Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass

This is the second time that I have read these two stories. The first time was a number of years ago, and if I remember correctly I read them on my Nintendo DS after buying a 100 classic books ‘game’, which was not at all game like, but just shows what a child I was. Though I think I ended up reading 4 of those books, which says perhaps more about me? Anyway, this time, I once again read them electronically. Which is actually quite rare for me, I don’t have a dedicated e-reader, nor any tablet. So I was reading them on my phone, which is something I am not inclined to do that often. The brevity of these two stories (and their free-ness in ebook) are what made me read them like this. I do have to say though it is so convenient to just pull out your phone and keep reading, as opposed to needing to carry about your book. But I don’t think I’d find a dedicated e-reader that more convenient compared to a book, cause you still need to have that with you. I’ve spoken about ebooks previously, so I’ll leave this there, and move on to the actual books.

Original illustration (1865) by John Tenniel
Original illustration (1865) by John Tenniel

Both of these books have spawned a lot of movies (23 of them in fact), and they have been extremely influential works for the fantasy genre. The thing is that for modern audiences, I don’t think there’s much enjoyment from the stories themselves. Due to how exposed we have been to the stories already, reading them doesn’t really add a whole lot. We just have to deal with the differences in writing, which are more a detriment than anything. The real interest is to see what the original source material was, and how the movies differ.

They really are very nonsensical stories, and their endings are so abrupt. The various poems and songs littered throughout the stories were interesting, but sometimes became a bit too much. And the number of references that modern readers no longer get is quite high.

Overall, I will not be reading these again. They became more of a chore to get through than an enjoyment.

 

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2 thoughts on “Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass

  1. I agree with you completely on everything you said. These are actually the two books I have found most difficult to review, because there is so little that can be critiqued. There is no plot, character development, message or thematic complexity to be plombed. This mostly applies to Through the Looking Glass. Some parts are funny. For example, I loved the Knight that keeps falling off of his horse, leading Alice to say “You ought to have a wooden horse on wheels, that you ought!” That was hilarious. But mostly the books are just wearying. It becomes a slog to sit through so much nonsense and awkward transitions when you know nothing ties together in the end.

    I feel guilty for saying that because I know that’s what the point of the stories were, to just be nonsensical fairy tales, and that that’s a lot of their appeal, and that I’m just hating what they’re trying to do. But I don’t hate them, I can understand why so many people love them, I just don’t share the same experiences they have when I read the books.

    I will say Lewis Carroll’s poems that preceded and followed the books were excellent. Also I preferred the original because it at least had a wonderful last paragraph that was very insightful, heartfelt, and gave the story new meaning about the power of imagination.

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