Saturday, February 13, 2016

9. Through the Looking Glass

Where have I been?! what you must be asking yourself. I know where I've been. I've been curled up on the couch with a box of tissues and a carafe of tea. See, I had a cold...which turned into a sinus infection...and the head congestion combined with the medication made stringing together words for a coherent blog post nearly impossible.

But I'm better(ish) now, and I'm ready to get back to work! I have two books in the finished column, which is a fantastic feeling, and a ton more reading to do (as per usual). But I didn't want to go a whole week without a blog post.

One small update: I mentioned earlier this week that I would be reviewing Dear Mr. You by Mary Louise Parker. Well...I couldn't do it. I made it about 50 pages in and decided I had better ways to spend my time. I retooled my list and moved onto the next book, but if you were really looking forward to Dear Mr. You, I fear I'm going to disappoint.

However, that's not what this post is about. This post is about a book that's over 100 years old. A book that's a sequel to my last review, and another that I am shocked I haven't read. Book 9 of Project 84 is...

Through the Looking Glass
Through the Looking Glass
By Lewis Carroll

It's hard to believe a book from 1865 has a sequel. But here it is, plain as day: Through the Looking Glass.

Much like Alice in Wonderland, I have always intended to read this book. Unlike Alice in Wonderland, I had no idea what this book was actually about. I had assumed it was Alice returning to Wonderland and going on another adventure. And it is...sort of...but also not at the same time.

Instead of going down the rabbit hole to Wonderland, Alice goes...wait for it...through the looking glass (her mirror) and ends up on a chess board with the Red Queen. She travels her way across the chess board, encountering various eccentric characters along the way. Each character has a poem, of sorts, which seems to be the thread that holds them all together, and they all play into Alice's journey.

It's strange to say, but I'm not sure whether or not I enjoyed this book. I know that I didn't enjoy it as much as Alice in Wonderland, but then I have to address the question of why? Is it just because I already knew the story of Alice in Wonderland, so it was easier to read? Is it because the characters in this one seem almost too absurd to understand? Or, is it simply because Alice in Wonderland has a more cohesive story, whereas Through the Looking Glass is a bit more absurdist?

Whatever the reason, this book wasn't as compelling...but I did enjoy reading the book. I think. It's strange...there's not really a plot. The characters drag you from point A to point B for no real purpose other than to move the story along. However, once I'm there, I'm fascinated by who the characters are.

And the new characters Alice approaches are familiar. Tweedledee and Tweedledum actually show up in this book, as does Humpty Dumpty. We hear "The Walrus and the Carpenter" and "The Jaberwock" for the first time, which I knew but had not associated with Through the Looking Glass. All of that gave the book a familiarity and nostalgia that was part of what I loved about Alice in Wonderland.

However, the story is a little weaker. The characters, while interesting, fall away as soon as Alice leaves them. In Alice in Wonderland, there's more of a cohesive thread. This book, while beautiful, and the characters and poems interesting, doesn't have that same gleeful story that moves the book along.

So, would I recommend this book? Ultimately, yes. I love the way Lewis Carroll writes. I love the carefree, fun style, and the feeling of reading a childrens' book...but one with more substance than the books we see today. I recommend you pick up BOTH of these books (they often come in one volume, so that makes it easy ;) ) and read them the way I did. It could shine a new light on a childhood favorite.

This week is going to be crazy. I am one week away from running a half marathon at Disney World (!!!!!), so I'm pretty sure I'll be spending the next week freaking out about that! But I'll try to get a little reading and some blog posts done before I leave next Friday. I then have a week of vacation to catch up on all this stuff!

I will have a regular Sunday Update tomorrow, so you will all have an idea of where I'm at in the process.

Happy reading!!

**Through the Looking Glass is in the public domain**

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