Sunday, 19 December 2010

Review: The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland Age 42 and Three Quarters by Barbara Silkstone

It's been a long time since I read Alice in Wonderland but it didn't affect my appreciation of this book one bit. The main character, Alice, is a neurotic, germophobic, anglophile whose life has gone seriously off the rails. Her strange world is full of characters resembling those in Lewis Carroll's book and she's started seeing the Cheshire Cat. She works for a killer who litigates for a hobby, and is being leant on by the shady family of one of his victims to secure a confession from him and testify against him at trial. To try and escape her life in Miami she goes online where she finds Nigel. He seems to be her perfect man, English, witty, eccentric, with an air of John Cleese about him. Unfortunately despite some glaring clues that he is not what he seems Alice is blind to it. He takes her on a jaunt around Europe, where he is attacked by a phantom fish flinger and she is convinced they are being followed. Alice had been hoping to escape the drama in Miami and settle down with Nigel, ideally in the Cotswolds, but things don't look like they are going to go her way.

The book is (unsurprisingly) written in the form of a diary, which has quotes from Carroll's book at the start of each section. I thought the way the quotes were weaved in was clever. The story whips along at quite a pace and is a combination of romance and whodunnit. Despite the fact Alice is a xanax popping mess who needs a good shake to see Nigel for what he really is I still liked her. She isn't a simpering victim, she's got guts and a sense of humour. This is a quirky tale with the sort of humour I associate with comedies like A Fish Called Wanda, perhaps why Alice is so keen to find a John Cleese-alike. All in all a fun modern fairytale, read it and see if Alice gets her happy ending.

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