Alice’s adventures in wonderland are fantastic and some are enviable. But what happens if someone else could encounter her adventures shortly after she does? After Alice by Gregory Maguire depicts the trials Alice’s friend Ada undergoes while looking for her.
Ada ventures toward her friend Alice’s home to offer some jam as a condolence for the recent passing of Alice’s mother. Along the way, Ada finds Alice’s sister Lydia, who has lost track of Alice while reading in the grass. In Ada’s pursuit of Alice, she wanders down a rabbit hole, unknowingly following Alice to a new world, experiencing similar yet slightly more irritating situations (as some of the characters are exasperated with having already dealt with one strange girl and are loathe to deal with another) as Alice does. While Ada and Alice are lost in Wonderland, Lydia has new experiences of her own with the unique guests that her father’s entertaining, among whom is Mr. Darwin. After seeing these strange, new things, “normal” life will be anything but from here on out as the girls’ perspectives have been altered.
In an attempt to combine social commentary of Victorian England with a reimagining of Carroll’s seminal work, it became a bit cumbersome and tedious to read through, particularly as the language seemed to try to be more highfalutin than necessary; while the source work played much with language, this endeavor to add elevated language was more frustrating than fun or in keeping with Carroll’s beloved text. The narrative was still entertaining as it did touch upon the major points depicted in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Alice’s Adventures Through the Looking Glass; however, the real world counterpoint to Wonderland was rather slow-moving and rather boring, causing the entire story to drag as a result.
Overall, I’d give it a 3 out of 5 stars.