Tuesday, July 23, 2013

REVIEW: Alice I have Been by Melanie Benjamin

Alice I Have Been  by Melanie Benjamin
Publication Date: January 12, 2010
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Source: Book Purchased by Reviewer
Buy it at: AmazonBarnes and NobleIndieBound

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads):

Few works of literature are as universally beloved as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Now, in this spellbinding historical novel, we meet the young girl whose bright spirit sent her on an unforgettable trip down the rabbit hole–and the grown woman whose story is no less enthralling.

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

Alice Liddell Hargreaves’s life has been a richly woven tapestry: As a young woman, wife, mother, and widow, she’s experienced intense passion, great privilege, and greater tragedy. But as she nears her eighty-first birthday, she knows that, to the world around her, she is and will always be only “Alice.” Her life was permanently dog-eared at one fateful moment in her tenth year–the golden summer day she urged a grown-up friend to write down one of his fanciful stories.

That story, a wild tale of rabbits, queens, and a precocious young child, becomes a sensation the world over. Its author, a shy, stuttering Oxford professor, does more than immortalize Alice–he changes her life forever. But even he cannot stop time, as much as he might like to. And as Alice’s childhood slips away, a peacetime of glittering balls and royal romances gives way to the urgent tide of war.  

For Alice, the stakes could not be higher, for she is the mother of three grown sons, soldiers all. Yet even as she stands to lose everything she treasures, one part of her will always be the determined, undaunted Alice of the story, who discovered that life beyond the rabbit hole was an astonishing journey.

A love story and a literary mystery, Alice I Have Been brilliantly blends fact and fiction to capture the passionate spirit of a woman who was truly worthy of her fictional alter ego, in a world as captivating as the Wonderland only she could inspire

I first heard of this book when I was reading an article in Cosmopolitan Magazine. After reading about the author and the story she wrote, I craved the book with a hunger that couldn't be satisfied fast enough. After a few weeks, I bought the book and began my journey into this wonderful fictional story.

Alice I have Been is about Alice Liddell, the little girl that inspired Lewis Carroll to write Alice in Wonderland, originally named Alice’s Adventures Underground.

Without giving away too much information about the book, I’ll start by saying that the minute I opened this book I was enthralled in Alice’s story. When Alice is a little girl she meets a man names Charles Dodgson, who the world knows as his pen name Lewis Carroll. Upon that initial meet you can tell instantly that something is coming over the two of them.  Though unnatural for Dodgson to be so enamored with Alice, they are well able to hide the confusing feelings that transpire between them. After several years and meetings pass by though, the family as well as onlookers seem to notice the connection that Dodgson had with Alice.

This books definitely took me on a roller coaster ride of emotion as I felt the many joys and sorrows of Alice Liddell’s life. The book begins during her early childhood and ends during her elderly age, giving the reader a great overview of her life as “Alice”  my only real wish while reading this book was my hope that it was as real as the author made it feel. Of course, with the joys come the sorrows and I have to admit that her pain also brought tears to my heart. It seems that life during that time was not easy to live.

Thumbs up Ms. Benjamin…for an amazing and heart wrenching “almost” true story!

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