Give me books, fruit, french wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors. --John Keats

Sunday, December 31, 2017

“After Alice” by Gregory Maguire

I have always enjoyed stories for children. (Alice in Wonderland is no exception.) And I have read and reveled in a number of books by Gregory Maguire, all of which were unique retellings of beloved fairy tales. So it's no surprise that this book caught my eye. It didn't hurt that it has a great cover (I love the silhouette look, and the font is perfect, but it gets even better--it's hard to tell in the photo, but that's a vellum dust jacket over a map of Oxford). AND it was on sale for less than seven dollars! Can you say no-brainer? 
Unfortunately, the book wasn't amazing. It seemed like more of a Carroll rehash (albeit from the perspective of a new character, and with some additions to the cast) than I've come to expect from Maguire. It's the story of Ada, an acquaintance of Alice, who falls into Wonderland and experiences much of what Alice did, just one step behind her all the way. There were no real surprises, and nothing was new enough to feel clever. And (though I suppose I'm displaying my ignorance by admitting this) I don't understand where Siam went. (Trying to avoid spoilers while also recording my hunch for posterity: I suppose he suffered the fate that Ada and Alice narrowly escaped.) I just wish it were more clear how the three children ended up in their predicament. (No, I didn't miss the suggestion of how Ada ended up there, but what about Siam and Alice?) Nevermind that I'm fully aware I would probably be complaining about the insulting level of clarity, had the explanation been  more plain. 
I don't regret buying the book (it's so beautiful!) or reading it (it definitely wasn't horrible or boring) but the best news is that now I get to read something new! Sam bought me three magnificent  hardcovers for Christmas. My only problem now is trying to decide which to pick up first . . .