Wednesday, November 11, 2015

After Alice

Honestly, sometimes when I read a book I feel so dumb that I wonder how I ever passed high school English classes. Then I thank god I never went to a four year college because it's books like this that make me think I wouldn't have done so hot.

After Alice - Gregory Maguire
From the multi-million-copy bestselling author of Wicked comes a magical new twist on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, published to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Lewis's Carroll's beloved classic

When Alice toppled down the rabbit-hole 150 years ago, she found a Wonderland as rife with inconsistent rules and abrasive egos as the world she left behind. But what of that world? How did 1860s Oxford react to Alice's disappearance?

In this brilliant new work of fiction, Gregory Maguire turns his dazzling imagination to the question of underworlds, undergrounds, underpinnings — and understandings old and new, offering an inventive spin on Carroll's enduring tale. Ada, a friend of Alice's mentioned briefly in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, is off to visit her friend, but arrives a moment too late — and tumbles down the rabbit hole herself. 

Ada brings to Wonderland her own imperfect apprehension of cause and effect as she embarks on an odyssey to find Alice and see her safely home from this surreal world below the world. If Euridyce can ever be returned to the arms of Orpheus, or Lazarus can be raised from the tomb, perhaps Alice can be returned to life. Either way, everything that happens next isAfter Alice.

Anyone who knows me at all knows I love a good re-telling of a classic story. Secondly, you would know that I never read the book Wicked and I saw 30 minutes of the play someone had recorded and I thought it was lame sauce so I didn't finish it. 

I know- it's practically a sin to admit that, but here I am, subjecting myself to the "what's wrong with you" comments. It's fine, I've practically heard them all by now. 

But when I saw this come up for review I immediately jumped on it because I absolutely loved Alice in Wonderland and everything about it. When I was little I had always kind of hoped maybe I would fall in a hole in a tree and go on an adventure but we didn't really have big trees where I lived, we had sewers and that didn't hold the same charm, you know? 

This isn't a re-telling really, it's more of a second story within a story. Something happening at the same time as the main story. We have Alice's friend Ada, who essentially follows Alice after she goes missing. Cue her own adventure "after Alice". The premise of this is perfect, it has the opportunity to be just as grand but in a more modern, more humorous kind of way. The only problem with this is that it falls so short of it because every sentence is filled with the worst words the author could have chosen to use. I have two friends who were reading this with me and I'll be honest, I was afraid to even tell them that I didn't get what the hell I was reading most of the time because I was sick of using the thesaurus app on my phone to look words up. Thankfully, one of them mentioned it first and suddenly I didn't feel like a 14 year old in a college literature class trying to follow along to The Odyssey. I wanted this to be light and fun but instead it was a little darker, and it required you to really think about what was happening and overall it had a somber feel to it. I really struggled to finish this and that was so disappointing for me. If you are a big Lewis Carroll fan and are looking for the next generation, keep looking- you won't find it in this book. If you are a big Gregory Maguire fan and really loved the book Wicked, you are going to absolute enjoy this with everything in you because it's so very similar. I don't think it's going to win any Lewis Carroll fans over but it's a steady followup to Wicked in style and writing. 

Follow Gregory Maguire on his website, and you can find After Alice available on Amazon
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Caitlin said...

I'm currently reading Wicked, but I'm having a hard time sticking with it. I like it, but it's easy to put down. Hopefully After Alice is more of a page-turner! :)

Andi said...

What a bummer! I love me some Alice as well, it's too bad this one didn't live up to yoke expectations. Have you read The Looking Glass Wars series? I absolutely loved the take on Alice in Wonderland from those books, and they are an easy read!

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book for the tour.

Neely said...

I always love peoples book reviews because I am always looking for new ones to read