Book Review | Through the Looking Glass

Author // Lewis Carroll
Publication Date // January 2012 (Originally 1871)
Publisher // Atlantic Publishing
Genre // Classics, Children’s


‘Well in our country, said Alice, still panting a little, you’d generally get somewhere else – if you ran very fast for a long time as we’ve been doing.’
‘A slow sort of country!’ said the Queen. Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!’

On a snowy November day, Alice climbs through the mirror above the fireplace, the gateway to a weird and wonderful, topsy-tury world. Books have back-to-front writing, flowers talk and a twisty garden path refuses to lead Alice to where she wants to go. It’s a place where you can remember things that haven’t happened yet, where you cry out first and prick your finger afterwards. Strangest of all, the entire land is laid out like a giant chessboard, where the pieces are all alive. The Red Queen grants Alice’s wish to be part of the game, starting out as a pawn, she makes her way up the board in the hope of becoming a queen herself. Along the way she meets Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Humpty Dumpty and a unicorn who thinks a child is a fabulous monster!

In Lew Carroll’s enchanting fantasy, the bizarre is ordinary, the magical commonplace. ‘One can’t believe impossible things,’ says Alice, find the Looking-glass-land rules very different from the ones she’s used to. ‘I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ replies the Queen. ‘Why, sometimes I’ve believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast.’


As with Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland I had a bit of a hard time following the story in Through the Looking Glass, although upon reflection, I think I prefer this story to its predecessor. Lewis Carroll takes readers on a nonsensical journey through wonderland as viewed by Alice, who once again finds herself in a world where nothing is quite as it seems.

Alice as a character is very difficult for me to like and relate to, and at times it is hard to believe that she is seven years old in this story. (And at others, it’s perfectly clear that she is this young.) Having never read the books prior to the last six months, I found both stories difficult to follow as it jumps all over the place, from one bizarre setting and character set to another quite rapidly. While this does aid in reading quickly, it also made it difficult to keep track of what was going on.

I think I had an easier time with Through the Looking Glass because a lot of elements from this book were used in the Disney film (which is perhaps the Alice version I am most familiar with) and so it was easier to reconcile and create a picture in my mind of what was happening. 

I quite enjoyed the idea of the land being laid out like a chess board, and the antics of the Red and White Queens. This book also features some of the Alice in Wonderland quotes that I love the most.

Overall I gave Through the Looking Glass 3 out of 5 stars.

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