Alice I Have Been

By Melanie Benjamin
(Delacorte Press, Hardcover, 9780385344135, 368pp.)

Publication Date: January 12, 2010

Other Editions of This Title: Compact Disc, Paperback, Hardcover

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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the Summer '11 Reading Group List
“Alice I Have Been is a richly woven fictional account of the life of the girl who became Alice in Wonderland. It's a mystery and a love story that follows Alice into adulthood after both tragic and wonderful experiences. A creative and well-written book, perfect for book group discussions.”
-- Doreen Pierson, Chapter One Book Store, Hamilton, MT
Selected by Indie Booksellers for the January 2010 Indie Next List


Description

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 stories.

That 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 more 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 journey.

A 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.




About the Author

Melanie Benjamin lives in Illinois, where she is at work on her next novel.




NPR
Monday, May 31, 2010

Susan Stamberg gathers recommendations from booksellers Rona Brinlee, Lucia Silva and Daniel Goldin. Their selections for summertime reading include books about small-town America, a polygamist father in over his head, and a postmistress in New England during World War II. More at NPR.org

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NPR
Sunday, Feb 28, 2010

Melanie Benjamin's Alice I Have Been imagines the life and regrets of Alice Liddell, the real-life girl who served as the inspiration for Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Alice knew Carroll as Charles Dodgson, a neighbor who told her stories and photographed her as a young girl. More at NPR.org

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NPR
Tuesday, Jan 26, 2010

Alice, from Alice In Wonderland, is one of literature's most beloved heroines for restless girl readers and feminist scholars. The new book Alice I Have Been tells the story of Alice Liddell, the child muse for Lewis Carroll's character. More at NPR.org

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Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. What social forces motivate each of the characters to deny Dodgson's inappropriate attention to Alice?




Praise For Alice I Have Been

"Benjamin offers a finely wrought portrait of Alice that seamlessly blends fact with fiction. This is book club gold."—Publishers Weekly, starred reveiw

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