Yet again, I forgot to bring Harry Potter to work with me. But it did mean that I have now had the opportunity to re-read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I remember reading it many times when I was younger, I had a very small hardback book with a pink cover on, which I think must have had an abridged version of the story, and I loved to read it.
Reading it again, I’m not so convinced. I think the sheer bonkersness of the story is what appeals to young children, but as an adult, I found it quite baffling. Alice’s perspective on the book is definitely a young child’s perspective. When she thinks she’s falling through the center of the earth, she wonders if she’ll fall all the way through to where people walk with their heads upside down.
She tries to make friends with every creature that she meets, but ends up offending most of them and repeatedly ends up on her own again, so lonely at one time that she cries enough tears to go swimming in them! She clearly isn’t afraid to take risks, drinking and eating things when she has no idea what they’ll do, just like a greedy young child.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the book, but I think that it doesn’t quite have the same magic as it does when you’re a young child and you think that things like this could actually happen, where you could end up at a tea party with the mad hatter, make friends with a cheshire cat and play croquet with a flamingo. But I guess I’ve just lost that childhood naivety and didn’t get the joy from the book that I thought I should.
There were a lot of quotes from the book which I liked, particularly from the Duchess who likes her morals, although they don’t all make sense. Like this one for example:
“Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise.”
It was a very quick read, and one that I will definitely read to my kids in the future (far, far future in case my parents are reading!), I’m sure they’ll delight in the playing cards painting the roses and alice growing large and small and large again in rapid succession, just like I did when I was younger.