Friday, October 30, 2015

After Alice

After Alice by Gregory Maguire
Harper Collins: 10/27/15
eBook review copy, 288 pages
ISBN-13: 9780060548957 

After Alice by Gregory Maguire is a recommended rewrite of Lewis Carroll’s Alice's Adventures in Wonderland from a different point of view.

This adventure in Wonderland features Ada, a friend of Alice, and Lydia, Alice's sister. Ada is trying to find Alice when she falls down the rabbit hole herself and, following in Alice's footsteps, she encounters the same inhabitants of Wonderland and a few new ones. While Ada is meeting and conversing with all manner of strange  creatures, Lydia is dealing with her own issues, including Miss Armstrong, the governess looking for Ada, and Siam, a boy visiting her father with Charles Darwin. 

This tale is decidedly written for adults who remember the classic tale and who can appreciate the word play involved in Wonderland and in the formal 19th century language. The action alternates between the two main characters, Ada and Lydia, and the two settings. Normally I don't need to look up the meaning of any words as I read, but Maguire threw in more than a few surprises for me here with the vocabulary. This might put some readers off when it is combined with the formal language in which After Alice is written.

The quality of the writing is quite good, but the actual story is slow to unfold, and, for me, flipping back and forth between the two characters and settings wasn't quite as successful as it could have been. I ended up not really caring very much about what was going on with either character and kept reading simply to see how it would compare to the original and to see when Alice would show up.

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Harper Collins for review purposes.

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