Continuing on with the 30-Day Book Challenge, today’s prompt is to write about a book that I love but hate at the same time. It was a bit hard to think of a book that I both love and hate (usually those things are pretty separate for me), but after some thinking I came up with a children’s classic about which I have a conflicting feelings: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
In the summer of 2012, I spent a week at the University of Oxford, at the same college that Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) spent the majority of his life. I learned about Dodgson and how he came to write a story about his little friend Alice. I loved discovering Dodgson’s history and the backstory behind the famous book. It’s a bit crazy that a book Dodgson hand-crafted as a gift for Alice Liddell became a worldwide sensation. After spending a week tracing the footsteps of Alice and Lewis Carroll, the book will always have a special place in my heart. I really appreciate its whimsicality and physical manifestation of childlike wonder.
At the same time, it’s hard to say that I love the book itself. I really, really wanted to. But, while I don’t hate the book, there are a lot of things I dislike about it. I’m a very logical person, and I like books that have interesting plots with interweaving story lines where everything comes together at the end. And Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is anything but logical. It is nonsensical, scattered, and utterly ridiculous. I have no problem with fantasy and would be fine with disappearing cats and talking eggs if there was something to tie them all together. But the whole book reads more like a dream than a story, and that just frustrates me! I can’t make sense of my own dreams, why must I try and make sense of Alice’s?
I read the book for the first time as an adult, so maybe I missed out on enjoying it as a child. While I appreciate the way in which the story came about, I just couldn’t make myself love it. But if you ever get a chance to visit the college of Christ Church and see Dodgson’s old stomping grounds, I’d really recommend it. Oxford in general is beautiful, and walking through the old college is almost like walking through Wonderland.
Here are some pictures from my time there: