Saturday, December 19, 2009

Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin

Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin book cover historical fiction
Alice I Have Been
by Melanie Benjamin
Delacorte Press (Jan. 12, 2010)
368 pages
Historical Fiction
Source: Shelf Awareness

Summary in a Sentence: 

Benjamin's debut imagines Alice Liddell's experiences before and particularly after Lewis Carroll immortalized her.

My Thoughts:

"But oh my dear, I am tired of being Alice in Wonderland. Does it sound ungrateful?"

I had some vague idea that Alice in Wonderland was indeed based on a real girl. What I didn't realize, however, was that Charles Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll, knew Alice Liddell quite well and even photographed her extensively when she was a young girl. (I have included a couple of these photos in this review.)

I completely lost myself to Liddell's world, living at Oxford as the dean's daughter with her father, mother, and sister. Dodgson and Alice understand each other and have an emotional connection that, while not altogether inappropriate, often teeters on the edge of an intimacy that could be disturbing. It is this strangely close bond that threatens to tarnish Alice's reputation and follow her forever.

This is historical fiction at its best. Melanie Benjamin extensively researched Liddell's life and stuck close to her story. An author's note in the back of the book gives insight as to what is fact and what is fiction in Benjamin's narrative, but suffice it to say that the author has captured the essence of both Alice and Lewis Carroll's humble beginnings. Highly recommended.

*Read this one while you wait for Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland to come out in March 2010.

This book earns five points towards The Four Month Challenge.

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20 comments:

Cleverly Inked said...

Wow I was clueless about her being real. That makes it so bizarre for me. I am a little creeped out that their relationship was on a fine line. I don't think I could read this. Even though it interests me.

Ashley said...

Great review, I loved this book!

J. Kaye said...

Wow...this sounds like a really good one.

Nina said...

Sounds like a great book!!

Beth Hoffman said...

Fabulous review! I had no idea that Alice was "real". I absolutely must read this ... you've hooked me.

nomadreader said...

I cannot wait to read this book! I'm so glad to hear you loved it; the glowing reviews keep piling up. Thanks!

Lisa said...

I've seen this one and it sounded intriguing. So glad to know that it doesn't disappoint.

Shweta said...

I had no idea that Alice was based on a real person Lewis Carroll knew. Book does sound very intriguing. Thanks for the review

Andrea said...

I'm looking forward to reading this one. Great review!

Katy said...

This book is next in my TBR and I'm looking forward to it. :)

Connie said...

Can't wait for this one! This review has really whet my appetite. Thanks!

justpeachy36 said...

It was certainly news to me that Alice was real... Can't wait to read this book.

Diane said...

Great review; this one one of the next books I hope to read.

Book Snob said...

I love historical fiction and this book sounds great. I'll have to add it to my list. Thanks for the great review!

Eva said...

That sounds so neat! And I can't wait for Burton's film. :D

Allie ~ Hist-Fic Chick said...

Great review! This makes me want to read this right now. And I can't wait to see the Burton film...I've heard of this book but I didn't know about the strange relationship between Carroll and the real-life Alice.

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

I'm planning to get this for my sister, a huge Alice fan. Very interesting history.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Oh I so want to read this one! Your review is wonderful!

Bibliolatrist said...

I just named this one of my 10 favorite books of 2009. I'm glad to hear you liked it as much as I did :)

kanishk said...

I'm so glad to hear you loved it;


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