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Alice I Have Been

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Alice I Have Been Cover

ISBN13: 9780385344135
ISBN10: 0385344139
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Few works of literature are as universally beloved as Alices Adventures in Wonderland. Now, in this spellbinding historical novel, we meet the young girl whose bright spirit sent her on an unforgettable trip down the rabbit hole-and the grown woman whose story is no less enthralling.

But oh my dear, I am tired of being Alice in Wonderland. Does it sound ungrateful?

Alice Liddell Hargreavess life has been a richly woven tapestry: As a young woman, wife, mother, and widow, shes experienced intense passion, great privilege, and greater tragedy. But as she nears her eighty-first birthday, she knows that, to the world around her, she is and will always be only “Alice.” Her life was permanently dog-eared at one fateful moment in her tenth year-the golden summer day she urged a grown-up friend to write down one of his fanciful stories.

That story, a wild tale of rabbits, queens, and a precocious young child, becomes a sensation the world over. Its author, a shy, stuttering Oxford professor, does more than immortalize Alice-he changes her life forever. But even he cannot stop time, as much as he might like to. And as Alices childhood slips away, a peacetime of glittering balls and royal romances gives way to the urgent tide of war. 

For Alice, the stakes could not be higher, for she is the mother of three grown sons, soldiers all. Yet even as she stands to lose everything she treasures, one part of her will always be the determined, undaunted Alice of the story, who discovered that life beyond the rabbit hole was an astonishing journey.

A love story and a literary mystery, Alice I Have Been brilliantly blends fact and fiction to capture the passionate spirit of a woman who was truly worthy of her fictional alter ego, in a world as captivating as the Wonderland only she could inspire.

Review:

"Benjamin draws on one of the most enduring relationships in children's literature in her excellent debut, spinning out the heartbreaking story of Alice from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Her research into the lives of Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) and the family of Alice Liddell is apparent as she takes circumstances shrouded in mystery and colors in the spaces to reveal a vibrant and passionate Alice. Born into a Victorian family of privilege, free-spirited Alice catches the attention of family friend Dodgson and serves as the muse for both his photography and writing. Their bond, however, is misunderstood by Alice's family, and though she is forced to sever their friendship, she is forever haunted by their connection as her life becomes something of a chain of heartbreaks. As an adult, Alice tries to escape her past, but it is only when she finally embraces it that she truly finds the happiness that eluded her. Focusing on three eras in Alice's life, Benjamin offers a finely wrought portrait of Alice that seamlessly blends fact with fiction. This is book club gold." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

About the Author

Melanie Benjamin lives in Illinois, where she is at work on her next novel.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

booklover8000, January 24, 2012 (view all comments by booklover8000)
One of the best books I've read in a long while. Completely intriguing story...interesting that it is somewhat historically accurate, and just embellished with the author's very creative imagination. I was gripped through the whole thing, and sad when it ended.
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cariola119, April 16, 2010 (view all comments by cariola119)
How convenient that I finished this novel just as Tim Burton's new version of Alice in Wonderland is sweeping the country! The narrator is Alice Liddell Hargreaves, once the little girl for whom Lewis Carroll/Charles Dodson wrote the famous tale. It begins and ends with Alice, age 80, wrapping up a tour of America and relates the details of her relationship with Dodson. Was it an innocent friendship, an impossible love affair, or something more sinister? Alice keeps us guessing up until the end, dropping tantalizing tidbits along the way that, I confess, sometimes made me cringe a bit. The repeated motif is "that day on the train"--a day that Alice claims to have little recollection of but which resulted in the Liddells cutting off all contact with Mr. Dodson.

Even more fascinating than her relationship with Mr. Dodson are those with her mother and her older sister Ina--but I won't give anything away here for those who might want to read about it for themselves. The remainder of Alice's life is a fairly typical Victorian portrait of a woman who marries a nice man who is not the first or even second love of her life but rather her ticket out of an unpleasant home life and a spinster's future. Years later, like so many women of her era, she has to face the trauma of watching her sons going off to the battlefields of World War I.

My overall reaction to the book is mixed. At times, I was captivated, but at other times, the novel seemed rather a dull and conventional, like something I must have read many times before. Worth reading, in other words, but not exceptional.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780385344135
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Benjamin, Melanie
Publisher:
Delacorte Press
Subject:
General
Subject:
Historical fiction
Subject:
Love stories
Subject:
General Fiction
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20100112
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
8.32x5.90x1.30 in. 1.06 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Romance » Historical

Alice I Have Been Used Hardcover
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Product details 368 pages Delacorte Press - English 9780385344135 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Benjamin draws on one of the most enduring relationships in children's literature in her excellent debut, spinning out the heartbreaking story of Alice from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Her research into the lives of Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) and the family of Alice Liddell is apparent as she takes circumstances shrouded in mystery and colors in the spaces to reveal a vibrant and passionate Alice. Born into a Victorian family of privilege, free-spirited Alice catches the attention of family friend Dodgson and serves as the muse for both his photography and writing. Their bond, however, is misunderstood by Alice's family, and though she is forced to sever their friendship, she is forever haunted by their connection as her life becomes something of a chain of heartbreaks. As an adult, Alice tries to escape her past, but it is only when she finally embraces it that she truly finds the happiness that eluded her. Focusing on three eras in Alice's life, Benjamin offers a finely wrought portrait of Alice that seamlessly blends fact with fiction. This is book club gold." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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