Saturday, March 27, 2010

Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin

Alice I Have Been
by Melanie Benjamin

Published: 2010
Genre: Historical
Hardback: 368 pages
Rating: 5

Description from the amazon:
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.

Alice Pleasance Liddell Hargreaves, 1932

My two-bits:
In-a-word(s): Shining hair, shining eyes, shining heart.

Absolutely delighted with this read. It was like reading Alice in Wonderland but the reality version with hints and nuances of the Wonderland tale.

It was fun to try to match up who was who. I haven't read the annotated version of Alice in Wonderland and I'm sure it pinpoints the character references.

We get an idea of what might have been the three phases of Alice's life which involve her romances and maturation.

Because of the Alice in Wonderland success, we see how celebrity-dom takes its toll with the "real" players.

Amusing quote:
When you write things down, he explained, they sometimes take you places you hadn't planned. - Lewis to Alice
(page 92, chapter 5)

*** Alice Book Giveaway ***

If you haven't already, the signup to win this book is here and it ends April 11, 2010.

* part of Alice in Whatsitland (see schedule)

* giveaway prize
Thanks to Katie at Random House


  1. I'm really eager to read this. I think I might add it to my HOLD list at the library. Glad to hear it's good though.

  2. I flipped through this other day, of course I want to read it at some point.

    Definitely check out Still She Haunts Me by Katte Roiphe as well.


Imagination Designs
Images from: Lovelytocu