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Alice's Adventures: Lewis Carroll in Popular Culture Hardcover – 31 Mar 2004
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"The book itself will become a classic of its genre"--,
About the Author
Will Brooker is Director of Film Studies and Television at Kingston University, UK. He is the author of several books, including studies of Batman, Star Wars, Blade Runner, and Lewis Carroll.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Too much time spent on American Mcgee's Alice, and the nuances are borderline psychobabble. This might be better for a research document on the subject as the points are valid, just not that interesting.
I'm almost done reading the book. I'm trudging through more to "finish it" for the sake of finishing it, rather than out of interest.
I'd recommend this book for skimming.
1/23/10 Finally finished the book. The last two chapters are more interesting. In the penultimate, he analyzes responses from society members. It's odd, but it rings true. The final chapter is interesting, in that it has a different feeling than the rest of the book. Whereas in the rest of the book he studies from the outside--even when joining the society it is for the book--the final chapter is his tour of Alice sites. Will Booker is no longer the researcher, but the interested patron. It's as if before he left the scene, he decided to get into it once himself, just to have done it.
But the sites he visited were lackluster, and the interest was just not there. His tone is sort of bittersweet, and i almost wished i was there to share it with him. In a strange way, he was going on his pilgrimage for our sake, and found nothing worth our time. His final analysis of what he would tell Carrol (not what he said he would actually say, but his study of it when he thought about it) seemed so true.
This doesn't change my impression of the book overall. But i do think the final chapter is ironic. It is doubtful it will mean anything to anything who hasn't read the rest of the book, but i read the entire book and i finally got to the last chapter, and what i found was as unrewarding as the very pilgrimage he himself recorded there.
I don't mean to knock the author. If i saw him, i'd thank him for the book and (hopefully) have a good talk with him. But for the book itself, it's interesting but dry.
He's divided his study into nine general areas, from representations of Lewis Carroll in recent biography, to the fandom with which his own recent work has been concerned. At least one of these topics, the section in which he critiques many illustrators of Lewis Carroll, should have been jettisoned for, despite what he thinks, Brooker lacks the ability to write well about the visual arts, odd for one who has written extensively on many comic artists, but alas, he's pretty bankrupt there. Another chapter devotes itself to contemporary sequels to ALICE, including Jeff Noon and Gilbert Adair, and here again a weakness in Brooker's comprehensive approach becomes obvious at once: although he has just about nothing to say about Adair's ALICE THROUGH THE NEEDLE'S EYE, he feels obliged to "cover" it with the same word count as he does everything else.
Against these minor flaws Brooker's book is an arsenal of critical insight and, as well, sheer writing chops. His opening salvo, tearing apart a series of biographers for their outright misstatements and lack of perspective, could hardly be better planned nor achieved. I would never have thought of the simple method he winds up using, which is, he isolates five areas of mystery in Carrollian biography, and one by one he examines what X, Y, or Z says about each. For example, what of the cut diary pages? What about the heartfelt diary entries which entreat his God to make him a more decent man? And what about those nude photographs of little boys and girls?
OK, maybe he tries to do too much, and depends on his own adorableness for pages at a time, but this is a thoroughly exciting book and I hope Brooker sees fit to keep it up to date in the years to come, maybe staging an Alice Biennale or something like.
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