Makes you feel lost like a child in a grown-ups world (5 stars)
Originally published in 1865, Alice in Wonderland is considered the first children book. But it is hard to imagine a child could understand the intricate symbolic of this book, as well as it’s follow up Through the Looking-Glass. The narrative is full of paradoxes, logic puzzle, identity questionings and refined wordplay at every page.
Perhaps that is the most ingenious aspect of these books, that they can be understood in different layers, by different readers. A kid may take a scene like Alice growing and shrinking as something silly and funny, but an older reader could could come to the deeper interpretation of identity confusion and the changes undergoing the body of a young girl growing up.
Much like playing cards or chess – symbols very present in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass – games that can be easily learned by a child. But behind the basic rules there is a deeper and more complex game. You can learn how to move chess pieces in a few minutes, but it takes a lifetime to become a grand master.
Russian writer Yevgeny Zamyatin defined children as “the bravest philosophers”. They aren’t afraid of asking “why the sky is blue?”, or “why we grow up?”, questions that are apparently so simple that adults ignore, even if they don’t really know the answer. As an adult reader, these books made me feel like a child again. Humble and lost in an incomprehensible e paradoxical world of wonders, were my reason and knowledge were worth squat.