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Success! I polished off Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland last night. I’ve seen the old Disney movie, the recent movie with Johnny Depp, and even gone to the local Cinemark theater to watch a ballet version! But I had yet to read the original tale.

Carroll’s writing style reminds me of the quirkiness of Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth. Taking what we know and twisting it around makes for a satisfying read. Clever writing layers mirth over funny little truths and questions.

Why is a raven like a writing-desk? (Ask yourself sometime and get back to me.)

As I journeyed deeper into Wonderland, I noticed that my attention kept coming back to Alice, our main character. To my surprise, I discovered that I had been analyzing her and trying to place just exactly what kind of little girl she was.

Then it occurred to me. I’ve seen this sort of little girl before. Not the same little girl, mind you. But a similar one who could even be friends with Alice if they hadn’t chosen separate worlds within which to reside.

Alice dear? (Hmm?) Meet September. (Hello.) She’s the very sort of girl you are. (How would you know we are the same sort of little girl?) Why, haven’t you ever met other little girls the same sort as you? (Silence.)

I’ll tell you about September then. Her book is titled The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, and her author is Catherynne M. Valente. September fell out of her window instead of a rabbit hole (or rather stepped out of the window by taking the hand of the Green Wind).

In her travels inside Fairyland, she encounters characters similar to the ones in Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth and Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. They challenge the life she led before coming to Fairyland, but she crosses her arms (so to speak), juts out her chin, and holds her own in the conversations.

What have you noticed about main characters in the books you’re reading? Do you find yourself analyzing them to find out what sort of person they are? Leave me a comment below.

 


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