My first book of 2014 was ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’. It was therefore natural that my second book should be Lewis Carroll’s sequel to that book, ‘Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There’.
Despite containing some familiar characters, and some of the scenes that I expected to find in ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’, this book felt strangely unfamiliar. I tried to approach it in the same way that I had approached the Wonderland book, but found the nonsense to be grating and more forced than its predecessor. Far from finding the characters quaint, charming or entertaining, I found them harsh and really quite irritating.
I was pleased to encounter Tweedledee and Tweedledum and the Walrus and the Carpenter. Beyond these scenes, I found the book quite difficult to enjoy.
When reading ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’, I found Alice to be extremely irritating, but found her flaws to be endearing and added to her thoroughly enjoyable character. In ‘Through the Looking-Glass’ I found that the irritating aspects of Alice’s character far outweighed her endearing qualities.
(Spoiler) One of the redeeming sections of the book was, surprisingly, the end. I found the end of ‘Wonderland’ to be a little disappointing; it seemed that Alice’s adventures had all been a dream. This disappointment probably stemmed from school, where my English teacher always said that to end a story with ‘waking up from a dream’ was a massive story telling cop out. The end of ‘Through the Looking-Glass’ suggests that Alice had been playing a game and had gotten lost in a world of imagination. As a child growing up in the middle of nowhere in North Wales, imagination was such an important part of my childhood that it felt reassuringly familiar to see Alice clamber out of her imagined world.
I found it interesting that the themes of this book were heavily used in the Tim Burton adaptation of ‘Alice in Wonderland’. Given the recent rumours that a sequel to the 2010 film may be in the pipeline, I’d be interested to see where Tim Burton would be taking the story next.
Unfortunately, the inclusion of the Tweedles and a slightly more pleasing ending was not enough to make this a Fantabulous must read. I would give it 1.5 stars. Next on my list is ‘Around the World in Eighty Days!’
Be Fantabulous people!