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monika-chatOkay so…I have such mixed feelings! Intellectually I thought this was outstanding yet…I was sometimes bored. This was the first time I’ve read Alice in Wonderland, that I can remember. Thank goodness the Disney movie was my first experience with the story, yeesh. I know it’s supposed to be nonsense literature. Much of it was deliciously clever. The word play and the logic? Delightful! But it was also batshit crazy in some parts.
catherine-chat2I’m with you, Monika. I can’t imagine I didn’t read this when I was young but reading it as an adult is an experience. Some of it is wonderfully witty but I’m not sure I would have found it witty as a child- it was adult humor. Especially the wordplay. Also, and I’m going to date myself here, there is the whole perception created by Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit, making it seem as if it was all just a massive acid trip. That was part of my curiosity in reading it now.
april-chatI too, didn’t experience this as a young child. I first read this around my senior year of high school when I was going through my ‘hippie phase’. Like Monika, my first exposure was with the animated Disney film, which in itself can be a bit batshit crazy. All that being said though, I love the ridiculousness of the story.

The Caucus race? Makes me think of the ridiculous of politicians and of course the trial at the end about the missing tarts. Commentary on the justice system of the time?
jennifer-chatYOU GUYS. I wish I could invent a time machine and whoosh you back to your childhoods. You didn’t read Alice (for the first time) when you should have, which means that you did it ALL WRONG. I’m sorry that your girlhoods were so awful. Sigh. I suppose there’s nothing we can do about that now.

I, on the other hand, spent countless hours with Alice when I was a wee lass. The vicarious living I did through her adventures are too many to recount. I was dazzled by her wit, impressed with her smarts, and astonished at her vocabulary.

The wordplay and the batshit crazy were just what this nerdy little girl needed. Alice made me feel almost normal. I wanted to be her best friend. No, I wanted to be Alice.

 

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monika-chatWhen I remembered that Carroll was English and this was written in the mid-1800’s, I started to wonder if my confusion and slight boredom might be due to references that are now outdated or obsolete. Some old-fashioned Googling supported that suspicion. I wish I’d gotten the annotated edition.
april-chatJust an aside, but there is a fabulous annotated version that I own.That’s not what I read this go round, but I did thoroughly enjoy it the last time I read it.
jennifer-chatAh, again I’m glad that I read this as a child. The things that might trip me up now just didn’t back then. First, there was no Googling. Second, I took it all in the way kids are wont to do. I didn’t question, I just enjoyed. I never wondered how old she was. I didn’t consider where her parents were or what certain references meant. I read, I giggled, and I desperately wanted to see a baby turn into a squealing little pig. That seemed entirely possible to me back then.
catherine-chat2Jennifer, do you think this is not a book that can be read by adults as it was meant to be read? Much of what you found charming, I found odd or unpleasant. I’m not sure I would have felt differently as child, but who knows? Please don’t shout, “Off with her head!”
jennifer-chatAdults have narrow minds compared to children. Adults have different expectations. Adults of every counterculture have attempted to co-opt Alice in very grown-up ways. I think it can be enjoyed as an adult but, as Monika pointed out, it was written for children during a different time, and in a different place. No “off with her head” from me, but I do wish you gals had the pleasure of enjoying this tale before adult crap cluttered your heads. Of course it’s entirely possible that you never would have liked this book! (My supreme Alice-love makes it hard for me to accept that!)
monika-chatAlice was a superstar defense lawyer! I’d like to see her up against April. 😉
april-chatThat trial still goes down as one of my all time favorite scenes in classic literature. I love myself some Queen of Hearts action as well.
catherine-chat2Did you like Alice? Or was she kind of mouthy and a bit obnoxious? I wonder how much the times impact that perspective. I thought Victorian children were supposed to be seen and not heard.
april-chatMaybe that’s part of what the charm used to be for this story among children. Here’s a girl – mouthy, obnoxious, and rather self assured.
jennifer-chatThat’s probably why I did/do love Alice so much. Her naughtiness would have been unthinkable in my family. To read about a girl that said and did what she wanted was exhilarating to a girl who grew up in a strict household. Alice stamped her feet, she filled a room with her tears, she told people off when they were being ridiculous. How I would have loved to have done the same. She felt things and was allowed to feel things.

Happy 150th birthday to my very favorite character from literature. Long live Alice!

 

Tell us, readers, did you read this as a child? Has it taken on new meaning for you? Has it taken on new meanings since it was published?

 

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