There are some very narrow minded reviews of this book on Amazon.com. They’re put off by the novel’s prose and style, I think. I want to slap them. The book is called Alison Wonderland. With a title like that you should expect something a bit…askew. And if you don’t get that, you should be disappointed.
In Alison Wonderland there is no rabbit hole or looking glass to toss you into a new world. You only have to dip into the prose of author Helen Smith to enter a world recognizably ours but has been jumbled up. It’s as if God had bumped into the table that holds the world.
I was charmed by the book – the stories, the characters, the plot and the occasional acts of fellatio.
The reader may want to keep Mark Twain’s warning at the beginning of Huck Finn in mind when reading this book….”persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.” There is a plot – thin as spider’s silk – but the joy in the novel is the characters and the writing.
I’ve never read a beating scene such as this:
Alvin, gym-muscular under the fat, is fit enough to remain conscious while the shit is kicked out of him. He curls up to protect his belly and his balls and puts his hands over his head. The silent man kicks his arse, his kidneys and his hands where they grip his head. Alvin feels nauseous and afraid. He didn’t ask, and perhaps they wouldn’t have told him, but he has no idea who they are. They could be anyone. They could kick him until he dies. When he thinks they won’t stop, they stop.
That’s just fun to read.
Then there are just nice little sentences scattered throughout the novel. Such as:
Smoking makes me feel guilty and the guilt makes me feel melancholy.
I never realized before that taking care of someone else makes you love them more than when they take care of you.
The book is slightly mad. It’s characters are mad. Mad like a quirky aunt. Or a hatter. Mad in the best sense.