The first book I ever remember myself becoming obsessed with was Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol. I clearly remember my primary school library having this beautiful, illustrated copy of Alice. It was covered in a thick, see-through, plastic cover so our sticky fingers couldn’t ruin the picture of Alice and the white rabbit. I would check it out if the library for weeks on end so I wouldn’t have to let it go. I brought it everywhere with me: doctor’s appointments, car rides and the weekly food shop. To this day, it remains one of my favourite books as it was the first one I read that made me realize just how much I loved to read and write. Thinking back now, I know why it was such an important book for me. Wonderland in itself became my escape, a place for my creative brain to find joy in its nonsense where the ordinary rules don’t apply.
We all know the story of Alice. It’s hard not to with all the retellings and onscreen adaptations, yet nothing comes close to the real thing. Alice is a story of a young, curious girl who followed a white rabbit down a hole and into the nonsensical world that is Wonderland. There, she encounters various vibrant characters like the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat and the Queen of Hearts. It was easy to imagine myself as Alice as she was the first character I had ever related to, all except for her blonde hair “When I used to read fairy tales, I fancied that kind of thing never happened, and now here I am in the middle of one!” This was how I felt while reading because it’s hard to feel sad when you are in wonderland. I spent my childhood looking for white rabbits in tiny waistcoats and throwing my own tea parties. I grew up wishing to be Alice, to have my curiosity overshadow any of my fear and confusion. I liked the fun and I loved getting lost in it. Now, I’ve got my own illustrated Alice. It may not have the pictures from my primary school book, but the story still remains the same.