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Friday, 25 January 2013

A journey through Wonderland

Well what can I say....as my first book for the Artful Readers Club challenge, I chose an old battered copy of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. 
I bought it from a church jumble sale many years ago for 2 reasons, firstly , it was printed in 1963(my birth year) and secondly, because the previous owner had added their own art to the pages.
I believe this to be a representation of the Queen and King of Hearts playing Flamingo Crochet...
This would appear to be Alice and the other creatures listening to stories to dry off after their long swim in the lake of tears...
and I think this is a representation of the Lobster Quadrille (it is the only reference with fish lol, but this is only a guess)

I am sure you are all familiar with the story of Alice's adventures, but I was always certain that the film makers had exaggerated the chaotic/hyperactive elements to the story...I was wrong.
As the parent of a child assessed with Asperger's syndrome(part of the autistic spectrum) I was left totally agog at the similarities in the speech patterns used by Carroll, with those of my son. Right from the beginning of the story, it was like listening to my son. Especially the parts where Alice is arguing with herself "to the point of making herself cry" from telling herself off for cheating herself whilst playing crochet alone. The constant disapproving of her own behaviour, and second guessing her own decisions, and especially the inability to accept her own ability to learn, are all hurdles I see my son struggle over on a daily basis. How many times a day do I say to him..."enough now...your talking nonsense..." 
And that is what this novel is most famous for, the nonsense. Unfathomable riddles and totally surreal characters. I now suspect Carroll's endeavours may have been an attempt to show how he actually saw the world around him. Full of confusion and contradiction or maybe he had met a child like mine, who on the outside appears like any other, while on the inside they live in turmoil. constantly seeking approval and trying to do the right thing.
Reading the novel has lead me to embark on further adventures into Lewis Carroll's life, to see if my suspicions are correct.

My art is inspired by the "magic mushroom" that the Caterpillar is sitting on. I will blog the process tomorrow as this is already a long post :D





I seriously suggest any parent or friend or teacher of children in the Autistic Spectrum read this short novel with new eyes. I believe it is so much more than "nonsense".
Enjoy :D XXX


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34 comments:

  1. It's one of my favourite books Gina, in fact it was the first book I ever read at the age of 7 with no pictures in it. I've since read it as an adult and am still completely captivated by it. However, to see you have such a personal connection with it, is truly amazing and extremely thought provoking. I might have to re-read this one now, through new eyes. I'll watch with interest as to whether you find out more of Carroll's character that result in your suspicions being confirmed!

    Loving the artwork too - fantastic colours!

    Hugs

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  2. How did I miss this! *throws a tantrum* This is would have been perfect for me. I love your mushrooms *throws another tantrum*.

    Hm, I might do it by myself... *third tantrum*

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  3. What a find that book was Gina.. with it's own original artwork included... and amazing the connection you found with the book too... I must read it again... love your mushrooms...

    Jenny ♥

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  4. Wow, Gina! I'm so glad I read this. I have the book but I found it too confusing to read. Maybe I just wasn't in the right mood so I'll give it another go some other time. Awesome mushroom! Love the colors.

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  5. Out comes the book yet again. love your mushrooms! xodonna

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  6. Wow – how interesting! I have read the book, many years ago, but never thought there might be more to Carroll’s nonsense than just being fun doggerel for the sake of it – it’s fascinating to hear your alternative take on it

    From an art point of view, I love both your Warhol mushrooms and the original little masterpieces you found in your second hand book :)

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  7. Absolutely fascinating review! To have your insight and to be able to relate it to your own everyday knowledge is amazing. Not nonsense after all. Wonderful Warhol mushrooms and drawings. This challenge is a journey for us all.

    Janet xx

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  8. I love, love, love this book!!! I thought it was my ADD, you know when you want to go to sleep and think 1 sheep, 2 sheep, 3 sheep... Old McDonalds had a farm, hiya hiya hooo, and on his farm he had some chicken... Hey Macarena! And then try to get to sleep!!! :)
    The drawings in the book are fabulous! Really do like your art too but it's hard to beat the kid before you! ♥

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  9. I'm hoping to finish out my Alice in Wonderland series this year, it's been my focus since 2012. I hadn't looked at Alice with that perspective though, which is interesting because if I go through the characteristics of Asperger's, not only is my son qualified, so am I and my father (and not just a little, I delved into this years ago and it explained so much.) I still struggle, but now that I'm an adult, I'm just a weird adult. ;) I work to help my son through his struggles because I understand how he feels. I love the mushrooms!

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    1. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a weird adult...in fact...it is a state of grace we should all endeavour to reach :D

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  10. It was worth buying the book just for the added art. So touching that the child felt inspired enough to want to express thoughts in this way. I read Alice first as a child and didn't understand it. Read it again as an adult and appreciated it, but somehow never took to 'through the looking glass'.
    As for Aspergers/autism, yes we have it at some level of the spectrum in more than one in the larger family group - and another one to join the family in the summer!. I appreciate your daily challenges on the family side. I may read Alice again now with your insight and see it differently. The link with Carrol's mathematics and the maths side in my own family are also interesting.
    Your magic mushrooms are beautifully done.
    What a lot of in-depth interest you have raised with this review.

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  11. I have an autistic nephew who is unfortunately unable to express himself meaningfully but it makes me wonder how he views the world. I have not read this book since childhood, I should get another copy and read it again. Thank you for your thought-provoking review. And the mushrooms are great!

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  12. Love your mushrooms. Makes me want to read the book again with another prospective in mind while reading.

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  13. Sure it was a child drawing in that book...the master knows he really did those awesome drawings haha..best pick ever Gina!

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  14. I really love those drawings in the book! How magical.

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  15. I love it when people experience their own life in literature. I also love your insights into the story and have added the book to my "Must Read" list as I've navigated through the reviews. I, too, love the colors you used and look forward to reading your work process. Michelle V. (The Artfully Read Blog via her google acct.

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  16. Another classic book. It's been many years since I've read it. Interesting take on it. And finding that used copy is really cool.

    Nice work on your art, too!

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  17. oh Gina, such a fabulous review, and so amazing that there are those similarities. I admit to having watched the film many times but never reading the book. I think i may need to add it to my list.

    So chuffed you rescued a reloved book too.

    Gorgeous mushrooms, just loving your style.

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  18. I just love Lewis Carroll's work, living in Oxford where he wrote Alice and many other works I am so lucky. We get to have a Alice day in the city every year, lots of Mad Hatter tea parties and croquet. Your book find was great and the included added artwork perfect. So good to know that the dialogue gave you a link into your child too. Your artwork is stunning, the colours you have used are gorgeous.

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  19. Great review Gina! I too shall have to read it again through "new" eyes.
    What a treasure your charity shop find was...the added illustrations are perfect!
    Hugs xx

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  20. Oh wow I was waiting to hear what you thought about this book and I am not dissapointed Gina. You writings are always so captivating and fun! Did you know there is an actual Alice in Wonderland Syndrome. It is a neurological disorder which disturbs signals sent from the eyes to the brain, causing subsequent distortion in perception.
    Anyway enough of that your art ia fab as always. I am off to post my book review now.
    MaanonX

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  21. My daughter recently read this book and encouraged me to. I have not yet. after this review I am adding it to my list. (What a long list that will be after this year). Beautiful artwork.

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  22. What a great find and I love the art work! ;o) Your mushrooms are so bright and happy! Love them ;o)

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  23. Oh my word. I've never read it but I downloaded the book at Christmas so I'll be reading it with this review in the back of my mind now. I'll also be interested if you find out anything further about this.

    I love your art and by that I mean yours and the gorgeous creations you now come to own in the book :) How many people would have picked up that book and put it back due to being 'vandalised' rather than enhanced. It's with the right owner!

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  24. I bought this book several years ago but never read it (partly due to the fact that the one I bought was printed in the late 1800's and I was afraid it would fall apart). Your review has made me decide that I NEED to read it, although I may just download it for that purpose. Your artwork is very fun and captures the playfulness of the story.

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  25. I reread this book just before Christmas and love its nonsense. Your comments re Autism are very interesting and anything that helps people understand how it feels to have Autism is a valuable read. Love the mushrooms.
    Jen x

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  26. I was so happy to read a review on My Favorite!...thank you for including the drawings created in your copy! I found a wonderful little vintage copy in Winchester a few years ago. Loving the brilliant 'magic mushrooms' ...this whole book is magical adventure indeed!

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  27. You were so lucky to find a copy that had been embellished! I teach children with ASD and have to say that when I read this a couple of years ago I too saw the parallels. I love your mushrooms too! Thank you

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  28. You brought tears to me eyes with the line... Constantly seeking approval and trying to do the right thing, and even though my son doesn't communicate verbally much i see this so much! I will surely get this book now! Thanks for your thoughts!

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  29. Hi there Gina, thanks for such a wonderful review. I can now see the characters through new eyes and I feel I'd like to read it again with your viewpoint in mind - I'm sure the whole story would unfold before me very differently. Well done on the amazing Andy Warhol type art, it's brilliant.

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  30. I love the extra artwork which has been added to your copy of the book. I've never read it all, though I do have an abridged version for my little boy. Funny how differently you can perceive a book depending on your circumstances. Love your mushrooms too!

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  31. thats an interesting theory, they do say most geniuses are on the autistic spectrum as are we all to some extent.

    its not a look i've ever read and i've never seen the film or cartoon all the way through in one got (but i suspect i have seen it all if you know what i mean)

    it's not something i would chose to read but after your review its going on the read before i die pile x

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  32. What an interesting perspective to bring to the classic book of 'nonsense'. As Lewis Carroll lived close to my home town he is something of a local figure but I admit have never read the books. I adore the Tim Burton film ... But then I love all Tim Burton films ... But I suspect I wouldn't enjoy the book ... Just a sneaking suspicion based on no proof. Maybe I should rethink?!

    Love however your mushrooms! Just fab!

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  33. i have read this book before but your observations make me want to read it again. it is interesting to read how you compare the conversations in the book to those of your child. your mushroom looks like a perfect place to sit and ponder awhile.

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