Based on Alice In Wonderland, After Alice was written by Gregory Maguire, the same author who wrote Wicked. In After Alice, Alice is already in Wonderland when her friend, Ada, the main character in this version, comes to find Alice to play. In her attempt to find Alice, Ada finds herself falling down the rabbit hole into Wonderland, where she continues her search for Alice. Meanwhile, in England, Lydia, Alice’s older sister, is grieving the loss of her mother, trying to find Alice, and is facing her own personal challenges.
After Alice is about Ada experiencing her own coming of age story during her adventures in Wonderland. She learns not to be afraid to jump or climb and not to blindly listen to what she’s told to do or every last bit of advice she is given. She learns to have the confidence to fly.
I picked out After Alice after reading about it when it was promoted on the respective fall/October reading lists of Elle Canada October 2015 and Cosmopolitan October 2015. After writing Wicked, a novel based on the Wicked Witch from The Wizard of Oz and that inspired the musical rendition in 1995, I can certainly understand why popular magazines would promote Gregory Maguire’s newest book, After Alice, another alternative story to the classic Alice In Wonderland.
I really liked After Alice. I love the stories that have duality in worlds; the “real” world and Wonderland, the “real” world and the wizarding world (Harry Potter), the “real” world and the Enchanted Forest (Once Upon a Time). Playing with these 2 worlds allows readers to investigate a characters growth in it’s own special way as they learn to navigate this new magical (or non-magical) world, as they learn the social norms, when to question norms or rules that don’t make any sense, and so on. I really saw this with Ada, who was a 10 year old with a spinal problem that left her somewhat disabled; when she entered Wonderland, she shed the back brace, and quickly learned not to instantly obey signs saying to do this or do that. She oddly never really questioned the strangeness of this new world she found herself in because it never left her in a crisis the way it might have with another character. Plus, I really enjoyed the play on the alternate story telling of Wonderland; what if other people had fallen into Wonderland? You can begin seeing how Wonderland is a place that teaches young people, that heals them of the things that make them the most insecure or causes them pain.
Wonderland is such a fun place for story tellers and I am so happy with the outcome of Gregory Maguire’s rendition.
The Obsession with Alice In Wonderland
Can I just say that there is a long line of people who have borrowed from Lewis Carol’s original Alice In Wonderland stories. Here are 3 of the movie or TV versions alone:
The Original Disney Version ~
An Alice In Wonderland and Once Upon A Time spin off made Once Upon A Time In Wonderland ~
The Tim Burton rendition of Alice In Wonderland ~