Reader reviews and comments on Alice I Have Been, plus links to write your own review.

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Alice I Have Been

by Melanie Benjamin

Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin X
Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2010, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2011, 368 pages

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There are currently 32 reader reviews for Alice I Have Been
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Carol Byers

Behind the Story
I found Benjamin's 'Alice I Have Been' to be fascinating with many of life's experiences seamlessly expressed. To gain the most of this story, I needed to read a bit about the actual life of Lewis Carroll as well as the Liddell family (Alice was the third of three Liddell daughters). In interviews about this book, Benjamin relates her interest in the actual Liddell/Dodson work and social relationship. Because not all is known of that actual relationship, she builds 'Alice I Have Been' as a work of fiction. Reading about Charles Lutwidge Dodson's (pen name Lewis Carroll) life enriched the tenor of this book for me.
Power Reviewer mainlinebooker

what a treat
The best part of the book was the authentic voices used; I can just picture this as a wonderful audio book. The weakest part is the third section but I delighted in this book and am now back to reading Alice in Wonderland and will see Tim Burton's movie adaptation after!
A Bookshelf Monstrosity

Meet the real Alice
"But oh my dear, I am tired of being Alice in Wonderland. Does it sound ungrateful?"

I had some vague idea that Alice in Wonderland was indeed based on a real girl. What I didn't realize, however, was that Charles Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll, knew Alice Liddell quite well and even photographed her extensively when she was a young girl.

I completely lost myself to Liddell's world, living at Oxford as the Dean's daughter with her father, mother, and sister. Dodgson and Alice understand each other and have an emotional connection that, while not altogether inappropriate, often teeters on the edge of an intimacy that could be disturbing. It is this strangely close bond that threatens to tarnish Alice's reputation and follow her forever.

This is historical fiction at its best. Melanie Benjamin extensively researched Liddell's life and stuck close to her story. An author's note in the back of the book gives insight as to what is fact and what is fiction in Benjamin's narrative, but suffice it to say that the author has captured the essence of both Alice and Lewis Carroll's humble beginnings. Highly recommended.
Cheya W. (Vernal, UT)

Loved Alice I Have Been
Melanie Benjamen's first book is a winner. Loved her writing and telling of Alice's story. There weren't a lot of facts left behind about Alice Liddell or Lewis Carroll but what facts there were led to a beautiful, sensitive and thoughtful story. I appreciated looking at life from Alice's perspective and enjoyed meeting the men in her life.

I look forward to Melanie Benjamin's 2nd book with great anticipation.
Therese X. (CALERA, AL)

Alice I Have Been
Alice Liddell Hargreaves, "the real Alice", and Lewis Carroll's model for his famous Alice in Wonderland, grew up in Oxford, England. Her father was Dean and friends with a Mr. Charles Dodgeson, resident math teacher who dabbled in early photography. Due to her beauty and free spirit, Dodgeson's early work contained many photos of Alice and occasionally her sisters. But the man who was to become Lewis Carroll felt a deep affection for young Alice which alarmed her mother and ended in estrangement. No one is certain why. In Alice I Have Been, the author presents in novel form the life of Alice, delving into the reasons behind the severance of this unusual friendship. From page one of the novel, narrated by Alice herself as she considers going to America to receive an honorary doctorate from Columbia University, the story pulls the reader through the both delightful and horrendous events of Alice’s life. The reader feels the story is truly biographical, it is written so seamlessly and emotionally charged without being saccharine or unbelievable. Going back in time with the real Alice is like going down a new rabbit hole with experiences following one upon the other until the final page of the imaginative roller coaster ride. A very enjoyable yet often poignant adventure story with a curious twist at the end.
Christine P. (Pleasanton, CA)

Mystery solved?
The relationship between Lewis Carroll and his muse, Alice Liddell, has always been shrouded in mystery. Their relationship, even from a modern point of view, seemed creepy and inappropriate. Alice was a child who was wise beyond her years and the photos he took have captured that look. Melanie Benjamin does an excellent job of blending the culture of the Victorian Age and what might have happened into a fascinating tale of the real Alice in Wonderland. We get to know who that woman was. Alice Liddell’s own mother described her as “reckless” but could she be better described as someone who found it hard to conform in such a restrictive society and that all Alice really wanted to do "was shape her own destiny". It makes the mystery even more intriguing!
Cynthia B. (Puyallup, Washington)

Alice I Have Been
This is a very thoughtful and remarkably well researched story - I was captured by Alice's narrative from the first page and remained engaged until the end. I was equally impressed by the afterword as well as Benjamin's website that takes you into the world of Alice, the Oxford campus as well as Charles Dodgson. A reading guide is reportedly in the works and I can see this book becoming a reading group favorite as a very highly discussable book.
Karla S. (Dana Point, CA)

Alice In Wonderland Indeed
"Alice I have Been" is Alice in Wonderland indeed. A little girl is living a charmed life and doesn't always sort fact from wishful thinking.

This is a story of obsession, blackmail, rivalry, love...it runs the gamut of emotions. When Mr. Dodgsen tells a story to Alice and her sisters Alice begs him to write down "her story". Dodgsen becomes too familiar with Alice and the visits and friendship are stopped. Throughout her life Alice is reluctant to read "her story" as she is afraid of the person she will find. The author captures the scene and customs of Victorian England. This bittersweet novel will keep you turning the pages.

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