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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

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 Oxfor…

Alice I Have Been

by Melanie Benjamin

Overall Book Review:

Most of us are familiar with the story of Alice in Wonderland, but have you ever wondered what Alice’s real story was? Melanie Benjamin does an outstanding job of weaving a beautiful prologue to Alice’s adventure in this novel that chronicles the lives of Alice and her family and the man who was supposedly behind the authorship of Alice in Wonderland. The story begins with Alice replying to a letter from her son, one regarding the business of Lewis Carrol’s upcoming birthday. Alice is no longer a young girl in a fantasy land, though. She is an eighty-year-old woman in sore need of a nap. And thus, we enter a chronicle of Alice’s childhood and her fanciful dreams.

Written in Alice’s own words and thoughts, this book is a wonderful journey to a past that would have been dry and boring, if not for Alice’s friends and imagination. Throughout the book there are old-fashioned pictures of Alice that really help to bring this story to life. Part fairy tale, part fictional autobiography, this book is one you will have difficulty setting down once you begin.

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  3 derogatory names

Violence/Gore:  A young child becomes sick and dies; a man is accused of attempted assault of a woman, and it is implied in a sexual way.

Sex/Nudity: A young girl has an intimate, emotionally-based relationship with a middle-aged man, though she views it innocently; characters kiss; a man takes pictures of a young girl, it seems innocent enough but his intent is not clear and nothing transpires.

Mature Subject Matter:


Alcohol / Drug Use:

Adults drink; adults smoke.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

Books and reading have always been an important part of my life. When I was very young, my grandma was the library director at our local public library. Years later, after she had retired, I became a librarian at the same library and worked there for several years before taking a part-time job at a local coffee shop, which gives me more time to do what I love, to read and to review books! A few of my favorite authors are Aimee Bender, Diane Chamberlain, and Curtis Sittenfeld however, I will read almost any book I come across! In my spare time you can find me reading (of course), volunteering at a wildlife animal rehab, or hanging out with my two house rabbits.