Long before we had kids, I started scooping up hardcover copies of the books that I remembered my mom reading aloud to us: Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Stuart Little, James & the Giant Peach, Charlotte's Web, etc. I love these books, and I am itching—itching, I tell you!—to introduce them thoroughly (they've heard bits and pieces of most) to the kiddies.
In addition to these must-haves, these no-brainers, these surefire hits, these wonders of children's lit, I also felt a bizarre obligation to pick up the Everyman's Library edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I don't know why I felt this way; I've never read this book nor had it read to me. And that's a good thing because, well, I hate it.
But there it was in our bookcase, with its pretty gilt lettering and its irresistible illustration of Alice and the Dodo. Riding the choppy waves of R & V's excitement, I put a hold on my favorites and proceeded to break in the binding on Alice. They ask for a chapter a day, and that's all well and good for them, but it's killing me to read it. I feel like I'm being smothered by a pillow and I'm screaming, but nobody can hear me. Oh, it's horrid. Witness this from Chapter 1 (with a few interjections from me):
Down, down, down. There was nothing else to do, so Alice soon began talking again [let me say that at this point she had already been speaking exhaustively for many pages]. 'Dinah'll miss me very much to-night I should think!' (Dinah was the cat.) 'I hope they'll remember her saucer of milk at tea-time. Dinah, my dear! I wish you were down here with me! There are no mice in the air, I'm afraid, but you might catch a bat, and that's very like a mouse, you know. But do cats eat bats, I wonder?' And here Alice began to get rather sleepy [yeah? join the club, Alice], and went on saying to herself, in a dreamy sort of way, 'Do cats eat bats? Do cats eat bats?' and sometimes, 'Do bats eat cats?' for, you see, as she couldn't answer either question, it didn't much matter which way she put it. She felt that she was dozing off, and had just begun to dream that she was walking hand in hand with Dinah, and saying to her very earnestly, 'Now, Dinah, tell me the truth: did you ever eat a bat?' etc, etc, etc.
I don't think Alice is plucky or clevah; I think Alice is annoying. Interestingly, I feel about this book the way our maddening protoganist feels about falling down the rabbit hole: will it never end? It's so bad that I'm considering orchestrating a scenario whereby The Green Witch arrives on her bus under cover of night and steals the book straight off the shelf.
*strikes the head-thrown-back-in-laughter pose*
In completely unrelated news, do check out my review of Pinoy Poetics over at Moria. And thank you to those of you who linked to it!