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Alice I Have Been

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  13,059 Ratings  ·  2,306 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
Hardcover, 345 pages
Published January 12th 2010 by Random House Publishing Group (first published December 9th 2009)
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Eileen Carter I completely agree with KC. I would feel very pressured to be like the character that I was based on, even though as time went by I may not be that…moreI completely agree with KC. I would feel very pressured to be like the character that I was based on, even though as time went by I may not be that person anymore.(less)
Mardee I really didn't see a lot of this as fantasy, but it did feel to me to be somewhat loosely based on facts. The author addresses the fact-or-fiction…moreI really didn't see a lot of this as fantasy, but it did feel to me to be somewhat loosely based on facts. The author addresses the fact-or-fiction question in a post-script in the version that I have. Basically, she didn't change much from what is documented, but she did fill in a lot where facts simply weren't available.(less)

Community Reviews

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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
Jul 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: xx2017-completed
My apologies to everyone, but this review is full of SPOILERS and it is also ridiculously long. This is something I rarely do, but in this case I felt compelled to write both how I felt and why I felt it and the only way I could do so was to identify specific areas of the book’s plot that brought those feelings up front. I attempted unsuccessfully to hide the spoilers but they are everywhere. If you are highly interested in reading this book, please skip reading my Review until afterward so you ...more
Elly Sands
Jan 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 16, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Dec 30, 2014 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
Erin the Avid Reader ⚜BFF's with the Cheshire Cat⚜
DNF 75%

Oh my word, this was horrible.

Somebody call the cringe police.

Clint Eastwood Cringe photo clint-eastwood-disgusted-gif.gif

I really, really do not get any pleasure out of rating a book so low and being this critical, yet I can also not find myself giving this book 2-stars for mediocrity. I found it that terrible.

I actually really enjoyed this at first, but right afterwards it took a sudden curve downhill and I could not read another page of it without rolling my eyes and constantly thinking to myself "Oh lord are you kidding me!?" So it was just b
Mar 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Amy Bruno
Dec 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Dec 22, 2011 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
Dec 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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
Teresa Medeiros
Mar 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
The Book Whisperer (aka Boof)
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
Jul 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
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 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Sarah Mac
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
Mar 23, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Aug 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.

Mr. Pirkl
Aug 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
"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
Jun 17, 2012 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
Mary (BookHounds)
Aug 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 14, 2009 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
Oct 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
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Melanie Benjamin is the author of the New York Times bestselling novels THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE and THE AVIATOR'S WIFE, as well as the national bestseller ALICE I HAVE BEEN, and THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MRS. TOM THUMB. THE GIRLS IN THE PICTURE, about the creative, feminist friendship between Mary Pickford and Frances Marion, icons of early Hollywood, will be out in January 2018. She lives in the Chi ...more
More about Melanie Benjamin

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“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.” 67 likes
“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
More quotes…