I picked this up partly because I wanted something quick and light after The Windup Girl and partly because I was reading The Magicians and had C. S. Lewis on the mind. And until this very day, thirty-two years into my life, I thought it was C.S. Lewis who wrote this book. Wrong Lewis, it turns out. And wrong century. Audiobook fatigue and a case of mistaken identity may not be the best reasons to pick up a book, but I guess that doesn’t really matter in the end.
I also picked this up because Jim Dale was reading it, and he did an absolutely fantastic job. I think a large part of my enjoyment was due to his narration. He made the world come alive, effortlessly voicing every character perfectly, and even while driving through traffic I felt like a bewildered kid sitting in bed listening to this nonsensical story being told.
I feel like you have to try not to worry too much about understanding everything to really enjoy this, because that could get frustrating. Read it like a child might and just let it wash over you and enjoy the imaginative scenes and colourful characters. It’s essentially completely insane imagery, which we seem to love putting in children’s entertainment, mixed with constant little reminders to do well in school. And many threats of violence. The writing can be quite funny at times, too.
For a minute or two she stood looking at the house, and wondering what to do next, when suddenly a footman in livery came running out of the wood–(she considered him to be a footman because he was in livery: otherwise, judging by his face only, she would have called him a fish)–and rapped loudly at the door with his knuckles.
This is just the first half of the story. Unfortunately, Jim Dale doesn’t narrate Through the Looking-Glass, and the other productions have fairly mixed reviews and seem to be missing some of the original poetry, so I might wait and pick up a physical copy.