I found this book as a feature in a weekly newsletter from a free e-book site. As a longtime fan of all things Alice, I saw the words “White Rabbit” and immediately headed over to download it.
It was a fantastic choice to make.
People, this book is one of the best free books I’ve ever read. It was gloriously thick in descriptive imagery, like a rich stew that hits the spot on a cold night. It left me with a book hangover and accompanying disappointment that it ended. There was a link to the author’s Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/stuart.oldfield.9), so I crossed my fingers and sent an email request to be put on the list to be notified if he continued writing the story.
The internet is a strange place and I didn’t expect to hear back from him at all. There was an empty feeling that seems to be solely a bookworm’s curse – that feeling that the story isn’t over, but you’re accepting the fact that you just might never get to know what happens. It’s a death of sorts, a terrible sense of void.
My day was put right by a quick response from the author which included a link to books 2, 3 and 4.
It has been years since I’ve written an in-depth book review, so you get the short version, but I heartily encourage you to get this series. Caveat: I’m writing these reviews on September 17 - I finished book 1 on August 24 and book 2 on August 26, so the details are a bit fuzzy.
As an American, any cultural slang is endearing to my ear. It reminds me of hours spent watching Faulty Towers, Monty Python, and other shows where the ladies are always dressed as if they’re just about to head off to church. This book slides pleasantly into your brain, cheerfully mucking about with the serotonin levels and making you feel as if you’ve just eaten a few special brownies. It sits well and is reminiscent of the book “Good Omens”.
There are several Adult Situations in the story. If that sort of thing offends your delicate sensibilities you may want to read something a little softer, but it’s definitely written professionally and can’t be any worse than That Book Of Numerous Shades.
Book 1 finds our hero in an unhappy spot of life, and leads you down the trail that may or may not be a horror story. You get lost with him, pushing leaves and branches out of the way, and find yourself wanting to swoop in and rescue him all at once. You may find that the abundance of descriptive wording does more harm than good if you’re one trying to genuinely picture the scene, but if you take it slow it’s not bad. This read requires close attention to follow the bouncing ball from woods to suburbia.
There’s an Office. A Company, if you will. You begin to feel yourself surrendering to the ease of having The Company run your life, and (as you take a sip of your Medium Sized Coffee Drink) you may find that it’s just easier to give up and watch as you drown in screensavers, charts, and TPS reports.
A host of characters comes to life to help our fearless friend get from point A to Q, and it reminded me of a more adult version of the Disney Alice classic that I loved so much.
Good things happen, bad things happen, but the story continues. Read it.
The story continues on. Our hero has found his way to the bottom of the rabbit hole, and it becomes a bit clearer that he hasn’t just been invited down for tea. He’s made some friends, and is beginning to learn to go with the flow and to trust people who say they can be trusted… no, seriously.
As you read, you begin to feel frustrated for Le Hero and the myriad of characters that continue to help and hinder him. The imagery continues; a wash of mental flavor that reminds you to stop and smell the roses. Our friend Loofah continues to search all the mirrors in hopes of helping, but seems to lose track of what exactly it is he’s here for. Does he want to complete the quest? Does he want to go home, or merely fit in? A flash of understanding – Ah! – moves you on to the next chapter, and the next.
He meets a new personality (Monsieur Dentressangle) that allows him to completely relax in the face of adversity. At long last, someone is here to help… and while Norbert comes along with the frustrating feeling of just wanting to shake him a tiny bit, he makes you so comfortable that you almost don’t want to see beyond the rim of your own glass.
Loofah moves from scene to scene, dragging the reader through honey and psychedelic homes, where normal is anything but. We move through the story to find him realizing that not everything is as it seems, even in this upside-down world. This story is sans white knight in the typical format, but a page-turner just the same. If you’re a fan of heady imagery, this is something for you to read.
Part of me began to wonder if the story wasn’t just continuing on for the story’s sake. This book moves along with the same sticky, swimmy feeling as the rest, but I found it hard to follow along. It reminds me of a video game – you die, but you keep coming back at a different checkpoint. I’m not sure how it jumps from mid-surgery to a garbage bin in the middle of an intersection, but I didn’t write the book and can’t make those calls. The aforementioned Adult Situations show themselves a bit more frequently here, so consider yourself to be forewarned.
Loofah and his cast of frenemies pivot throughout an increasingly fast-moving world. People become more desperate to both help and harm him.
A new slew of characters arrive with information to prolong the quest for their own devices, and the scenes swish by like you’re struggling to hold onto consciousness after too many rum-and-cokes. You find yourself hiding in the pew of a local church, praying to whatever entity isn’t on lunch break, only to be saved from the darkness by that last ray of light. A twilight trip across the moor to the savannahs, infinite quests, talking animals, it’s all par for the course on this almost-last book in the series. Again, read it.
We’ve come a long way, you and I.
The final book in the White Rabbit series is a slew of treacheries, friendships, quests and moments of self-reflection. A return of dear ol’ Nobby, a matronly spider, a chronologist pig, and discussions on the timeliness of time – it all feels like piling into the car after a long day at Disneyland. One of my favorite quotes read as follows: “You can have as many todays as you want, dear boy, as long as you only have them one at a time.”
A mystical vision takes our dear friend to the definitive forest where not all is as it seems; you expect to see a Cheshire cat reclining among the branches. You learn of the real betrayer, and almost see Loofah finally settling down for tea and complete mental breakdown. He finds his way into a weird suburbia, and from there is able to utilize a tool just for the destruction of those who wish to harm him most. He enters into a brief respite at the hands of the Savior (of some sort), and regains strength to continue on the quest.
Does he complete the journey? Does he settle into chaos? You must read to find out.