➸ Alice I Have Been Free ➮ Author Melanie Benjamin – Pdfr25.co

Alice I Have Been Few Works Of Literature Are As Universally Beloved As Alice S 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 Hargreaves S Life Has Been A Richly Woven Tapestry As A Young Woman, Wife, Mother, And Widow, She S 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 StoriesThat 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 Than Immortalize Alice He Changes Her Life Forever But Even He Cannot Stop Time, As Much As He Might Like To And As Alice S 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 JourneyA 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


10 thoughts on “Alice I Have Been

  1. says:

    I enjoyed this book but I wouldn t recommend it if you really really love the story of Alice s Adventures in Wonderland Whether you decide to take the author s liberties with the story at face value or not this book will forever change the way you look at Alice s story It s difficult after reading this book to not view Carroll s novel in a different light I can t unknown what I know now and that makes me sad.This novel tells the story of Alice Liddell Hargreaves, a real girl that inspired Lewis Carroll, n Charles Dodgson, to write his novel Alice s Adventures in Wonderland The author interweaves fact with fiction as she tells the story of Alice s life, with most of the novel being about Alice s childhood and her friendship with Dodgson It s this friendship with Alice and her sisters that inspires the classic tale, but there s so much to Alice s story than what happened down the rabbit hole.The problem I had with this book was that it made me think of Lewis Carroll and Alice s Adventures in Wonderland in an uncomfortable way I had always enjoyed the story, although Peter Pan will always be my favorite classic childrens tale, but I was still pretty attached to the characters that Carroll had created Once you know some of the back story though, those warm feelings you had about Alice in Wonderland might start to change.The author did her research though I can t fault her for that I did a lot of cross checking on Wikipedia and various sites and there s so many aspects of the story that the author could have completely made up but she did a great job of making it believable You can see the connections she made and come to some of the same conclusions that she did, and she does it all very cleverly The story is well told and incredibly engrossing, and heart breakingly sad on than one occasion I m curious to see if I read Carroll s novel now if I d find some hints and clues from his and Alice s real lives I also hope that this author writes something similar again because I really enjoyed the format in which she wrote I ll definitely keep an eye out for her next book


  2. says:

    My apologies to everyone, but this review is full of SPOILERS and it is also ridiculously long This is something I rarely do, but in this case I felt compelled to write both how I felt and why I felt it and the only way I could do so was to identify specific areas of the book s plot that brought those feelings up front I attempted unsuccessfully to hide the spoilers but they are everywhere If you are highly interested in reading this book, please skip reading my Review until afterward so you can open the pages with impartiality Note Skip down to the very bottom for a fun musical link on YouTube I want to say up front that I did enjoy this book from the perspective of historical fiction, with emphasis on the word fiction and despite some big holes There are very few facts in this book other than when people were born or died that have been documented as truth Even facts themselves, as we know, can also be excised and distorted to support a particular bias and that is a sad truth that I felt was the predominant driving force of this book.My disappointment in this book comes from the point of view the author chose to exploit specifically the destructive rumors regarding Mr Dodgson and his sexual preferences Especially because none of the rumors have facts to support them, and there is instead evidence to the contrary Although she stops short of stating Mr Dodgson somehow molested young Alice Liddell, the licentious flavor of their interactions in the book make Ms Benjamin s position very clear.Melanie Benjamin, on .com, referring to the photograph taken by Mr Dodgson of 7 year old Alice Liddell in a beggar girl costume It was of a young girl clad only in rags, but with an expression on her face that stopped me in my tracks She was so adult, so frank, so worldly, as she gazed at the man behind the camera The wise yet wary face in the photograph, the unflappable voice of the girl in the books all I had to do was capture it on the page This quote encapsulates the first two discrepancies in this book First, the voice of the girl in the Alice books is not Alice That voice is all Mr Dodgson aka Lewis Carroll creating a pretend Alice for the real Alice s amusement and that of her sisters Second, the photograph is not Alice, either It is Alice pretending to be a beggar girl.As with books, as with paintings, so with photographs any number of people are going to see them through their own eyes, filter them through their own lenses, and come up with their own interpretations I have looked and looked at the role playing photo of Alice Liddell as the little beggar girl and to me, her expression is of a poverty ridden child sad from being poor, and weary from begging all befitting the role she is playing for the photo shoot It is the same picture, yet it spawns widely differing interpretations Ultimately, what viewers think is going on with a person in a photograph is 10% real and 90% in their own heads.Mr Dodgson was one of the foremost experimenters in the field of photographic artistry He took many, many photos of children in various different costumes and settings including very buttoned up versions of children wearing oriental costumes and so forth He also took many, many photos of adults and landscapes as well There were also several other popular photographers during the Victorian age, both male and female, taking the same types of pictures The children s facial expressions are most often very somber with an almost frozen look to their eyes This is because it would take anywhere from 45 to 60 seconds or to achieve the exposure necessary using early photographic equipment The expressions and poses had to be such that they could be held in perfect stillness for that length of time, or the photo would be blurred.From Smithsonian.com Of the approximately 3,000 photo graphs Dodgson made in his life, just over half are of children 30 of whom are depicted nude or semi nude Some of his portraits even those in which the model is clothed might shock 2010 sensibilities, but by Victorian standards they werewell, rather conventional Photographs of nude children sometimes appeared on postcards or birthday cards, and nude portraits skillfully done were praised as art studies, as they were in the work of Dodgson s contemporary Julia Margaret Cameron Victorians saw childhood as a state of grace even nude photographs of children were considered pictures of innocence itself It is well documented that Alice s family kept a copy of this controversial photo in a special leather case to preserve it For the record, none of the photographs of the Liddell children were nudes Many famous people had Mr Dodgson take photos of their children and or themselves I realize that I have gone on about the photograph a lot However, in the author s own words, it was the photo of Alice that inspired Ms Benjamin to write this book That the author interpreted the photo from her own 21st century brain and used that to transcribe a 19th century story leaves me questioning the motives and integrity of the author.The fact is, Mr Dodgson lived in close proximity to the Liddell family at Christ Church campus and was close friends with the family both before and after a rift that occurred around the time that Alice was 11 years old In any age, yet particularly in the Victorian age, no pederast is going to watching my language here deposit his leavings where he eats his supper.The author initially speculates that the rift between Mr Dodgson and the Liddell family was due to Mr Dodgson proposing to marry 11 year old Alice Please A mathematical genius, a prestigious college don, a talented photographer, gifted writer and illustrator of children s books wants to marry an 11 year old girl Seriously The rift could as likely have been caused by Mr Dodgson wishing to pay court to the family governess except the author chose to give the governess a hairy wart on her face, a grotesque smile, and piggy eyes in other words, a governess as unattractive as possible so there could be no competition to the author s bias.There was also an incident fictional described on a train just prior to the rift where supposedly an 11 year old, sheltered Victorian girl Alice made inappropriate advances to a pederast Mr Dodgson who, from the age of 13 was writing stories and illustrating them for his younger siblings In other words, entertaining children and spending time with them telling stories and playing games with them was a lifelong joy for Mr Dodgson He was never, in all the years of his life accused of inappropriate behavior outside of unsubstantiated rumor and speculation.Again, in the Victorian era, an 11 year old girl in the class of Alice s family would not have had anywhere near the worldliness or capability for coquettishness that many have today Young girls in those times were strongly buffered from any and all topics that would compromise their innocence and childhood, especially anything of a sexual nature unlike many 11 year olds today In addition to its being a fictional, false crutch there are holes in the above highly speculative and damaging caught in the act of inappropriate behavior scenario large enough to fire a 3 story building through.I could speculate that the rift was caused because Alice s parents wanted to negotiate a muse fee for the book, Alice in Wonderland, which was published two years later, after a prolonged court case was satisfactorily settled against the person who was to create the blocks for the illustrations If Mr Dodgson declined the muse fee , it would explain the rift and would also explain why Alice s mother allegedly tore through the nursery, gathering up and burning all correspondence with Mr Dodgson That speculation would be just as accurate as the speculations put forth in this book, if not so Despite the times, despite the highly respected and upper class position of the Liddell family and despite Mr Dodgson s documented prudery and strong religious beliefs, in this book little Alice Liddell was portrayed as some kind of Lolita, and Mr Dodgson, like some kind of sad, reluctant, yet obsessed pederast Whatever caused the temporary estrangement between the family and Mr Dodgson was slanted to that point of view.The author does not bother mentioning the fact that Mr Dodgson s friendship resumed with the family shortly after the book was published If he molested their daughter or made any kind of inappropriate advances at all, would this have happened No Would Alice have sat yet again for another photography session with Mr Dodgson when she was 18 It s not clear why the author changed her age to 23 and brought Prince Leopold into that scene because it s not true and serves only to once again advance a flawed theory The answer is still no Had anything disrupting Victorian moral values happened in reality, Mr Dodgson would have been dismissed from his position as a don at Christ Church and left to find his way elsewhere and he would have been cut from the family s environs completely That did not happen.The author also speculates that Mr Dodgson was so affected by his break with his muse that he spent the rest of his life trying to find her replacement Another huge leap away from logic or even common sense Mr Dodgson was a photographer He took photos of children before Alice he took photos of children after Alice He also continued to write and illustrate stories, and he continued as the don of mathematics at Christ Church He also courted women Grown women.Further, women enjoyed his company, too, despite one eye being lower than the other, which the author states at least 4 times in the book as though this is some kind of indicator of his so called perverted nature Even that, overstated as it is, is not true One of his eyelids was slightly fuller than the other and drooped a tiny bit lower than the other So what He also had a stammer, and he limped due to childhood health issues Again, so what Are we supposed to believe that certain physical afflictions indicate specific behaviors Poppycock.The love affair with Prince Leopold, Queen Victoria s youngest son, is also fabricated out of thin air That they were friends is certain Prince Leopold along with at least one of his older brothers was a friend of the Liddell family for the duration of his four years spent at Christ Church where Alice s father was the Dean a very prestigious position in those days and one where the Royals were entertained at the Dean s home when they came to visit their various offspring attending Christ Church.The author s proof that they were lovers Prince Leopold gave Alice a jeweled horseshoe pin upon her marriage Further proof is that Prince Leopold named his first daughter Alice, while Alice named her middle son Leopold Again, during the Victorian age, naming children after friends, especially friends in high places was common practice Additionally, myriad friends of royalty through all ages were and are given special gifts upon special occasions How this gift becomes proof of their love relationship is beyond me Likewise, in the Victorian age, had they been lovers in fact, they would never have openly named their children after each other and Alice would never have openly worn that pin It just wasn t done.There are several other distortions of fact and inventions of fact in this book that serve only to feed small minded 21st century tendencies to rip fame or the famous to shreds based on rumor only These include the ugly governess, already mentioned the fictional love story with a prince, already mentioned and the cause or reasons for a rift between a man and the family he was close friends with, already mentioned.These fabrications also include a controlling mother of Alice and her siblings who paradoxically allowed her 7 year old daughter to run free and unsupervised, allowed a pederast to undress her and then clothe her in rags in secret and yet lovingly preserved the photograph in a leather case a child Alice who seduces an older man Mr Dodgson leaving the man bereft and nonfunctional for the rest of his life not at all true in reality while the young girl spends the rest of her life recovering from the trauma also not true in reality Alice supposedly had all this angst and anguish despite the so called passionate interlude with a Royal Prince, portrayed as a love affair that tainted the majority of her later marriage Oh, and let s not forget Alice s victimization by Mr Ruskin who was the art instructor at Christ Church an acknowledged contrivance of the author, and the sneaky convenience of all letters mentioned and quoted in the book being burned in the end an unacknowledged contrivance of the author.This story, as I stated earlier, was mostly well written as pure fiction and had the author approached it with different names, an invented child s story, and devised a fictional Prince Charming and villains, this review would have been far different Instead, this book floats the names of real people who had real lives and real interactions with others that have already been sullied by speculation and rumor and this book only adds to the malicious gossip.Alice Pleasance Liddell Hargreaves has been deceased for than 80 years Charles Lutwidge Dodgson aka Lewis Carroll has been deceased for than 110 years Can we not let go of our 21st century Reality Show mentality and allow these poor souls to rest in peace 4 stars for good story telling minus 2 stars for bad taste Added Just to end on a lighter note, this is a little 2 44 clip on YouTube of Pogo s music and video adaptation from Alice in Wonderland It is charming and fun


  3. says:

    After I finished reading this book I did some research on Alice Liddell and Lewis Carroll to separate fact from fiction Before doing this I was going to give it 3 stars but changed my rating to 4 stars I realized that the author did an amazing job in weaving a novel around the lives of these two people The book is about the life of Alice and her family, friends, loves and especially her relationship with Charles Dodgson Lewis Carroll.The connection between these two and the suggestion of intimacy was a bit disturbing in the beginning But the mood it set was hauntingly palpable It was an enjoyable read, sometimes overly sentimental but still very engaging I suggest that readers do some research I recommend googling the actual Charles Dodgson photos of children They are especially interesting and add insight into the story.


  4. says:

    I am giving this book 2 stars but not for the reasons I am reading other folks here talk about in their 2 star reviewsI was gonna give this book a 3 til I read what the author had to say at the endThis ticked me off What a load of crap So first she says that she wants to be clear about not having an agenda in writing this that her personal opinions on how all this stuff may or may not have gone down totally is not what her book is aboutand then in the same breath, she says just the opposite She defends the liberties she took with this story by talking about all the research she didand how this can only justify her own line of thinking and not only that but how it would basically lead anyone to think along the same lines and jump to the same conclusionslike it was sooo obvious we should all think like her.She creeped me out you guysright herewhere she says how she came across this picture Of Alice Lidell the one in the book as a childand how she had the eyes of a womanand how this disturbed her and got her thinkingbasicallyalong disturbing lines Uhhh I am looking at this picture too I am NOT disturbed by it in any way nor do I think there is this provocative nature in the the eyes of this childI don t see the come hither look a sexually mature womana wordly womanor even at that an old soul Whaaaat I see a kid, y allwith a fixed little look on her face and in her eyesuhhhprobably because she had to stand there all extra still and FIXED for longer than a kid that age wants to, in order for the photo to be taken.How many times do you get that honest in the moment gleam in the eyes of the subjects of your own pictures..taken with our high speed cameras I dunno about you guys but I snap, snap, snap away until I finally get one of the kids where they don t look vacant bored irritated that I am snapping away at them until I finally get one where their eyes reflect the joy that is in them as they re playing at whatever, that day You can t stage or fake that and you gotta get it at just the right moment If I told a kid to stand there perfectly still and posed for nearly a minute so I could snap their picture heck yeah they d look all fixed and haunting DeeeerThis lady is reading waaay too much into this crap, man How would any of us like it if over a hundred years latersomeone wrote about us as if they knew us personally She saidthis is Alice s storyshe sounded so proud of thatto be able to say that she is telling Alice s story For real Lady you have no idea what Alice s story was You don t know Alice because you weren t there to actually know her These real people are just as much fictional characters or ghosts of the past TO YOU as they are to any of usThe nerve B , please haha


  5. says:

    4 1 2 stars This was a heartbreaking read but it was one of those books that I found myself drawn into and found it difficult to break myself away from when it was time to take the headphones off and return to reality I have to admit, it has thrown me into a bit of a funk Despite Alice s well to do lifestyle, her life was filled with disappointment, sadness , missed opportunities and loss Most of it due to an event in her early childhood The story of the real Alice who inspired Alice In Wonderland was fascinating though and a great listen on audio but I need to find something frivolous and upbeat before I drown in a pit of despair over here My only caveat has to do with the lack of including the author notes in the audio version, now I ll have to track down the book at the library to learn what she had to say and what she might ve embellished for the book.


  6. says:

    DNF 75%Oh my word, this was horrible.Somebody call the cringe police I really, really do not get any pleasure out of rating a book so low and being this critical, yet I can also not find myself giving this book 2 stars for mediocrity I found it that terrible.I actually really enjoyed this at first, but right afterwards it took a sudden curve downhill and I could not read another page of it without rolling my eyes and constantly thinking to myself Oh lord are you kidding me So it was just best that I not finish this book which I ended up skipping to and not liking I understand this is a historical fiction novel Key word fiction, yet good lord, this book reeked of chick lit and romances that never existed This didn t even hold a somewhat entertaining value to it like The Swans of Fifth Avenue did, but this was instead overly saccharine, Lewis Carroll x Alice Liddell romance with some truly eye rolling moments I find that this author just gushed over the thought of Caroll and Liddell hitting it off and wanting to form a romantic partnership BUT THEY CAN T BECAUSE OF SOCIETY AND GOSSIP AND SLANDER AND BLAH The only part I truly appreciated was when Alice secretly wished she didn t have to become an adult That s truly the only part that wasn t steam rolled with weird, romantic, chick lit goodnessuntil she starts fantasizing about Lewis Carroll again WHY Another problem with this book is the romantization the author or maybe just the main character has for Alice in Wonderland How a book about the arbitrary rules of childhood with eerie surreal fantastical themes makes one think of romance is beyond me.Maybe this book just got under my skin because I ve read a lot about Lewis Carroll and Alice Liddell Hargreaves, and found this piece of historical fiction to be nothing but fanfare and bitter sweetness I think what irked me the most was how Benjamin tried to sound like a Victorian Brit, but it came off as, wella 21st century American author trying to sound like a stereotypical Victorian prude It was truly terrible and ghastly.I don t want to sound like I dislike the author I ve read a couple books by her that I enjoyed, but this was just You get my point.This was her first attempt at publishing a novel, and it shows.


  7. says:

    Alice I have Been by Melanie Benjamin is a 2010 Random House publication After having read The Swans of Fifth Avenue , I was eager to discover some of Melanie Benjamin s other novels I had heard some talk about The Aviator s Wife , and so I read that one first, and was impressed with it as well However, I had not heard of this book, and had no idea what to expect from it So, in preparation, I downloaded a free version of Alice s Adventures in Wonderland and re read the book because as a child, I just did not find the book as appealing as everyone else, nor did my own children So, I thought it might be a good idea to familiarize myself with it before beginning this book I am happy I re read AAIW first, but I can t say it had much of an impact on my enjoyment of this story, which is centered around the real life Alice Liddell, Lewis Carroll s muse The Victorian era is riddled with moral complexities that are hard for us to digest now Still, the approach the author took with the book left me feeling a little squeamish, and I can t say I enjoyed this story as much as I have her other novels Having raised two children in uncertain times, I kept waiting for a horrible reveal, and sat on pins and needles throughout as I wondered what conclusions Alice might come to by the book s end Curious as to what actual history has to say about the relationship between Alice and Charles Dodgson, I learned that many questions raised in the book were mere conjecture, without much hard evidence to back it up, such as the alleged romance between Leo and Alice, and the cause of the eventual falling out between Dodgson and the Liddell s Many liberties were taken in the dramatization of Alice Liddell s life, and with historical fiction that is to be expected, but I did wish a different approach had been taken with this one I do believe this is the author s debut, and so I do admire her mettle in tackling such a large and perhaps controversial subject Being the muse for such a beloved children s classic would indeed feel strange, I suppose, and of course the legend surrounding it took on a life of its own I must say though, that if you really love Alice s Adventures in Wonderland, I would approach this novel with caution and be prepared to deal with innuendo you may not like But, also be ready for a very emotional story, but one that ends with the answer to the burning question we wondered about throughout I am on the fence about my feelings in regards to his novel, but because it was well written, bold, and daring, atmospheric, interesting and thought provoking, I think it deserves at least 4 stars.


  8. says:

    I always knew Alice from the famous Lewis Carroll books was based on a real person mind you that was because my late grandmother was an Alice s Adventures in Wonderland fan and my mother had inherited two very old copies of both of the books chronicling Alice s fantastic travels and the variety of friends she meets As a kid myself, I loved the full colour illustrations and really imagined that the characters were real, from Humpty Dumpty to the quirky Mad Hatter and of course the Mock Turtle never did like the Tim Burton film adaptation though To me it was like a bad acid trip I never knew much about the real Alice behind the books though, and Alice I Have Been is the perfect novel for anybody who wants to know about the face behind the fantasy.I was a little surprised to find that the book shares the story of a very odd relationship between Alice Liddell and Lewis Dodgson by real name At times it was very off putting Still, it provides a strange and interesting glimpse into Victorian times and the commonplace things that by today s standards may seem absurd or even mildly inappropriate Alice I Have Been is a book that shatters the romanticism we have for the Victorian age yet which still keeps Alice one of the most endearing fictional figures at the same time After all, the real Alice proves to be just as intelligent, resourceful, considerate and wise as the storybook version of Alice, and Lewis Carroll, while a rather questionable man even for his time, is still shown as a whimsical and talented writer with a good sense of imagination.


  9. says:

    I ve read Alice in Wonderland, and was never that big a fan of it I was curious about this book, as I wondered about the inspiration for story Alice So, what can I say about this book I liked Melanie Benjamin s writing, and the way her characters were drawn I had read a little about the controversy surrounding Alice and Charles Dodgson, which Benjamin does address here The problem I found was that Benjamin s take on the possible events that caused a split between the Liddell family and Dodgson was pretty speculative, and didn t quite work for me Benjamin s creation of a relationship between Prince Leopold and Alice looks to be entirely fictional Though historical fiction requires a certain malleable relationship with actual events, this section of the book didn t work for me I was left feeling really uncomfortable and squeamish as far as fictional Alice s relationships with both Dodgson and with John Ruskin who comes as as really smarmy and devious Who knows, he might very well have been All I know is I kept yelling at Alice to get out of the room every time she spent any time with Ruskin I also felt super squeamish about some of the Victorian s, especially regarding young children, and the imagery and relationships that were sanctioned and accepted, at least within the gentry I did like the idea of how Dodgson could have used Alice as his muse The man did say she wasn t the actual role model for fictional Alice Though I liked the start of this book, as I kept listening, I just kept getting uncomfortable, at least until well past the middle, at which point, Benjamin jumps to Alice Liddell Hargreaves later life I liked her description of Alice s grief at the loss of her two older sons.Because of my ambivalence for this book as a whole, I m going with 3 stars.


  10. says:

    This was a wonderful book It was written from the viewpoint of Alice Pleasance Liddell Hargreaves, the girl who inspired the book, Alice s adventures in wonderland We follow her through her life, making leaps from childhood, to young womanhood, to her later years as a wife and mother There is a scandal that haunts her from the time of her childhood through the rest of her life There is also her fairytale love story that will pull at the heartstrings All in all a great read I think it would make an excellent movie.


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