I mentioned a few days ago in my Latest Bookhaul post that I had already finished one of the books and it was this one – After Alice by Gregory Maguire. I flew through this relatively short read in a few days and here I am to share my thoughts on this read with you.
Just quickly – a few notes on the photo. I am in love with my new Alice in Wonderland tote bag, bought from Primark. The ‘Have I gone mad?’ print was given to me by a wonderful friend as a birthday present.
Spoiler Free Review
Title: After Alice
Author: Gregory Maguire
Published by Headline in October 2015
Some links: Goodreads.
I was first drawn to this book because of it’s retelling aspect. I am a sucker for a good classic retelling, and considering Alice (from Wonderland) is one of my namesakes, I have always felt close to this story and this character. Because of this, and how intrigued I was by the blurb, I picked it up and guzzled it down in a matter of days.
The story centres around a few perspectives – firstly Ada, a (briefly mentioned in the original tale) friend of Alice’s. She is very different to Alice – less boisterous and adventurous – but partakes in a slightly one-sided friendship with her anyway. Secondly, we see the story unfold through the eyes of Alice’s sister Lydia, who longs for adventure and grieves their recently deceased mother. And finally, Ada’s worried governess. Together, these three characters make up the story of a girl who falls down the rabbit hole in search for a missing friend.
In addition to this main plotline, we also hear from famous people of the time – most prominently Charles Darwin, a friend of Alice’s father who is visiting on the day she, and in this story Ada, fall down the rabbit hole. Within this plotline, we hear of his work and the challenges faced between science and religion. With the introduction of the character Siam, we also experience stories of slavery.
I enjoyed seeing Wonderland from a different character’s perspective, especially one who is so different in terms of personality. Ada is very matter of fact, and this brings a different dimension to the story as she encounters some of Wonderland’s favourite residents, and some new characters too.
The characters of Lydia and Ada’s governess are searching for Ada, and later on another character, throughout the book. As such, we flick back and forth between perspectives, and worlds, making it an interesting premise and giving us a better insight into the time period in which Alice in Wonderland is set. This, in particular, was interesting to me, as I always enjoy unfolding the world in a story, and found it interesting to hear of the history behind this period of time.
I felt this story held so much promise, especially considering I am such a fan of the original work. However, at times I felt that events were a little too drawn out. The switching of perspectives sometimes threw me – and I often found myself wishing we were back with Ada, rather than searching for her with Lydia and the governess (which to me became quite repetitive). In the end, even though the characters and the Wonderland setting intrigued me, it just wasn’t as fun a read as I thought it would be.
My Rating – 3 out of 5 stars.
*As always, this is an un-sponsored review and only my own thoughts. Each to their own!
Have you read this book? I’d love for you to comment below and share your thoughts. Happy reading everyone!