poor Alice encounters seem similar to oddities and irregularities of human grown-up behaviour and society, to which young Alice as well as many readers also have to relate to when growing up. Carroll manages to be serious and absurd at the same time, which is very uncommon indeed.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is pure joy to read. Not only is the story and its figures brilliant (how about a hookah-smoking, wise old caterpillar?), but they are described in the most marvellous of ways. Aiming for a young audience, the text is concise, to the point and extremely accurate, which suits me fine.

Conclusively, the interlaced bizarre humour and more serious themes create a truly wonderful story that I can recommend to everyone. I have not yet read the sequel Through the Looking-Glass, but I will as soon as I have finished a couple of other books I want to read.