After Alice by Gregory Maguire
Alice goes to Wonderland, but was she the only one? Couldn’t someone else fall down that rabbit hole just as easily as Alice did? Well, someone did. At first, Alice thought that she might be someone else, but she wasn’t. She knew she wasn’t Ada, because Ada was too unwieldy. She went on as Alice in the world of Wonderland.
In the meantime, Ada wanders away from her governess and finds herself down the very same rabbit hole that Alice went, but things are a bit different for Ada because Ada actually is a bit cumbersome. She has a bit of a disability and cannot move easily.
Ada soon encounters doors that stand in the middle of nothing and all sorts of strange people. There’s a strange tea party. There’s a mad queen.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, Alice’s sister Lydia is finding life uncomfortable. Her mother died recently and her father is having a meeting with Charles Darwin. He’s brought with him a man named Mr. Winter, who has brought with him an escaped slave named Siam.
Siam soon tires of everything as well. He wonders into the drawing-room. There he finds a mirror on a mantle and decides to go right on through. He ultimately finds himself in the same place Alice and Ada found themselves. Where did everyone end up in Wonderland? Will they get back to the real world? What about that governess? Can one stay in Wonderland indefinitely?
What I liked
I like pretty much everything that Gregory writes. I love how he looks at traditional stories and thinks up new back stories for the characters in traditional stories. He gives life to characters that may have only had a brief mention in the traditional story. Ada was mentioned in the Alice books, but a mention was all she got.
I do like that other people went to Wonderland. Why should Alice be the only person to experience it?
What I didn’t like
I quite enjoyed it. Sometimes Gregory’s writing style is a little ethereal, and I don’t mean in a good way. I mean it flows, but in a flighty manner. It’s a bit difficult to keep up with at times. It’s kind of like you’re hearing the story second-hand by listening over someone’s shoulder.
This story isn’t quite as edgy as some of Gregory’s other stories.
What happened to Ada after she went back?
Would you go to Wonderland if you had the chance?
Would you be Ada?