Kyle's Reviews > Through the Broken Mirror with Alice: Including Parts of Through the Looking-Glass

Through the Broken Mirror with Alice by Maia Wojciechowska
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Oct 08, 07

bookshelves: childrens-books, blacks, drugs, ghetto, new-york
Read in October, 2007

1972. This awesome book was marred by didacticism and preachiness, somewhat. It's about a twelve-year-old black girl in Harlem who is thrown out of her twelfth foster home for breaking a mirror. All she has with her is a library copy of Through the Looking Glass. She kind of hallucinates her way through two days of horrors, pretending that she's in a giant chess game at the end of which she will become a queen. Her grip on reality is very tenuous and it seems like it's better that way. The local drug pusher is trying to get her to deal for him, live with him or take heroin. Race seems to define her reality and she seems to be saying I just want to be a little girl. I don't want to be defined as black, as either bad or stupid or less than or having to 'know my place'. I'm just me. The bits about race are the didactic bits. I think if the author had gone more free-form or stream-of-consciousness with it and not butted in with the moralizing, it could have been quite brilliant. But she would put long expositions into the mouths of grown-up characters, as if she believed that her audience really was too dumb to get it otherwise. A major short-coming.

One awesome part is a reinterpreting of Jabberwocky as the white man's code for how horrible 'those people' are. Really far-fetched, but hilarious.
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