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Alice I Have Been

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Alice I Have Been Cover

ISBN13: 9780385344142
ISBN10: 0385344147
Condition: Standard
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Reading Group Guide

1.

What social forces motivate each of the characters to deny Dodgson's inappropriate attention to Alice?

2. Alice became famous through no fault of her own. Can you come up with a modern day version of Alice? How do their lives compare?

3. Alice refuses to read Alice in Wonderland until she is well into her eighties. Why do you think she avoids reading the story she inspired?

4. The relationships between Alice and her sisters Ina and Edith range from rivalry to a life-long bond. What effects do these have on Alice, and what are the consequences?

5. What part of the book speaks to you and your experiences in life?

6. How does Benjamin take both the reader and Alice from ignorance and denial to the self-realization of her complicity in the ruptured friendship with Rev. Dodgson? Is this believable?

7. While Alice's sister lies dying, Mama asks Alice "Why couldn't it be you? You've never brought me anything but pain, while she has brought me nothing but joy." What kind of effect do you think this has on Alice for the rest of her life? Did it affect the way Alice thought of her own children?

8. The photos Lewis Carroll (or the Rev. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) took of Alice Liddell capture a look that can be described as wise beyond her years—what do you think is behind that look?

9. How much did the Victorian setting play a role in this book?

10. Before reading Benjamin's novel, had you already read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland? If so, does it make you want to read it again? Why or why not?

11. What do you think of an author writing a biographical novel using only notes and references and filling in the gaps with intelligent supposition?

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Betty Gelean, February 22, 2015 (view all comments by Betty Gelean)
A quite amazing semi-biographical tale of the real Alice in Wonderland, Alice Pleasance Liddell. This is a novel, therefore fiction, but I doubt there was much fiction involved. This book read as nearly to a biography as a book ever has. In fact, it had me eager to look up Alice Liddell as a curiosity. What an amazing story the author has wrought. It was so easy to fall into the rabbit hole with Alice. As she herself states on first hearing Mr. Charles Dodgson tell it, as he has told her and her sisters tales before, this is her story. I loved the way the characters in what came to be such a famous childrens book fell into place, each fitting a character from life so smoothly. This book has everything a person could want in the genre of Victorian history, a remarkable and famous children's story, romance, deceit, and above all giving life to Alice in Wonderland. This book flows beautifully with the showing the world from the eyes of a child, a young lady in love, and finally an elderly woman who finally comes to terms with her life.

Taken that this book, the story as perceived by Alice, took place in the Victorian era, we must take some of it as plausible, particularly the apparent demise of the relationship, because this has never been resolved in fact, only that something did happen. Something of great import in the days of Queen Victoria's reign. Alice seems not to remember what happened that long ago day, even into her eighties. It may seem odd in this day and age that after asking Charles Dodgson, who later as we know took the nom de plume of Lewis Carroll, to write down the story he had just told the three sisters, and claiming it was about her, she didn't read it for many decades, not even to her own children.

The book is so thorough, so much a sincere biography and so much a work of fiction but most certainly based on biographical material. Melanie Benjamin has done considerable research on the subject and has turned it into a work worthy of it's subject. It takes us into the life of Alice and the life of Alice in Wonderland equally. They are one and yet they are not. A very convincing historic novel.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780385344142
Author:
Benjamin, Melanie
Publisher:
Bantam
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
General
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20101231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
8 x 5.2 x .83 in .6875 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » World History » General

Alice I Have Been Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.95 In Stock
Product details 400 pages Bantam - English 9780385344142 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Benjamin offers a finely wrought portrait of Alice that seamlessly blends fact with fiction. This is book club gold."
"Review" by , “This is magic!”
"Review" by , “A seamless tale of love, loss, and myth...storytelling at its finest.”
"Review" by , “A smashing tale — mostly true — of the overlap of childhood and womanhood, a compelling mystery, an exposé of Victorian mores, an exploration of love that came too soon and too late, an explosive trail of emotions and human foibles, a heartbreak — written with compassion and grace: I loved it!”
"Review" by , “The novel doesn’t just fill in the blanks of a literary life, but tells the story of someone who was more than a muse; Alice may have been immortalized as a girl but, as Benjamin imagines, she grew up to be a great woman.”
"Synopsis" by , Part love story, part literary mystery, Melanie Benjamin’s spellbinding historical novel leads readers on an unforgettable journey down the rabbit hole, to tell the story of a woman whose own life became the stuff of legend. Her name is Alice Liddell Hargreaves, but to the world she’ll always be known simply as “Alice,” the girl who followed the White Rabbit into a wonderland of Mad Hatters, Queens of Hearts, and Cheshire Cats. Now, nearing her eighty-first birthday, she looks back on a life of intense passion, great privilege, and greater tragedy. First as a young woman, then as a wife, mother, and widow, she’ll experience adventures the likes of which not even her fictional counterpart could have imagined. Yet from glittering balls and royal romances to a world plunged into war, she’ll always be the same determined, undaunted Alice who, at ten years old, urged a shy, stuttering Oxford professor to write down one of his fanciful stories, thus changing her life forever.
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