Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass

by Lewis Carroll (Illustrated by John Tenniel)

Read this in about 5 minutes

Alice in Wonderland is a book that is often quoted, made idiom of and has multiple retellings to its credit. It is one of the most loved books amongst those who enjoy reading. It was during my childhood years when ‘A mad tea party’ was a compulsory read in our English course.

After years when I again come across the chapter, the memory goes back to the time when I finished the chapter and it felt like a task accomplished. Now after two decades I glided through the book. And was reminded of how time flies. A task which felt like a major accomplishment and a story that stuck with me still resonates with me.

Only now I understand it with another perspective, not of a child.

This is the first book I have ever re-read.

This book was picked up as a group read for April for a booktube reading group I have recently come across.

Cover: Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass

Cover page

I own a pale pre-owned/pre-loved copy of the book which combines both ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘Through the Looking-Glass’. This is a Wordsworth edition with the original illustrations by Sir John Tenniel. On the cover are Alice, the mock turtle, and the gryphon. They are characters from the book.

The copy I own is a small paperback with clear legible font inside. This edition is absolutely adorable.

Characters

The characters in the book are extremely fascinating.

Alice is a child with vivid imagination. She hates reading books without pictures. She loves her cat and mentions it all the time to anyone she meets. She loves dogs too but that’s again not something you tell anyone you meet. Alice is a wonderful character to take a journey to the wonderland with.

The author introduces you to a rabbit who runs around continuously looking into a pocket watch. There are talking birds and easily offended caterpillar. There is a cat with a wide grin and a dormouse with a sleeping disorder. There is a queen whose only entertainment is to chop people’s head off and a king who is moronic. And of course, there is a whole army of cards who work for the queen. There is Humpty Dumpty and Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

The characters are one of their kinds. The fantastical beings are given unforgettable characters. These characters are meant to stay with you all the way while the story is repeated in years to come.

Content

Alice in wonderland is a book about the fantastical world of Alice. One day while lying on the bank of a river, watching her sister read a book without pictures Alice comes across a rabbit who is looking into his watch which he took out from his waistcoat pocket, muttering words hurriedly as he got into a rabbit hole. Alice found it ‘queer’ and followed the rabbit into the rabbit hole.

Here begin her adventures as she slides down the rabbit hole, finding strange things on the way. Alice meets distinct characters. She eats strange food which shrinks and magnifies her. She comes across a baby who turns into a pig and a chef who only makes things with pepper.

Alice tries to remember rhymes and do some basic calculations but she fails and that gives her the impression that she has got exchanged with someone in the real world. Alice is a polite child who does not interrupt conservations. She tries not to offend others.

In ‘Through the Looking-Glass’ the journey becomes queerer, she meets more distinct characters and moves around the whole kingdom as a game of chess. The queens here are better but still crazy!

The book is filled with magic and wordplay. The innocence of a child reflects through the course of the journey. As she wanders through the wonderland she is explaining the importance of names and that little girls eat eggs as much as serpents do.

It is a great read for those who love to read from different voices.

Language

Language is probably the best part of this piece of literature. The author here tries to portray a wonderland from the point of view of a child. She is naïve and curious. She wants to explore the place and be polite. The author has captured Alice well in the book by the use of simple words. The wit and humour make the narration all the more beautiful. Uses of similar sounding words and rhymes that are nonsensical make the book all the more enjoyable.

Good points

The cover page is beautiful. The book as such is a great product. I have bought a few more books from the publisher and I plan to read them sooner just for their product. The characters are fantastical. They are pleasantly queer to read about. They will always be etched in minds of those who read about them once. The story glides through as a dream. The world created is marvellous.

The narration is beautiful, almost heavenly. There is not one chapter which might bore you.

Bad points

The book is shorter than I was anticipating. I wish there was more to read.

Overall

The book is one of the best pieces of literature I have come across. A definite must read. Whom do I recommend this to

This is for everyone. Everyone. A reader or non-reader.

Quotable quotes

She generally gave herself very good advice, (though she very seldom followed it).

Why it’s simply impassible! Alice: Why, don’t you mean impossible? Door: No, I do mean impassible. (chuckles) Nothing’s impossible!

No, no! The adventures first, explanations take such a dreadful time.

“Where should I go?” “That depends on where you want to end up.”