I find that I have random obsessions. Obsession might not be the right word for what I’m trying to say. Deep interest is probably a good description because these things aren’t ever long lasting. I do research on random things and then I move on. For example, how big was the Titanic, tell me all about the Romanovs, whatever happened to Peter Pan. Did you know that Rasputin was never actually a monk even though he was called ‘the mad monk’? And the kid that inspired Peter Pan committed suicide? It’s things like that, that get me interested. We can add Alice Liddell to that list.
Alice Liddell was the girl who inspired Alice from Alice in Wonderland. But let’s think about this. Alice Liddell was not blonde. The illustrations you see, Disney or not, are blonde. Now I have a question and keep in mind that I am blonde. What’s the world’s thing with blondes? We’re not that special. Brunettes and other hair colors are just as pleasing to the eye. Back up off us world.
I read Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin It’s the story of Alice Liddell in novel form. So obviously, we can’t take all the facts as truth. Before and during this book, I did a little reading on Alice. Her relationship with the author was creepy. When you read it as a fact in an article or something historical, it’s creepy but as a book, I was kind of…..I don’t know. I don’t have words. I shuddered at one point of the book. Alice really did cut ties with the author when Alice was 11 and he was 31. Go read about her. It’s super interesting but kind of creepy. I also don’t know what it is about authors and relationships. They come off creepy. There was a huge conversation in one of my British Lit classes about William Wordsworth and his sister, they were very close. Then you have authors and extramarital affairs. There was a time before recorded music where authors were rock stars. Things shift.
Alice was pretty much the first literary child. Like Peter Pan (the Llewelyn-Davis boys were the inspiration for the Lost Boys), and Winnie the Pooh (Christopher Robin was based off the author’s son) were both after Alice. She was the muse. Alice asked Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll’s real name) to write Wonderland when she was a girl and then ignored the fact that she was the real Alice until she was 80. And that was because she was in a financial bind and had to do something. She didn’t want to lose her home. In that case, you can’t blame her for admitting it.
On the cover of the book, Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander series (which I still love), says that the book is “magic”. Don’t think any magic was done in my presence. No rabbits out of a hat or anything. But with words, it was pretty good. I wasn’t really into this book at first but I kept wanting to know what happened to Alice. I mean, there’s a stuttering mathematics professor, a prince, another creepy guy. Yeah, Alice attracted creepy, older men. I’m glad I don’t attract creepy, old men. I just attract weird situations.
I really liked the last few lines. I like that she states this is who I am, this who I always have been and this is forever. I also felt bad for her as a child. She was stifled. This is another thing in history where I don’t agree with how they do things. I don’t agree that children were stifled like they were. Yes, I do agree that children should behave in public but also they should be allowed to run and get dirty. I was allowed to get dirty and I loved it. I was just promoting that with my niece and nephew. The guys just cut corn in the field and we went to go look for the very few cobs of corn that were left. So there needs to be some freedom. I was also confused by the mother at times. Do you want your child to be strong and have sense or do you want her reliant on a man. Socially, it was totally okay to be reliant on a man but then don’t confide in your daughter so much. I don’t know. I wish that the father was more a part of this book, you didn’t see him much. He was talked about but never seen as much as I would like.
This is another book that I don’t know if I’ll ever pick up again. Not that it wasn’t good, but I just don’t know how intrigued I was by it. If I do pick it up again it will because I want to figure out how much I am intrigued by it. The book is flawed. It’s not perfect but what novel is perfect?