Alice I Have Been
By Melanie Benjamin
Once again, I have to state how great Twitter is. It’s a great way to build connections with people with similar interests and to connect with the authors of the books I love! On a late April Monday, I posted that I was reading the final pages of Alice I Have Been and then I’d pick up On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder. After posting, I tweeted a link and Melanie Benjamin replied to me!
It’s the little things that make me happy!
This lovely novel fictionalizes the story of Alice Liddell, daughter of the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford and believed to be the Alice, inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s work.
Melanie Benjamin was inspired to learn about Alice after seeing an unusual photo of a young Victorian child scarcely covered in tattered rags. As I read the book, I kept wondering where the true story of Alice ended and Benjamin’s imagination began. Benjamin was kind enough to draw the lines in the book club discussion of the book. I found it inspiring to see where Benjamin filled in the cracks with her own story and how she told the documented parts of Alice’s life.
Writing 4 out of 5 stars
Benjamin wrote a fascinating, well-researched story.
Storytelling 4 out of 5 stars
It took me a little to get into the story (I at least partly blame being tired during the move for this), but when the story moved forward about ten years, I was hooked.
Character Development 4 out of 5 stars
As the narrator, Alice was very well developed. Benjamin fleshed her out well-from a tomboy to her mother’s daughter.
Plot Structure 4 out of 5 stars
To cover a lot of ground, Benjamin skipped the story ahead between ten and 30 years. She successfully used foreshadowing in the first section and flashbacks in the subsequent two sections to tell Alice’s story.
Cultural Impact 3 out of 5 stars
I think this book will stick around for a while. People who’ve read and loved Alice in Wonderland will be interested in the rest of Alice’s story.
Total 3.8 out of 5 stars
Have you read Alice I Have Been? What are your thoughts?