Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin
THE GREAT READING BINGE OF 2016
True Faction Book Bingo
For that was how I viewed my life; it was as if the first part had been spent in pure contentment, a land of gingerbread houses and spun – sugar clouds and a lemon drop sun. But one day, a giant quake tore the very earth away from my feet and cast me up on the shore of a darker, foreign place.
This is a fictional account of the ‘real’ Alice Liddell, who was the inspiration for Lewis Caroll’s Alice in Wonderland.
There is a real Alice, just as there is a real Charles Dodgeson, and there is alot of documented evidence of her and his life and their interactions up to their “falling out”, which the author took literary liberty with. This book follows Alice’s life in Oxford, her brief courting of Prince Leopold and her life with her husband Reig Hargraves, and the loss if 2/3 sons to WWI. (This is based on actual historical fact). The author filled in the blanks with a first persons perspective and tells the story of a young girl enamored for all the wrong reasons and shamed into adult hood and her journey in discovering what it means to grow up. And to be Alice.
There is alot of speculation about Dodgeson (Caroll) being a pedophile and child molester. There is a book that exists of some of his now famous photographs of young girls wearing different attire and posed in sometimes lucrative positions. Was he? No one knows. The reason for their parting died with Alice herself.
I found this book interesting and a little unsettling. I have read Lolita, and yes things like this is supposed to make your skin crawl. Because it’s wrong. The author did a good job of portraying Alice, who tried to rebuild her life after the Alice in the Underground scandal. Where she falls in love with a prince but has to settle for a regular man whom she did not realize she loved until it was too late.
I love historical fiction and this one was a good read. Of course, how much liberty the author took is questionable and it’s interesting to see what her take on it was. Of course, we will never know the full story.
I recommend this book to fans of Alice and want to know more about the girl that fell down the metaphorical rabbit hole.