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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Mystery of Lewis Carroll: Discovering the Whimsical, Thoughtful, and Sometimes Lonely Man Who Created "Alice in Wonderland" Book Review

The Mystery of Lewis Carroll: Discovering the Whimsical, Thoughtful, and Sometimes Lonely Man Who Created "Alice in Wonderland" Book Review

Book Synopsis:  A new biography of Lewis Carroll, just in time for the release of Tim Burton’s all-star Alice in Wonderland Lewis Carroll was brilliant, secretive and self contradictory. He reveled in double meanings and puzzles, in his fiction and his life. Jenny Woolf’s The Mystery of Lewis Carroll shines a new light on the creator of Alice In Wonderland and brings to life this fascinating, but sometimes exasperating human being whom some have tried to hide. Using rarely-seen and recently discovered sources, such as Carroll’s accounts ledger and unpublished correspondence with the “real” Alice’s family, Woolf sets Lewis Carroll firmly in the context of the English Victorian age and answers many intriguing questions about the man who wrote the Alice books, such as: • Was it Alice or her older sister that caused him to break with the Liddell family? • How true is the gossip about pedophilia and certain adult women that followed him? • How true is the “romantic secret” which many think ruined Carroll’s personal life? • Who caused Carroll major financial trouble and why did Carroll successfully conceal that person’s identity and actions? Woolf answers these and other questions to bring readers yet another look at one of the most elusive English writers the world has known.

Our Take: We've always been interested in the enigma of Lewis Carroll, but with the new Disney/Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland sequel coming to theaters in March 2010, our excitement is really amping up!  This is a perfect time to release this very insightful and interesting book on the truth behind the mystique of Lewis Carroll, and St. Martin's Press did just that!

The full-size hardcover book has a very attractive dust jacket (see above) and gives a very crisp presentation visually.  The text is easy to read through and doesn't get too wordy.  It would be easy to get overly verbose with a period character like Carroll, or to give in to pressures to seem deeper than one is to gain credibility, but the author does a very nice job of speaking to you directly and in simple terms.

This isn't just a re-hash of older biographical tributes.  The Mystery of Lewis Carroll actually has new things to say and new revelations, such as his bank account that was found in the archvies of Barclay's Bank.  The records of the account sheds new light on the various charitable contributions that Carroll was responsible for, which are vast, generous and compassionate.  This book paints the picture of a man that is often misunderstood, and therefore should be read.  We highly recommend this title.

How to Buy: You can get this hardcover book on Amazon.com or on the St. Martin's Website