Books I Have Loved: Alice in Wonderland

by kipress

I posted last year about my reluctance to see the Tim Burton Alice movie. I’m a die-hard original Alice fan, so I was afraid it would disappoint. Still haven’t seen it. Maybe during the holidays? In December? 2021?

Alice was another book I write about, more than once in my “book about books” book. What is it that makes me love Alice so much? (If I ever get another tattoo, I’m thinking on Alician lines.)

Hard to pin down, but I’ll take a stab (to combine two very sharp clichés), and I’m sure there are as many and varied reasons to love Alice out there as there are memorable characters and lines in the book. Getting ahead of myself.

1. Memorable characters.
At one point as a child I actually had a crush on the Mad Hatter (also on Hamlet, Stephen Dedalus, and some other literary characters, too).

2. Memorable lines—and I mean that literally.
I wrote last time around about how Jabberwocky was the first poem I memorized. I went on, around age 10, to memorize all the poems and songs in the two books. I can no longer remember all of them, but I try to keep in practice with “Jabberwocky” and with “The Walrus and the Carpenter.” Today I’m afraid most people don’t even know where the phrase “of cabbages and kings” comes from. Er, actually, I’m thinking maybe people don’t even use that phrase much any more, but that’s your loss, people.

An aside about me is that I was a kid who read obsessively rather than omnivorously, which is partly why I memorized things. I’ve always had a thing about reading a book that I like over and over again, rather than moving on to another one. This is probably why the shocking gaps in my reading knowledge, which we just won’t speak of.

3. It’s both silly and terrifying. It’s the imagination run off in all directions. And imagination is my greatest friend.

Those are my top three reasons. I’ve never seen the entirety of the Disney Alice movie, so I can’t blame that on sending me to the book (though that movie did leave us with the “unbirthday”—something decidedly not in the book, but a very useful cultural invention).

Which reminds me that I must run, because it’s my unbirthday, wouldn’t you know it, and it’s getting late.