Is a feature developed by Berls @Fantasy is More Fun, Michelle @Because Reading and Reanna @Phantasmic Reads.
Two or three of us get together and read the same book – one we’ve both/all been wanting to read – and after we read it, we get together and talk all about it.
It’s 3 girls, 1 book and LOTS of opinions all to answer one simple question: Was It Good For You?
Feel free to just read sections, though it all flows as one single conversation.
Warning! Expect Spoilers! We’re going to get pretty excited and heated about things
and if you haven’t read the book, details will be spoiled. Consider yourself warned…Enjoy! 🙂
Her Mad Hatter by Marie Hall
Chat with Michelle & Berls
Michelle: OMG! I’ve been dying to talk about Her Mad Hatter, I’m so glad you’ve finally finished it!
Berls: (hiding head behind book) I’m sorry! I know, I know, I took forever. We have so much to talk about! Let’s see where should we start….
Berls: Can we just talk about this crazy world? It was genius!
Michelle: (long pause)
Berls: What? You didn’t think it was genius?!
Michelle: ehhh, I wouldn’t say genius. (shaking head) The world build was just not even there! Like I swear to God, all I pictured in my head was them walking through like black space and then like we were on the Ship from Star Trek where they have the hologram room…
Michelle: that’s what I pictured. Them standing in a hologram room and all of a sudden the whole room changes to a forest of mushrooms… And when he walked through the house to go down the hallway to have the millions of doors, that was like… idk… and then she walked into a room that looked exactly like her bedroom… I was like… I don’t even know what’s going on.
Berls: (laughing hysterically) But that’s so cool! That’s what I pictured too. Well kind of. Except that I didn’t have a name for it – I didn’t really give it the Star Trek thing. But I thought that was cool!
Michelle: That’s what I pictured. It drove me nuts!
Berls: Really? I loved it! I thought that was the coolest part of the book! The way the world would just shift and change constantly. I thought it was kind of genius because basically Wonderland is completely manipulated by Hatter and he’s CRAZY. He’s Mad! So you’re not supposed to get it I don’t think. It’s supposed to be all crazy and weird.
Michelle: I guess. But I just felt like I had no place to put my feet. I mean – where were they? Where was the house connected to?
Berls: I honestly feel like when they left the house they never actually left the house. They were never out of his little realm…
Michelle: even when they were outside and all that stuff was happening…?
Berls: Yep. Underwater and everything.
Michelle: But he was like I want to show you something we’re going to go to the frog. So they went into the frog’s MOUTH! I was like okay we could have totally skipped this because it was just absolutely made no sense or even why we’re there. And then they never left the frog’s mouth…
Berls: She went through a door.
Michelle: oh!! oh ok. (laughing and shaking head) that’s crazy.
Berls: Which is why I still feel like she was in the house. Like they never left the house.
Michelle: Right but is the house wonderland? Or in Wonderland? Where were we?
Berls: (pause) I honestly I have NO idea. (laughing) Ok, I guess I have to agree with you on that point. For me and what I wrote in my review is that there were a lot of aspects that I recognize as Wonderland that weren’t there. I was like where was the Red Queen and her “off with your head?” I missed that!
Michelle: That’s what I mean! That is where the aspect of Wonderland disappeared for me. The whole book I was waiting for that whimsical feel. You’re in a hallucinogen kind of world. That’s how the Mad Hatter should have been. I could see him being completely misunderstood with Alice. Here she is a normal human being – she has a business of her own, she just got over this major disease, she’s an actual grown up – and she now has to fall in love with this man child who’s a complete lunatic and can’t talk in normal sentences and talks to a mouse in a teacup, who, by the way, I thought, “that’s odd, where the hell did he come from?” I wanted more of the mouse in a teacup.
Berls: (laughing) I did love the mouse in the teacup! Awesome scene!
Michelle: I wanted more of that. Like, could she not use the March hare? Could she not use Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum? Was it that she wasn’t legally allowed to use them? Throwing it all together so it’s ACTUALLY Wonderland. I don’t know, it was lacking the Wonderland for me.
Michelle: Speaking of missing the Wonderland – the Mad Hatter was not the Wonderland Mad Hatter I expected.
Berls: Are you kidding? I loved Hatter! Did you not like Hatter either?
Michelle: Ya know, I have an image I think maybe going in and I have a hard time. I have an image of how the Mad Hatter is supposed to be between the book, the movie, the other books I’ve read and stuff and I’m not comparing her. I never compare books, I don’t like to do that because that’s not fair to an author because it’s not like she took another book and rewrote it to make her own. The Mad Hatter just didn’t seem mad enough to me. He seemed depressed and suicidal. I don’t really believe the original Mad Hatter was depressed and suicidal. He was more whimsical and fun and he was like a complete lunatic. Oh let me get you a cup of tea and pull a sugar cube out of your ear. That to me is the mad hatter. Not I’m so depressed, no one loves me.
Berls: See I didn’t have any expectation for Hatter.
Michelle: And then even in the beginning he’s SO depressed and he’s SO upset and the WHOLE beginning was like him and he’s gonna die. I just felt like there was so much un — I just feel like there was so much there that just didn’t have anywhere to go.
Berls: I have to agree, sort of. My thing is that there was so much there that had LOTS of places to go, but it never went. The book was way too short.
Michelle: That’s true. But I just felt like Hatter wasn’t even what she set him up to be. He’s supposed to be a bad and he’s supposed to be the evil of evil
Berls: Wait.. He’s supposed to be evil?
Michelle: If you read the beginning that’s what she said. All the bad boys of whatchamacallit… (laughing).
Berls: (laughing) I think the point though is that they’re bad boys but they’re not evil. Like they’re just misunderstood.
Michelle: Ok I just didn’t feel like he was very much of a bad boy even. I kind of felt like he was depressed.
Berls: Ok, fair enough. I can agree with that. Though I loved how crazy he was. I thought she nailed that. What about Alice? Did you like her?
Michelle: Alice didn’t fit for me. Because it was like her great grandmother was in Wonderland before and I’m like, “that’s creepy.” Like the whole idea of him having to find and going through all these different Alice’s. It just didn’t…
Berls: So you didn’t like that idea?
Michelle: No… (shaking head emphatically)
Berls: I liked that! And I LOVED that she wasn’t the Alice that you picture from the movies.
Michelle: That through me off, actually. She was NOTHING like what I expected.
Berls: See I thought that made it brilliant. My problem was, I didn’t like Alice. The way I felt about Alice was that there was so much potential in her that was never achieved. Like the fact that she was someone who would go against her family’s desire and pursue her dream to have a bakery that tells she’s someone who had spunk and what’s the word IDK some sort of internal strength you know what I mean?
Michelle: and she was independent enough –
Michelle: – to take her idea and put them into motion not caring that her family wanted her to be a doctor or a lawyer or something like that. She was determined.
Berls: Exactly! I wanted to see that side of her come through and it didn’t.
Michelle: That’s what I’m saying! She didn’t have her own personality. She dressed up all sexy for the bakery opening because her friend told her to dress up like that. And she goes to bed in the cami and short shorts and I’m thinking, “that’s fine but I pictured her in a cami and hip hugger sweat pants.” That’s kinda how I was picturing her more and you know maybe with like funky socks on and her hair up in a pony tail. And I hated that she felt the thing to do to get him to like her was to get dressed up differently to make him like her? Why couldn’t she just be herself? Why did she have to be something she’s not to get his attention? If he supposed to love her and their supposed to be together…
Berls: right, if they’re fated why does it matter what she wears?
Michelle: She could have wore a bag lady’s outfit with dung on her nose and he would have been okay with that!
Berls: Okay – with that you bring me to a very important topic. The love. Were you feeling it?
Michelle: Nope. Even the sex part was completely forgettable, I actually had to go back and check to have this conversation with you to see if they had sex or not.
Berls: Oh really!?! See, I wouldn’t say the sex was forgettable. The thing for me was that I NEVER connected with Alice. I never fell in love with her as a character. And so, it made the sex – although I thought it was fairly steamy – it made it…IDK… It wasn’t enough. I wasn’t connected to the characters enough to care that they were having the greatest sex. And when the whole thing at the end happened, I think that if I believed in their love story I would have felt differently that happened at the end of the book. But it was lust. It was not love. I didn’t see them develop any real feelings for each other beyond lust.
Michelle: Right! and I also had a problem with her attire. What she wore. To me, she kept going to him saying, “look how hot I am. You have to fall in love with me.” and like you said there was no romantic love connection between them. It was all sex. And I’m like for me to have a believable, loving relationship that has to be more than three days for them to fall in love. But fall in love by spending time with each other instead of them roaming around the woods and half the time they weren’t even speaking to each other.
Berls: That was the most frustrating thing for me. They were hardly ever together.
Michelle: They didn’t even talk!
Berls: She was there for like 3 days and yet they had like hours at most together. How do you fall in love?
Michelle: Yes. And they never had fun with each other.
Berls: No! They hated each other it seemed like. Well Hatter hated her it seemed like.
Michelle: And it looked like she turned around and was like, “you know what let me just wear this slinky looking outfit, let you lust over me and love me. Soon as you feel like you’re in love with me I’m gonna leave.” Well then to me, that’s not finding your true love. That’s exactly what her grandmother and everybody else did. She wasn’t the Alice for him.
Berls: Yep, for me to believe she was his Alice I needed to see him connect to him in a way that she didn’t. And the thing was that she was already obsessed with him, that didn’t work for me either. She wasn’t obsessed with just because of what happened when she was a child dying and he came to her. She was obsessed with him BEFORE that because she called out to him when she was sick and I’m like “ok there are books out there that I’m sure I’ve had a connection to but when I’m on my deathbed I’m not calling out for Mr. Darcy.” (laughing) as much as I love the man, I’m not calling out for him. So I just, I don’t get, I didn’t get it. I didn’t fall for Alice.
Michelle: And on top of that you’ve trapped her in Wonderland for 3 days and she must fall in love with him. What happened to the independent girl who says, “go scratch your rear end and go someplace else I’m not doing this? Take me the heck home, I don’t want to be here!” That’s where it kind of lost me. It seemed like such a harsh way to get someone to fall in love. You kidnap them and tell them they have to fall in love.
Berls: I agree with that. Not exactly the way to inspire someone to fall in love with someone.
Michelle: And the guy didn’t even want anything to do with her! So here she is now trapped in a world where she’s supposed to fall in love with a guy and he’s not even pursuing her she has to pursue him and it’s like well wait a minute! I don’t want to be here to begin with I don’t even know who this guy is from a hole in the wall and now you’re making me chase him when he should be chasing me to make me fall in love with him for me to want to stay.
Berls: it’s supposed to work because she’s already been in love with him her whole life. But I never believed that. I never was convinced by that because it didn’t make sense.
Michelle: right because she was in love with the IDEA of him not him.
Berls: That’s why it never got beyond lust. He was an obsession and it never grew beyond that! You know me – I love my sexiness – but call it what it is. That was lust, not love!
Michelle: I’ll give her on the originality of it. It is an original idea of the Mad Hatter and the way I feel towards fairy tale retellings this was a different concept and used different characters and you used a different idea.
Berls: You know I love Marie. Like I absolutely love Marie Hall, but I think this was her first book. And I’ve read her later works, so I know she’s grown as an author and I just didn’t realize how much. I’m giving it 3.5 stars because I really felt like the world was fairly brilliant. I know we disagree on that. But I thought the world was brilliant. And the ability to take a mad person and have them be mad but make sense at the same time. I thought that was really cool. I loved the concept and the setting of the whole thing. I just didn’t fall in love with Alice.
Michelle: I think I would have liked the idea more if they had taken him and ya know maybe had her accidentally find him. I understand the old lady…
Berls: (laughing) the fairy…
Michelle: (laughing) yeah. I understand Danika coming up and having the conversation at the bakery. Oh – I totally wanted cupcakes!
Berls: (groan) I know! Those cupcakes sounded so FREAKIN good!
Michelle: I could have done without the peppercorn but I was okay with everything else they were talking about.
Berls: I’m kind of curious about the peppercorn actually.
Michelle: Anyway… And then they never mentioned anything about a brain tumor and then when all of a sudden this brain tumor came back and she comes back and it was like where have you been and she’s like I don’t know you’ve been gone oh my god your brain tumor must be back and I’m thinking what the freak is going on? And she’s got three days to live? And I’m like what?!
Berls: Like what’s going on!? (laughing) So the brain tumor thing it kind of caught me off guard, but I knew she’d been sick before, obviously.
Michelle: she mentioned it, but at that point I swear, I totally disconnected from the entire story altogether. Like it lost me. I could have dealt with the weirdness of the whole wonderland and thinking this is kind of different. It could grow on me the idea of it but as soon as she said she got sick, she got real thin and she’s sitting in the bed and dying and I’m thinking what the hell is happening? And I’m like all the sudden the fairy comes to her – everybody just so happened to leave at that point – the fairy walks in. “You have to go to him because you’re dying and this is the only way…” and I’m just like, “hold on. So she just gonna up and leave out of the bed where all her entire family is?” I wasn’t expecting a happy ending. I could have been okay with her saying you live there, will leave here but to actually make her, I’m assuming, she died…
Berls: Well, no, she didn’t die. She just ended up in Wonderland instead.
Michelle: Right, but she would have technically…
Berls: to her family… everyone would have just assumed she died I guess?
Michelle: But she (laughing) wait a minute she just totally freakin’ vanished. That would be like if someone we knew was on their death bed, but were gonna all walk outside so you can talk to this creepy old lady…
Michelle:… and we come back in and like omg where’d she go? Omg she’s gone and now you spent years and stuff looking for… I just thought it was odd.
Berls: It was odd.
Michelle: there was no connection to the secondary characters. None whatsoever. No regard for her friend. No regard for her family. It was just a story about her and him walking in the lord of the rings like of a manor through wonderland and it just went nowhere for me. I gave it three stars, in my head I wonder if I should have given it two.
Michelle: I really just kinda…It really just wasn’t what I was hoping for… Don’t get me wrong. I will DEFINITELY read the next one!
Berls: Oh me too! Fingers crossed it gets even better!
Berls: So, Michelle, Was It Good For You?
Michelle: It was no good for me. Check out my 2.5 star review @ Because Reading. And Was It Good For You, Berls?
Berls: It was good, but not great, for me. Check out my 3.5 star review @ Fantasy is More Fun.
Thanks for joining us. If you’ve read Her Mad Hatter, let us know… Was It Good For You?
Headers designed by Michelle@Limabean Designs 🙂