THROWBACK THURSDAY: REVIEWING A REISSUE
How many people think that they know a number of classic books when what they really know is the popular movie (or television) version of said books. For instance, who thinks that they know The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, or Peter Pan? And who thinks that they know Alice in Wonderland, when what they really know is the Disney animated or the Johnny Depp (or, my god, the Carol Channing) filmed versions? For those who don’t already know, what we often refer to as “Alice in Wonderland” is actually two different books: The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland, and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There.
When asked what my favorite book is, I have a difficult time answering. Often it’s whatever great book I’m currently reading or have just finished. But when pressed for a different answer I usually say “The Alice in Wonderland books” because they were one of my earliest favorites and they are two of the very few books that I still re-read every few years.
Dover Thrift Editions is a publisher that specializes in reprinting books and like the publishing title suggests, there isn’t anything new or special going on here. There’s no new editor’s notes or annotations here. This is a ‘thrift’ edition. It’s the original book, reprinted, and for something as glorious and creative as this Alice in Wonderland sequel, that’s more than enough.
In many ways this entire book is a metaphor for the game of chess. The savvy reader will note a number of chess references all throughout and in fact the Preface notes a chess game that is laid out before the reader – but take heart…it’s a little difficult to play if you follow the rules of chess strictly.
The book features Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee (and you thought they were in the first book!), and the poem “The Jabberwocky” appears here, and even Humpty Dumpty shows up in this book (though Humpty is not a Lewis Carroll creation).
The book is just as absurd as the first in the series, but Alice actually seems to have a little more spirit and the story seems to have just a bit more of a plot, rather than simply having absurd things happening to the little girl, which for me, makes this just slightly more enjoyable.
I’m not sure when it was that I last read this, but I did not remember the sequence on the train, early in the book. I hope I don’t say that again after the next time I read this.
If for some reason you don’t enjoy the story, this book is worth having on your shelf just for the beautiful drawings by Sir John Tenniel.
You really can’t beat this book (or these two books) by Lewis Carroll for their absurd, whimsical nature and pure, child-like manner of addressing absurd situations. How absurd does an adult world appear to a child – our social and moral mores that we dance around, and the way we often talk around an issue, rather than straight on. This book simply magnifies the strange world we live in, and does so in such a kind way.
Looking for a good book? Thank Dover for reprinting Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll, and for keeping this wonderful classic in front of the reading public. It continues to deserve an audience.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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Through the Looking-Glass
author: Lewis Carroll
publisher: Dover Publications
paperback, 160 pages