The Dark Side of Alice in Wonderland written by Angela Youngman and published by Pen & Sword Books – £19.99 – Hardback – Pages 192

Although the children’s story Alice in Wonderland has been in print for over 150 years, the mysteries and rumours surrounding the story and its creator Lewis Carroll have continued to grow.

This is the Alice of horror films, Halloween, murder and mystery, spectral ghosts, political satire, mental illnesses, weird feasts, Lolita, Tarot, pornography and steampunk. The Beatles based famous songs such as ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ and ‘I am the Walrus’ on Alice in Wonderland, while she has even attracted the attention of world famous artists including Salvador Dali. Take a look at why the Japanese version of Lolita is so different to that of novelist Vladimir Nabokov – yet both are based on Alice. This is Alice in Wonderland as you have never seen her before: a dark, sometimes menacing, and threatening character.

Was Carroll all that he seemed? The stories of his child friends, nude photographs and sketches affect the way modern audiences look at the writer. Was he just a lonely academic, closet paedophile, brilliant puzzle maker or even Jack the Ripper?

Well this wasn’t the story I was expecting at all. Certainly a long way from imagination, fun and wonderland. This isn’t really a retelling of the fabled story of Alice in a Wonderland, this book is more about the author Lewis Carroll and the reasons why the book was written and what might have inspired the story or what/how the author was thinking. 

I originally read this book as a child and must admit as a kid I just saw it as a good story, I didn’t realise the connotations of some of the things written or the reasons where they came from. If you look at some of the chapter titles we have, involve crime, drugs, horror, the occult, pornography to name a few. Now this one of those books where you read it and make up your own mind about it and the conclusion you come to. Now my personal opinion is that when the book was written you’re looking at 1865, a Victorian time when lots of books and stories were written and combined with an atmosphere of hedonism, experimenting with drugs and medication around that time in certain literary circles. My thoughts are that there probably was some ulterior meaning to some of the story, but you would have to come to your own conclusion when reading this book. The book is well written and I loved the cover art on the book. I would recommend this book to others, but I think some people might just like to stay ignorant and stick to knowing this tale as they they grew up with.