Splintered by A.G. Howard

Splintered Cover

BGSU staff member Anne Lake shares a review of a new CSCL title.  You will find Splintered in the hallway of the CRC and in the catalog here.

Title: Splintered

Author: A.G. Howard

Summary: [from GoodReads]

Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.
When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.

My Review

So many people have said such good things about this book, and yet going into it I somehow had no idea what I was in for. Splintered is a modern “sequel” to the classic Alice in Wonderland. Alyssa, great-(great?)-granddaughter of the original Alice must go back and fix everything Alice screwed up the first time.

One of the things I really loved about this book was the inventive re-imagining of the original. I have never read it, but now that I think about what I know of it from the movie (which was probably Disney-fied) it makes sense that the things she did were incredibly destructive from the point of view of Wonderland’s people. I never really noticed it before, because the original is from Alice’s point of view, and the focus is on her confusion, panic and fear

The other really important part of this book is its examination of how we treat those we think are “insane.” Alyssa’s mother has been in the insane asylum for years and before we head down the rabbit hole we get a good look at how the rest of the characters react to her. While we’ve certainly come a long way from electrocution and lobotomies, conditions still aren’t great. The poor woman is sedated within an inch of her life. Alyssa visits her because she knows she should, but she’s still repulsed and ashamed by her own mother. It’s a terrible thing to see, but it really opened my eyes to some issues I’m not familiar with.

But the thing that really blew me away about this book was the imagery. Once can see that this is the Wonderland from the original, but where Alice was an intruder, Alyssa is invited and has help (such as it is) from those on the inside. The different perspective makes the view of Wonderland raw and new, and it has an inherent beauty that is incredible!

I really enjoyed this book for all its unusual elements. This is one I’d recommend to anybody, no questions asked.

This review was originally published 3/14/13 on Creativity’s Corner

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