To fill my time between the books I have on hold through Overdrive, I thought I’d switch things up by listening to an Amazon Whispersync book. After trying to listen to Aladdin and the Lamp, unsuccessfully, I opted for Alice in Wonderland.
I had read Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll when I was in elementary school, and I remember liking it enough to read its sequel, Through the Looking Glass, but I also vaguely remember thinking the book was weird and didn’t make a lot of sense.
Now that I’m older, it still doesn’t make a lot of sense – but I still like it.
A Quick Look at the Plot
Alice is in the park with her sister when she spots an unusual white rabbit. When she follows the rabbit down its hole, she discovers an entirely new land full of weird and wonderful things.
I’d honestly give a more detailed description if I could, but this book isn’t really about plot. Pinning down a story line with this book is like trying to remember the dream you had last night, sometimes you catch bits and pieces of it, but most of it it turns into a colorful, strange blur.
Is It Really On Drugs?
A lot of people assume Alice in Wonderland is a essentially on drugs, or that Lewis Carroll was taking drugs when he wrote the book.
Alice in Wonderland is definitely unusual in terms of setting, characters, and plot. Alice eats mushrooms that change her size, she meets animals that can talk, and she goes to a trial that makes no sense whatsoever. For those who are firm believers in the drug theory, there’s plenty of fuel to feed that fire, so to speak.
But, I disagree with this.
I think the story is more closely related to dreams than to drugs. Each little scene in the book moves quickly into the next, without any sense of direction, in much the same way dreams shift and change sporadically. If you have a lot of dreams right in a row, your brain tends to interpret it as one long but crazy story – much like Alice did with her adventures in Wonderland. I’m sure if I wrote half my crazy dreams down, I’d have the basis for a story much like Alice’s but it wouldn’t be nearly as charming or consistent.
I think Anthony Browne explained it correctly when he stated:
“People interpret books in a logical way as they do dreams. They want it to have meaning. Alice in Wonderland is not to be read as a logical book.”
It isn’t a logical book, and no matter how you twist the story to suit your theory, it never will be a logical book.
However, Alice in Wonderland is an imaginative book for children – not some drug-filled, philosophical, or mathematical wonder.
It’s a world for children to explore and play in before going to bed. If you’re reading this to a child who has difficulty focusing, he or she can interject any amount of nonsense into the story and it’d still fit right alongside Alice’s adventures. The more the child thinks about the dream-like quality of the world, the more he or she starts to dream about the world, until eventually, he or she is dreaming away and having adventures just like Alice.
When I started listening to the Alice in Wonderland audible audio book, I initially thought I’d understand the story more than I did as a kid – obviously, I’m so much more mature and educated now!
But, Alice in Wonderland breaks the mold in that it doesn’t need to be understood. It only needs to be appreciated and imagined.
It’s a good book to turn off your brain, in a sense. Let go of work and stress and life and have Wonderland wash over you. In a way, listening to this book is a bit like taking a nap; you get all the relaxation benefits and have a crazy story to talk about later.
I enjoyed listening to the book and its quirky narrator, BJ Harrison, who did an excellent job of capturing the characters and their personalities. While I know Alice in Wonderland might not appeal to all readers, I’d have no problem reading this to my future children.
Comparison to the Disney Movie
If you haven’t watched Disney’s version of Alice in Wonderland, then you must have had a terrible childhood.
Out of all the Disney movies I watched as a kid, Alice in Wonderland was decidedly the strangest – and possibly one of the most frightening (in a few places). If you or your children don’t watch this movie, then I wouldn’t have a problem with it.
Surprisingly, Disney didn’t mess too much with the actual Alice in Wonderland plot (unlike little mermaid, which is completely different . . .). It followed the path as closely as it could for such a strange story, and it portrayed many of the characters accurately. I think the movie left out one or two scenes and flipped a few things around, but like I feel like Alice in Wonderland has such a loose storyline anyway that it didn’t affect the end result.
If you liked the movie, then you may end up liking the book better, as your imagination can fill in the gaps much better than Disney animators. If you didn’t like the movie, then you still may end up liking the book better as it’s more charming and user friendly.
Or, you might not like either of them because, to be honest, both the book and the movie are really weird.
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