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Alice I Have Been

3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  11,428 Ratings  ·  2,124 Reviews
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 Li
ebook, 368 pages
Published January 12th 2010 by Delacorte Press (first published December 9th 2009)
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KC Yes, because I feel as though I have to live up to the expectations the readers have of the character.
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The Holy Terror
I enjoyed this book but I wouldn't recommend it if you really really love the story of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Whether you decide to take the author's liberties with the story at face value or not this book will forever change the way you look at Alice's story. It's difficult after reading this book to not view Carroll's novel in a different light; I can't unknown what I know now and that makes me sad.

This novel tells the story of Alice Liddell Hargreaves, a real girl that inspired Lew
Elly Sands
Jan 23, 2010 Elly Sands rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After I finished reading this book I did some research on Alice Liddell and Lewis Carroll to separate fact from fiction. Before doing this I was going to give it 3 stars but changed my rating to 4 stars. I realized that the author did an amazing job in weaving a novel around the lives of these two people. The book is about the life of Alice and her family, friends, loves and especially her relationship with Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll).The connection between these two and the suggestion of in ...more
I am giving this book 2 stars--but not for the reasons I am reading other folks here talk about in their 2 star reviews...

I was gonna give this book a 3 til I read what the author had to say at the end...This ticked me off!! What a load of crap!

So first she says that she wants to be clear about not having an agenda in writing this--that her personal opinions on how all this stuff may or may not have gone down totally is not what her book is about...and then in the same breath, she says just the
Alice I have Been by Melanie Benjamin is a 2010 Random House publication.

After having read “The Swans of Fifth Avenue”, I was eager to discover some of Melanie Benjamin’s other novels. I had heard some talk about “The Aviator’s Wife”, and so I read that one first, and was impressed with it as well. However, I had not heard of this book, and had no idea what to expect from it. So, in preparation, I downloaded a free version of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and re-read the book because as a
Bark's Book Nonsense
Jan 09, 2015 Bark's Book Nonsense rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
4 1/2 stars. This was a heartbreaking read but it was one of those books that I found myself drawn into and found it difficult to break myself away from when it was time to take the headphones off and return to reality. I have to admit, it has thrown me into a bit of a funk. Despite Alice's well to do lifestyle, her life was filled with disappointment, sadness , missed opportunities and loss. Most of it due to an event in her early childhood. The story of the real Alice who inspired Alice In Won ...more
Mar 04, 2010 Jenny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having just finished Nabakov's Lolita I was looking for something to refresh my mind from the heavy, morally depressing, but brillantly written story about the mind of a depraved child-abuser.

I found I had picked up from the library, quite by chance a book entitled "Alice I Have Been". One of the things I love about books is that when I'm "in the zone" the right book seems to come to hand at the right time. And this indeed was the right time for me to read about Alice Liddell, the girl who inspi
Sep 18, 2009 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a wonderful book. It was written from the viewpoint of Alice Pleasance Liddell Hargreaves, the girl who inspired the book, Alice's adventures in wonderland. We follow her through her life, making leaps from childhood, to young womanhood, to her later years as a wife and mother. There is a scandal that haunts her from the time of her childhood through the rest of her life. There is also her fairytale love story that will pull at the heartstrings. All in all a great read. I think it would ...more
Nov 10, 2012 April rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes I like to read books I know will depress me. It's a weird habit, but something which keeps me in touch with my empathetic side. I found Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin to be a heartbreaking novel. Alice I Have Been follows the life of Alice Liddell, the real life Alice In Wonderland.
Read the rest of my review here
What a wonderful book! This is my first experience reading a book by this author and I was very impressed! Alice Liddell's story truly comes alive through her prose.

In all honesty, I have read Alice in Wonderland a few times and had heard before that it was written for a real little girl. But, I had no idea of the true 'story behind the story!' I was enchanted by young Alice and her fancifulness and at the same time worried as I tried to figure out Mr Dodgson and his intentions. I was so taken
Amy Bruno
I am one of those people that had no idea there was a REAL girl named Alice behind Alice in Wonderland…that is, until I read a gem of a novel written by a new voice on the scene, Melanie Benjamin. And I am so glad that her book Alice, I Have Been was my introduction to this very fascinating and endearing woman whose childhood will be forever connected with Wonderland.
Alice Liddell was the daughter of the Dean of the prestigious college, Christ Church at Oxford and was raised there along with her
Dec 26, 2011 Noce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Non ho 34 anni. Ne ho 3,4.

E con questo libro il verdetto è finalmente raggiunto: a me le favole piacciono.

Ieri sera, mentre il verduraio sotto casa mi faceva gli Auguri di Natale, e guardavo distrattamente la nebbiolina mentre parlava, (nebbiolina quando si parla = molto freddo), io non vedevo l’ora di tornare a casa, prepararmi il tè, e tornare a leggere la vita di Alice.

Mi si chiederà: è una biografia attendibile? La storia della Musa ispiratrice di Lewis Carrol, è ampiamente documentata? Ebbe
Tattered Cover Book Store
Cathy says:

We all know and love the classic tale, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I know that, time after time, I would lose myself in the story, fascinated and frightened by the strange and unpredictable characters Alice encountered, wishing that I could be Alice and experience Wonderland. I went so far as to make myself an outfit and wear it to school (in high school, no less) still yearning for an escape. My taste in books had perhaps matured but the surrealism of Alice's story remained sed
I laughed, I cried, I cried some more, I cried a LOT more. And for ten minutes after I closed the book.

It's haunting, and really drives home how quickly your life passes by. It's a fictional (because no one knows "exactly" what all happened) look into the life of the "real" Alice of Alice in Wonderland, her heartbreaking relationship with Lewis Carroll (Mr. Dodgson), how she expected her life to play out, and how it ended up playing out.

First of all, the writing is beautiful. Absolutely perfec
Dec 18, 2013 Marialyce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: february-2013
I really enjoyed this fictional account of Alice and her relationship with Lewis Carrol. It follows Alice through her growing up years into adulthood and the story of the effect of being Alice had on her. It was wonderfully written with just the right amount of the Victorian era's staidness and lack of outward feelings shown towards family, lovers, and friends.

The author used whenever possible actual events in Alice's life and spun a realistic tale of a life that seemed forever unhappy. She ulti
Teresa Medeiros
Mar 05, 2012 Teresa Medeiros rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I adored this book! It's a novel about the relationship between Alice Lidell (who allegedly inspired ALICE IN WONDERLAND) and Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll). The Victorian historical details are lush and delicious (oddly enough, it reminded me the most of Libba Bray's A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY series) and my heart was deeply touched as I viewed Alice's life through her eyes, both as a child and an adult. Although plainly fiction, Ms. Benjamin creates a plausible scenario by piecing together f ...more
I will admit, I didn't know what I was getting into with Alice I Have Been. I just saw it on the givaways page and entered. I didn't even realize it was based off the life of the real Alice Liddell until the wording tipped me off. Before I started reading, I did the barest of research on her, just enough to know her siblings, how she knew Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll), and how the story came about.

Melanie Benjamin does a good job staying with the facts. Everything I'd read matched up exact
Sep 04, 2009 Doreen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Man, I really want to give this five stars. It's a really good book, and the author does an amazing job evolving the first-person-narrative voice from precocious child to hopeful lover to crusty dowager. The pace is lively, and the characters and situations believable and involving. But... I think it's that the genre of historical fiction, unless very carefully written, tends to sound more like the author than the subject. In the hands of a blatant moralist like John Erskine, this works out fine ...more
Nov 17, 2009 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. I won this as a pre-release from Goodreads, and I am thrilled it came to my doorstep. I started with a fascination with Alice in Wonderland and a slight knowledge that there was some mystery surrounding the relationship between Lewis Carrol and the real-life Alice. The book presents this mystery through the eyes of Alice in three different periods of her life. It is fictionalized, though I got the sense that Benjamin stayed true to the spirit of who Alice Liddell really was.

Feb 05, 2010 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: book clubs - those who like historical novels
Recommended to Lisa by: Jackie Blem
This was a wonderful historical novel based on the life of Alice Liddell who inspired Lewis Carroll to write Alice in Wonderland. Benjamin did an excellent job of telling a complex story of young Alice's relationship with Caroll aka Charles Dodgson - who was a young man at Oxford when they met. But is it more than that - it is about Alice's strength through a catastrophic time in her young life, followed by love and loss. It is about a girl becoming a woman - navigating Victorian England's stric ...more
Mr. Pirkl
Dec 30, 2009 Mr. Pirkl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mr. Pirkl by: This was a giveaway
Shelves: giveaways, 2009
Historically based on the relationship of Alice Liddell and Lewis Carroll, Alice I Have Been: A Novel
, chronicles the friendship, the emergence of the story of Wonderland, the falling out of the Carroll and the Liddell family, and Alice's path to adulthood, marriage, and old age. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel. The relationships and characters were well developed. I especially liked reading about Dodgeson (his name before published as Carroll) as a photographer (something odd there) and
Eh, more like 2.5. But I rounded up for the sake of the middle portion, which was much more interesting than either Part 1 or Part 3. The opening section takes forever with a bratty young Alice, while the last bit with Old Alice & the gradual deaths of everyone in her life was alternately dull and/or depressing. Part 2, however, with Alice's struggle to be a young woman whilst in the (unwanted?) shadow of Wonderland & Dodgson's moony eyes & Ruskin's weird melodrama, combined with Pri ...more
"I do wish you happiness, Alice. You must believe me. Even if the facts of your - little drama - are unclear, they still matter. Perception is reality, especially when it comes to affairs of the heart."

Lovely, but oh so disturbing!

Beautiful prose - Historically astute - Richly developed characters - Encapsulating Victorian era dynamics - Atmospherically transporting. Melanie Benjamin is certainly a masterful storyteller. And this being her debut novel.... I'm in awe!

"[Y]ou won't change will you
Mar 18, 2011 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I must admit I didn't know anything about Alice Liddell Hargreaves and Charles Dodson (Lewis Carroll) other than she inspired him to write one of my favorite novels of all time Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

However, after reading Melanie Benjamin's historical-fiction novel Alice I Have Been I have learned so much about both characters and their relationship to each other. I really like Alice. She's a very strong woman who's not afraid to admit she's human. Charles Dodson, on the other hand, c
Mar 24, 2010 Nancy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, fiction
Hmmm. Historical novels about a specific person are always dicey for me, and this one did not work. Dodgson is seen now as someone who was at least in a form of arrested development, in love with childhood. Sometimes biographers have him as an out-and-out pedophile. The book tries to consider these possibilities from Alice's perspective, but it's unclear if her perspective is that of the 81-year-old Alice that bookends the story, or if it's a more straight version, where seven-year-old Alice is ...more
Mary (BookHounds)
Oct 31, 2009 Mary (BookHounds) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
Melanie Benjamin weaves fact and fiction together to bring a cohesive story about Alice Liddell Hargreaves who inspired Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I think this book captures the mores of the Victorian era perfectly. This will be in my top ten for the year.

I really needed a book like this right now. I was going to try and wait until closer to the release date for my review of this book, but I want to tell everyone about this book, NOW. It combines the best of historical fic
Have you ever wondered what happened to the little girl who inspired Alice in Wonderland? I must be honest - I'm not sure I even knew that the real Alice had existed until I read the blurb for this book. But, yes, real she was. The real Alice lived until the age of 81, had married and had three sons. But where did it all begin?

Alice I Have Been is fiction based on fact. The story is narrated by Alice herself and where no evidence remains, Melanie Benjamin takes artistic licence to fill in the ga
Oct 29, 2009 Jackie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jackie by: Cathy Langer
I'm not a Victorian England kind of person, nor am I a great fan of Alice in Wonderland or Through The Looking Glass. Nevertheless, this book, a fictionalized account of the "real" Alice, Alice Liddell, caught and held my attention in a vice grip. Benjamin's research was exhaustive, so that Alice, her sisters and the clearly disturbed Charles
Dodgson (who took the pen name Lewis Carroll) become living and breathing people again. The actual photographs of Alice in the book are priceless and add a
Feb 21, 2013 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Judy by: Stephanie's review
The novelised story of Alice, the heroine of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. I'm going to have to read further about Carroll after reading this novel to find out how if he was a quasi-pedophile or not now! Anyhow, the book was excellent in that it made the reader think about how accurate childhood memories are, about valuing those around us daily for who they are and what love actually is. I really like Benjamin's choice of subject matter for her books...people we've all heard of, but total ...more
Julie - Book Hooked Blog
This is the absolute best first reads book I've read so far. I couldn't put it down, and I can't stop thinking about it now that I've finished. I was a little worried when I got it because I'm not typically a fan of historical fiction, but this book was amazing. I loved the characters, even the more dispicable ones, and can't wait to go to the library and look up some more information on Lewis Carroll and Alice.
Mar 18, 2015 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Writing a review of this book is a struggle. I think it's brilliant and I very much enjoyed it but am unsure of how to describe it or where to start. First of all I loved the idea of seeing things through the eyes of the muse. The protagonist is the girl that Alice in Wonderland is based on and that has had a major impact on her life. This creates a fabulous parallel with the way women's everyday experience is circumscribed by the male viewpoint. Yet our Alice (not the blonde one in the pinafore ...more
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #221 Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin 1 1 Nov 29, 2015 11:13AM  
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 15, 2015 10:45AM  
Before I Finish Reading This Can You Tell Me... 21 189 Feb 04, 2015 04:31PM  
Mom's Book Banter: This topic has been closed to new comments. July Discussion: Alice I Have Been 10 10 Aug 22, 2014 06:54AM  
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Melanie Benjamin is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel, THE AVIATOR'S WIFE, as well as the national bestseller ALICE I HAVE BEEN, and THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MRS. TOM THUMB. THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE, a novel about Truman Capote and his high society "Swans," will be out in January 2016. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband and two sons. She's currently at work on her next hi ...more
More about Melanie Benjamin...

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“I suppose at some point, we all have to decide which memories - real or otherwise - to hold on to, and which ones to let go.” 65 likes
“Why, then, did I always feel as if his happiness was my responsibility? It wasn't fair for him to burden me with that. It had never been fair.” 64 likes
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