Alice I Have Been - Melanie Benjamin This book is the story of Alice Liddel, the girl for whom Lewis Carrol wrote Alice in Wonderland. In a way, it is also the back story to the whole Alice in Wonderland phenomena, although the focus is definitely on the life of Miss Liddel. It is the third book of this type that I have read recently, the others being Girl in a Blue Dress, which told the story of Charles Dickens through his wife's story, and Claude & Camille: A Novel of Monet which told the story of Monet's life by chronically his relationship with his wife. I find that I am really enjoying these types of stories. It is always interesting to me to read about historical figures filtered through the perceptions of those around them.

The reason that I picked this book up has to do with the fact that in February I had finally re-read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. I had only read the first book once before, when I was about 10 or 11. I remember at that time thinking the story was just some weird tale. Reading it as an adult was a totally different experience. The particular book that I read had historical notes in the back that explained a little about C. L. Dodgson's (Lewis Carrol)life and it intrigued me. This book seemed like a natural.

While this book is a work of fiction, I believe the author stayed pretty close to the actual story. Lewis Carrol was a lonely man who did not make friends easy and found it easier to spend his time with children, especially girls under the age of 10. As a result, he formed an unnatural attachment to Alice Liddel, the daughter of the Dean of Christ Church College in Oxford, England. The resulting relationship colored not only his own life, but greatly affected her life. While no one actually knows what happened between Alice and Mr. Dodgson, the author stays true to the prevailing theories in this book.

In addition, the book is a classic example to what happens when people, especially young children, become famous without really asking to. I really enjoyed the appearance of Peter Llewellyn-Davies in the book at the end in order to give some perspective.

This is the first historical fiction book written by Melanie Benjamin, who also writes in the chick-lit genre under the name of Melanie Hauser. She is apparently working on her second historical fiction novel currently. Chick-lit is not my favorite genre, so I may not read any of those books that she has written, but I am looking forward to seeing what her next venture in the historical fiction genre is like.