Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll

alices-adventures-in-wonderland-and-through-the-looking-glass-and-what-alice-found-thereYou might remember that I read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderlandlast year and fell in love head over heels with it. It actually became one of my favorite books, ever!

Unfortunately I cannot say the same with Through the LookingGlass. I’m not sure if it was the timing or if it’s really a less piece of work, but the magic I found in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was a bit lost in the sequel. It was still a pretty good read, but I did not love it as much.

I read the Vintage edition on the right which has both Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the LookingGlass, both with illustrations by John Tenniel-the original illustrator. I decided to wait a bit for the second book after reading the first one, hence the gap (they were actually published with 6 years gap anyway).

In Through the LookingGlass I found that characters often appear and disappear too suddenly (literally–like poof!) which I don’t remember happening as much in the first book and kinda baffled me a little bit. I laughed reading the first one a lot more too. Lots more. The second book is probably supposed to be smarter because it integrates chess moves throughout the entire story, but I never have much interest in chess unfortunately!

What I found interesting was a few key events or characters that were taken from Through the Looking Glass and get adapted into the Disney’s version of Alice in Wonderland, like:

alice live flowersalice live flowers

the garden of live flowers (John Tenniel’s illustration on the right)

bread and butterfly


tweedledee tweedledumtweedledee tweedledum

tweedledee and tweedledum (John Tenniel’s illustration on the right–as if you’re gonna get it wrong..)

mickey through mirroralice-emerging-from-the-looking-glass

and Mickey Mouse short where he goes through mirror and finds world on the other side of it is an obvious tribute to Through the Looking Glass!

My super favorite passage:

‘Well, in our country,’ said Alice, still panting a little, ‘you’d generally get to somewhere else — if you ran very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.’
‘A slow sort of country!’ said the Queen. ‘Now, here, you see it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!’” ~ p196

which I think so reflects the fast pace of our modern life.

4 stars
1871, 170pp

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3 thoughts on “Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll”

  1. softdrink says:
    25 September 2011 at 4:20 am

    I’ve never understood chess…which doesn’t bode well for me liking this one!

    mee says:
    25 September 2011 at 11:00 pm

    softdrink, it’s not overly complicated or anything, but there was probably one layer of “smartness” that I didn’t grasp (or care about).

    JoV says:
    25 September 2011 at 9:11 pm

    The Alice in Wonderland pictures are the version that I had with me when I was young. It was a big hardback book with such beautiful illustration and I couldn’t remember where it is now but I kept it till my late 20′s. Your pictures brought back loads of childhood memories for me. :)

    mee says:
    25 September 2011 at 11:03 pm

    Oh did you read Alice when you were young Jo? Lucky you! Somehow I just missed the book completely back then. Might be because it’s very hard book to translate (translated books were all I read in Indonesia, because English books were too hard or expensive to find).

    Steph says:
    26 September 2011 at 4:36 am

    I know some people hate Alice In Wonderland… I thought I was one of them, since I could never get into the book as a child, but I gave it a whirl on a rainy afternoon a few years ago and really loved it. I loved the wordplay, and just thought it was the right amount of absurd. It’s a shame you thought the sequel wasn’t as good… the volume I read had both AIW and TtLG, but I only read AIW with the intention of reading TtLG at a later date. Maybe I’ll just read AIW again…

    mee says:
    27 September 2011 at 11:07 pm

    Steph I definitely intend to re-read AAIW in the future. I still think it’s worth for you reading TtLG. It was enjoyable, just not as brilliant as the first one. You might think differently!

    Kailana says:
    27 September 2011 at 2:13 am

    For some reason I wasn’t able to get into the books by Carroll. I wanted to love them, but it just didn’t happen!

    mee says:
    27 September 2011 at 11:08 pm

    Kailana, I understand. I think they might be too absurd for some people :)

    anothercookiecrumbles says:
    2 October 2011 at 8:49 am

    I love both, Alice in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass. It’s witty, clever and totally bizarre. Am pretty sure that Lewis Carroll was tripping while writing it.

    Sorry you didn’t like the sequel as much – but then, the illustrations made it worth it?

    mee says:
    2 October 2011 at 11:49 pm

    Lol tripping he was! Oh I didn’t enjoy the sequel as much as the first book but I did enjoy it and it’s definitely a worthy read! Of course the illustrations made it even better :)

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