Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin

This is another one that I have to thank the library for. I found Alice I Have Been while browsing the library's OverDrive selections, and decided to check it out.  And boy, am I glad I did!

Alice I Have Been is a novel about the real Alice in Wonderland — Alice Liddell, the little girl who inspired Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll).  Dodgson was a professor at Oxford, and Alice was one of the dean's daughters; Dodgson would spend a lot of time with Alice and her sisters, taking their photographs and telling them stories.

I wasn't sure at first whether I would like the novel, but I very quickly got sucked in.  It's a tragic story, in a lot of ways — something happened when Alice was 11 that created a rift between Dodgson and her family, and it seems like neither of them ever got over one another.  Benjamin's novel takes a stab at what that something was, and the result is a deeply moving story that actually made me cry at the end.  I rarely cry at novels, so that should tell you something about how amazing this novel is.

I know I recommend a lot of what I read, and the truth is, I like a lot of what I read — it takes a lot for me to dislike a book.  But I would recommend this one more highly than most.  If you are going to read just one book featured on Livre du Jour, this would be the one!

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