Friday, June 10, 2011

Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin

Bantam (December 21, 2010) 351 pages

This book was.....interesting! When I first decided I had to read this book, it was a combination of the beautiful cover(one of my favorites ever) and the fact that it had to do with Alice from Alice in Wonderland. I thought it was 100% fictional, as opposed to mostly fictional. Before I continue, I'll say that I didn't finish it. I got to page 171 out of 351 pages, and asked myself why I was reading it.
If you've read my blog very long, you may remember that I'm an Alice in Wonderland fan. Well, I'm a fan of the various movies, because I haven't read the book yet. You may also remember that I'm a HUGE Tim Burton fan(the kid stuff, not the R stuff). I had always wanted to see Alice in Wonderland from the mind of Tim Burton, so I was like a kid being told they were going to Disneyland when I found out that I would get the chance. Well, this book took the joy away from the movie.
Alice I Have Been is about the very real Alice Liddell and Charles Lutwidge Dodgson a.k.a. Lewis Carroll. The controversial part is the 20 year age difference. The story begins with Alice at age 7 and Charles at age 27. Even at that early age, the author writes in a great deal of sexual tension between the two of them. I have to say that made me really uncomfortable to read. I have to remind myself, though, that this is almost fully the author's imagination at work. She has taken the real people and a photograph of Alice that was supposedly taken by Charles and created something that could have happened.
I was shocked, to say the least, that Lewis Carroll was rumored to be a paedophile. I had no clue whatsoever of that rumor. It is just that, though..a rumor. From the mini-research I did, it MAY be true, but we'll never know.
If I had a daughter and a man of any age took a picture of her like the one in question, he would no longer be a part of her life as long as I had any say in it. In the mid-1800s, that picture had to be even worse! Click HERE and you can see the picture on the book's Amazon page. It's not horrible, but there's just enough skin showing that it makes you wonder. Remember that back then, that would have been extremely inappropriate clothing.
From what I read of the book, it completely centers around Alice and Charles and their love for each other. Charles is portrayed as a shy man and Alice is portrayed as being very forward. It's almost like the author tried to blame anything that may have happened on Alice, which is just horrible!
I do like the author's writing style, I just don't like the subject matter of this particular book. She has a new book coming out called The Autobiography of Tom Thumb. I will most likely read it at some point. If you're a fan of Alice in Wonderland, I don't recommend this book, unfortunately.

I'm adding this in after a little more looking around. Unfortunately, it looks like he did take nude pictures of little girls on a regular basis. (at least according to wikipedia).

What I did read of the book had no profanity at all and no sex scenes, but again, there was a great deal of sexual tension between a man and child.


  1. I was so excited to see your review of this because I remember someone mentioning this book and my thinking that I wanted to read it. Then I forgot about it. Anyway, after reading your review I think I'll take a pass. I really appreciate you writing up your thoughts on it though as it has saved me the reading time!

  2. Yes, it was just very disappointing. The plot I thought it had would have had so much potential!

  3. Ewww, ewww, ewww...I had no idea about Lewis Carroll. Blech!

    Hey, I love the new look around here. :)