Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Stuff and Nonsense

The first book that I can ever remember hating was Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
I was still in elementary school when I stumbled across a copy of it, sitting on a dusty bookshelf at home.  I was familiar with the name and had seen bits and pieces of the old Disney cartoons, so I pulled it out, made myself comfy on the couch and started to read.
I didn't get very far that first time. After a couple of chapters I shut the book and, if I remember correctly, throwing it across the room.
I had never done that with a book before and I haven't done it with one since.
I didn't like that book, but I kept going back to it. Perhaps I thought it would get better? It was supposed to be a great classic, wasn't it? It was supposed to be wildly popular with kids?
Mostly, I remember feeling incredibly frustrated when I read the book. Maybe it was Carroll's language? Or the fact that Alice was a bloody irritating girl! She was the sort of person who thought math jokes were fun.
It took a while for me to finish the book. I had to read it in snips and snaps. When I finally turned the last page and closed the book, it was winter. I was on the couch in the living room. There was a fire in the fireplace.
I sat there on the couch, holding the book, peering into the fire, seriously thinking about burning it.
I hated Alice's Adventures in Wonderland that much.
No. That's not right.
I didn't hate the book, I loathed it. Even now, just thinking about it sets my teeth on edge and makes my skin itch.
People have described that book as charming and whimsical.
I disagree.
I think that book is mad. I used to wonder if Carroll was high on opium when he wrote it.
It is the one book that I never recommend to anyone to read. Ever.
My reaction to it is visceral.
If it were a person, I would punch them in the face.

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