Thursday, June 23, 2011

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Through the Looking-Glass

by Lewis Carroll

So, I finished these about a week apart, and I couldn't bring myself to write two separate posts since my thoughts are pretty similar on both. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland begins when Alice follow a white rabbit in a waistcoat through a hole. She finds herself in an unusual world which she deems Wonderland. In Through the Looking-Glass, while playing silly games with her cats, she ends up going through the mirror in the room to find a world that is completely backward.

One word that best describes both of these books is whimsical. There is a lightheartedness to both books as Alice makes her way through the different worlds. The writing is extremely witty, and there is a great deal of word play. I did love the characters that she encountered. My favorite of which was Humpty Dumpty. It was fun to read, but it didn't really blow me away. Fantasy really isn't my thing, so my reaction isn't surprising.

I did find that I enjoyed Alice's Adventures in Wonderland much more than Through the Looking-Glass. It's contradictory to say, but despite both stories being full of randomness, I found the first much easier to follow. There were times in Through the Looking-Glass that I felt a bit jolted and confused because Alice would suddenly appear elsewhere.

Overall, I was glad that I read both of these books. It seems to be my theme lately, but I think I would have enjoyed these much more had I first experienced them when I was younger. Sheesh, I feel like I'm turning into an old fuddy-duddy, and I'm only 30. If you enjoy fantasy, and whimsy, and don't mind a heavy dose of randomness, you just might enjoy these. As they're classics, they are at least worth a try. They're super short so if you don't love them, not too much time will be invested. 

After finishing my reading, I watched the Tim Burton version of Alice in Wonderland. I didn't know much about it and was interested to find that it is an older Alice about to get married who ends up back in Wonderland. It was fun seeing all of the different characters that she encountered in the books play a role in this new story. Johnny Depp was fantastic as usual.

Have you read either of these? Seen the new movie? What did you think?


  1. Fantasy isn't my thing either (at all!), but I loved these books -- especially Through the Looking Glass because all of the ways Alice was opposite (mirrored) made me chuckle. (Like eating bread because you're thirsty.)


  2. Jillian--I'm so glad to hear you loved them. I thought the mirrored world was quite clever. I think my favorite part was that they had to run so quickly so that they wouldn't go anywhere!

  3. I'm a fan of fantasy, but not whimsy, if that's possible. I read these this past year also, and found them very inventive but I couldn't stay awake. I did, however, stay awake for Johnny Depp in the movie.

  4. @Kristi: Ha - I loved that part, too. :-)

  5. I listened to both of these maybe six months ago. They were way to random for me. At one point I stopped listening and spent half an hour trying to make sure the tracks were in the right order because all of a sudden I had no idea what was going on. Turns out that was just the story :-) I haven't seen the Tim Burton movie, but now that I've read the originals, I think I'd like to. Mmm, Johnny Depp... :-)

  6. I've never read either of the books, but I do have them around somewhere. I keep telling myself I want to read them, but then I forget. Maybe I should just rent the movie. :-D

  7. Nice review, Kristi! I read 'Alice in Wonderland' for the first time, when I was in middle school but couldn't really appreciate it at that time. I read it again more recently and my second reading experience was better. I haven't read 'Through the Looking Glass' though I think I have it in my collection. I should read it some time. I found your description of running quickly so that they wouldn't get anywhere, quite interesting - it made me smile :)

  8. I forgot to mention one more thing. I love the cover images that you have posted! They are so beautiful! Is that the edition that you read?

  9. Shelley--I'm definitely not one for whimsy either. It is easy to stay awake for Johnny Depp. Even with as weird of a costume and make up as he had, he's so charismatic.

    Erin--The randomness was a bit too much for me as well. I'm glad I'm not the only one that was confused by the abrupt change of direction in The Looking Glass. It was so jarring! It was fun watching the movie after reading the books and seeing which characters were brought in from the previous books. I'll admit that I probably wouldn't have watched it if it weren't for Johnny Depp. :)

    Softdrink--One nice thing is they're fairly short. I don't know if I would really recommend them to adults, but if you're keen to read them they're not too bad. The movie is pretty good. Johnny Depp is great, but there isn't much to the story.

    Vishy--I'm glad you enjoyed it your second time around. I'm thinking of reading them to my kids and I think some of the word play read out loud might give me a better appreciation. If you enjoyed Alice in Wonderland, you would probably like Through the Looking Glass. It's a similar style, but she meets many different characters. I love those covers too, but sadly they aren't the ones I own. I bought a single volume that has a collection of Lewis Carroll's books and poetry.

  10. You know, I have yet to read either book ... but I think I ought to read them at some point. I did see the Johnny Depp movie version and it was delightfully weird. I didn't think it was a kid's movie though!!!

  11. I enjoyed these a lot, but I did come across them when I was younger. I hate feeling that I've missed my window to really enjoy a book, but it does happen sometimes.

  12. I've always loved fantasy, whimsy and craziness since my first fairy tale golden books and Seuss books but Alice I'm unsure about.

    I've planned to reread it sometime to see for sure-- plus, one of my co-bloggers is obsessed with Alice so I feel I ought to reread it.

    I read it as a kid and thought I liked it but as an adult just the recollection of it makes me feel crazy. It really bugs me when people are contrary and won't tell me what I need to know-- and all the characters in Wonderland are so contrary!!