Customer Reviews for

Alice I Have Been

Average Rating 4
( 156 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

15 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

Review of Alice I Have Been

I've been on quite the Alice in Wonderland binge lately. Over the Christmas break I read the Looking Glass Wars books by Frank Bedder, then more recently saw the new Alice in Wonderland movie. Then.. I picked up Alice I Have Been.

What a breath of fresh air this wa...
I've been on quite the Alice in Wonderland binge lately. Over the Christmas break I read the Looking Glass Wars books by Frank Bedder, then more recently saw the new Alice in Wonderland movie. Then.. I picked up Alice I Have Been.

What a breath of fresh air this was compared to the over saturation of everything else. Instead of exploring more of "Wonderland", Melanie Benjamin gives us a fictional account of the Alice so few of us actually knew, the one living in our world.

Now, with that said I will tell you.. there are some really creepy, really disturbing parts to this book. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) was a disturbed individual (as evidenced by the photographs he would take of young girls see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_Carroll) I was thoroughly weirded out by the behavior and, honestly, was thankful that Alice in Wonderland is not one of my favorite childhood stories.

Okay, so I said it. It wasn't one of my favorites. Let me warn you before you pick up this book - if Alice in Wonderland IS one of your favorite stories it's very possible that reading this fictional book (even with the inspiration it takes from reality) will affect your view of Alice in Wonderland. It has affected mine. I intend to do a bit more reading, but regardless.. my view of Alice has been altered.

The story is interesting, I loved how Melanie Benjamin did not hesitate to give us a real picture of what Alice's life might have been like. I loved the fictional retelling of a real-life meeting between Alice and Peter Llewelyn Davies (Yes.. that Peter Pan). There were quite a few things I loved about this book and I wouldn't discourage anyone from reading it, aside from what I stated above.

posted by Benz1966 on March 29, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

slow, but an interesting read

With the release of the new Alice movie and all of the promotion of Alice in Wonderland, I couldn't help but get caught up in the Alice hysteria. I realized that I had never read Alice in Wonderland, despite all the reading that I did as a child. I quickly read Alice ...
With the release of the new Alice movie and all of the promotion of Alice in Wonderland, I couldn't help but get caught up in the Alice hysteria. I realized that I had never read Alice in Wonderland, despite all the reading that I did as a child. I quickly read Alice and Wonderland, followed by Alice I have been. Alice I have been is a fictional story written about the real life girl that inspired Alice in Wonderland. It was an interesting storyline, although a bit slow at times.

I guess one of the biggest problems about reading a book that trys to tell the 'real life' story behind a fantastical character is that it cannot be near as enchanting. In fact the storyline behind this book is sad and depressing. Nonetheless, it is a good rainy day read and a refreshing perspective on the childhood classic Alice and Wonderland.

posted by child_at_heart on April 9, 2010

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  • Posted March 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Review of Alice I Have Been

    I've been on quite the Alice in Wonderland binge lately. Over the Christmas break I read the Looking Glass Wars books by Frank Bedder, then more recently saw the new Alice in Wonderland movie. Then.. I picked up Alice I Have Been.

    What a breath of fresh air this was compared to the over saturation of everything else. Instead of exploring more of "Wonderland", Melanie Benjamin gives us a fictional account of the Alice so few of us actually knew, the one living in our world.

    Now, with that said I will tell you.. there are some really creepy, really disturbing parts to this book. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) was a disturbed individual (as evidenced by the photographs he would take of young girls see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_Carroll) I was thoroughly weirded out by the behavior and, honestly, was thankful that Alice in Wonderland is not one of my favorite childhood stories.

    Okay, so I said it. It wasn't one of my favorites. Let me warn you before you pick up this book - if Alice in Wonderland IS one of your favorite stories it's very possible that reading this fictional book (even with the inspiration it takes from reality) will affect your view of Alice in Wonderland. It has affected mine. I intend to do a bit more reading, but regardless.. my view of Alice has been altered.

    The story is interesting, I loved how Melanie Benjamin did not hesitate to give us a real picture of what Alice's life might have been like. I loved the fictional retelling of a real-life meeting between Alice and Peter Llewelyn Davies (Yes.. that Peter Pan). There were quite a few things I loved about this book and I wouldn't discourage anyone from reading it, aside from what I stated above.

    15 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    intriguing autobiographical fiction

    Octogenarian Alice Liddell Hargreaves leaves England on tour to receive honor from adulating American audiences. She finds the Americans nice though stunned that Alice of Wonderland is eighty and not eight. All were kind though disappointed with her age anyway except for some lad who offered her an oddity, chewing gum that one does not swallow, but just chews as if it came from Wonderland.

    Alice muses on her life as a little girl when their neighbor Oxford Professor Charles Dodgson tells her and her sisters Ina and Edith stories in which she was the star. Over time after a dismal encounter with her hero Professor Dodgson falls in love with Prince Leopold, but she frets that he will reject her once he hears of her alleged indiscretions with the adult storyteller when she was a child. Years pass with the Great War intruding on Alice watching her three sons go off to fight and knowing most likely not all three will come home, but she is still remembered as That Alice.

    This intriguing autobiographical fiction takes a deep look at the life of That Alice mostly through her eyes during three prime periods in her life. First and most influential (and almost half the novel) is as the preadolescent meetings with the stuttering Dodgson who makes her famous as That Alice. The other two periods are the royal romance and the WWI era. The gaps are filled with her looking back at events like her marriage to Hargreaves in 1880. However, throughout being Alice of Wonderland impacts her life as her highlight film occurs when she is a tweener in the late 1850s in Oxford. Fans will enjoy this tale that avoids the modern day moral posturing of concluding Dodgson was a pedophile though he still comes across as creepy weird.

    Harriet Klausner

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 6, 2011

    Amazing piece of literature, but beware!!

    I LOVED this book, but I'd like to warn anyone who adores Alice in Wonderland and/or Through the Looking Glass. This story may ruin your innocent adoration of the stories and, especially, the author. The mysteries around Alice and "Lewis" have always interested me, but as an English teacher, I won't bring up the controversy unless necessary. It too easily ruins the innocence and beauty of Wonderland's Alice. However, true literary enthusiasts will appreciate this fictional account of the real Alice.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 31, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    In the looking glass

    I received Alice I Have Been from Pump Up Your Book Tours for review purposes. The description intrigued me and I was really interested in reading it. The book is also available in stores, as I saw it on the shelf at the library last week for checkout.

    The premise of the book is that it is about the girl who Alice in Wonderland is based on and her life as she grows into adulthood. According to the notes from Melanie Benjamin at the end of the book she used what facts are available about Alice Liddell and Charles Dodgson (who wrote as Lewis Carroll) and then added in her own fictionalization about their lives. Even the facts that are available were open to some interpretation.

    As I read this book I felt a mounting sense of urgency to find out the secrets that were hinted at through out. Alice bounces around, she starts as a woman in her eighties who is thinking back on her childhood but at times she is at different stages of her life. Even though some things were revealed earlier in the story I still found myself hoping against evidence to the contrary that things would work out differently. When I finished the novel I was left with a lot of questions especially about Lewis Carroll and who he really was and what he was really like. I may need to look for a biography of him to learn some more.

    This was a very intriguing premise for me, I loved the idea of a fictionalized account of real people based on known facts. I think it would be even more interesting to find out, if it is even possible, how close to true Benjamin's account was.

    There were times when I really liked Alice and her independent nature and times when I did not care for her. I don't know if it was a product of the time but it seemed like an awful lot of the characters ended up going mad or insane, whether it was because they were creative types or from something else, it just seemed like a disproportionately large number. The big question I was left with is would it really be possible for it to take years to recognize love and how fast does life pass when we are busy focusing on the mundane?

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2014

    A

    When I first noticed this book I was concerned: Dream Child is one of my all time favorite movies and I was fearful that this book might be treading the same ground and pale by comparison. But I loved the Autobiography of Mrs Tom Thumb by the same author, so I decided to give it a try.

    I am still faithful to Dream Child's Alice, but this Alice is worthy and very much worth reading. The author has a good sense of period and writes well. The story is told wonderfully in first person and the character is quite real. I very much liked the realization at the ending--it seemed right.

    So, read the book, see the film and enjoy two takes on the wonder that was Alice.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2010

    Easy and Fun Read

    I enjoyed reading "Alice I Have Been" particularly because of the mix of confirmed history and rumor. The author has blended the two to weave a stimulating story that keeps you wondering about the Real Alice long after you close the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2013

    As the author of five books on Lewis Carroll and a collector of

    As the author of five books on Lewis Carroll and a collector of Carroll's works for 25 years, I have read a lot of fiction based on the story of Lewis Carroll and Alice. I am pleased to say that this book is one of the best. It is not without its faults, but it is, in many places, beautifully written and evocative, heartbreaking and thought provoking. Please remember that this is fiction, not a scholarly work about the truth of what really happened; but also know that as fiction, it's a lovely read. For a full analysis, see my lengthy review in Lewis Carroll Review (a publication of the Lewis Carroll Society.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2013

    Great read

    Loved it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2012

    Well written

    If you can get beyond the first 75 or so pages,you will find it gets interesting. The author makes you feel like the story is being told in thefirst person of Alice. I loved The autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb even more thhan I did this book,but this is still worth the time to read it. Lewis Carroll was a sick person. I really wish some of his photography could have been included in the book-especially the ones taken by him of Alice as a child.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2012

    I reccomend this book if your interested in the who was really A

    I reccomend this book if your interested in the who was really Alice.I've always enjoyed the movie Alice In Wonderland when i was a kid, and when i read the book i felt coneccted to Alice, i think Melanie has a great way of potraying Alice as she gets older, i really love this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2012

    Very Enjoyable

    This was a very enjoyable "read" for me. I've always loved the story of Alice in Wonderland. This book really opened my eyes to Lewis Carroll and his inspiration. I loved meeting the REAL Alice.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2012

    Good historical fiction

    I liked it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2011

    enjoyable, but slightly disturbing

    I liked "The Autobiography of Mrs. Thom Thumb" so much I decided to check this book out too. I enjoyed it, but the hinted pedophilia was disturbing. Seeing the way a child victim was scandalized even though she was innocent back in those days was not right. My heart broke for Alice. I enjoyed this book.

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  • Posted July 26, 2011

    Interesting read

    I couldnt put this book down. Well written and thought provoking given the historical details. Makes you wonder what really happened...cant wait to read mrs tom thumb

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  • Posted February 8, 2011

    Good fictionalized account of a historical character

    Alice I Have Been is fresh, and told in a way to keep one interested start to finish. The only reason I gave it four and not five stars is because I was able to put it down, and more then once.

    Telling a somewhat fictionalized accounting of Alice's life, how she because the Alice in the story, and following her throughout her years, it paints an interesting picture of life in a Victorian era. Ranging form her family life, to her love life, to being taken on tour and showcased as "the" Alice, the story is endearing and mostly fun to read. There are gently suggested themes of pedophilia throughout her childhood but it is nothing explicit.

    Alice I Have Been is an excellent story with plenty to flesh it out and keep it moving. The enclosed chapter in the end separating fact from fiction is a nice way to sum it all up.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted June 23, 2010

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