Forgotten Classics: “Alice Through the Needle’s Eye”

September 22, 2008 at 6:21 pm | Posted in Children's Book, Fiction, Forgotten Classics | 2 Comments

This book came to my attention when I had just discovered the adult fiction section of the library and sincerely believed I could read through it all if I simply started at the A’s and kept going.  Right there at the beginning of the aisle was Adair, G., and… an Alice book!  I was instantly suspicious, even at age 12, that one author could dare appropriate another author’s characters.  And that was before I ever saw any “fan fiction.”  But Alice in Wonderland was the first chapter book I ever loved, and I had to find out if this interloper could stand beside the genuine article.

I am happy to report that Alice Through the Needle’s Eye was entirely convincing.  If someone had given it to me with the author’s name scratched off, I would have believed it to be Lewis Carroll’s work.  Gilbert Adair knows the rules of Wonderland.  The book has enough charm and whimsy that we could wish he had followed it up with another.  (And it looks like he did do a Peter Pan story, though I haven’t seen it).  I would recommend it for anyone who loves Alice, regardless of age.



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  1. I haven’t read his Alice book. But his Peter Pan book, I’m sorry to say, is terrible. It has many contradictions and unfairly imposes ridiculous notions on the chracters.
    In fact, all of the prequels and sequels to Peter Pan have mistakes in them! Even the “official” one.
    But a book has come out recently that is faithful to J.M. Barrie and is also based on his idea to continue Pan’s adventure.
    Check it out:


  2. It sounds interesting to me. I liked Through the Looking Glass better than Wonderland; curious how another author’s work would stand up to comparison.

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