Alice “Al” Liddell is from Echola, Alabama. She leads the life of a normal teen until the day she’s diagnosed with vasovagal syncope–a fainting disorder that causes her to lose consciousness whenever she feels emotions too strongly.
Her mother, the “Queen of Hearts,” is the best cardiothoracic surgeon this side of the Mason-Dixon Line and a bit of a local hero. Yet, even with all her skill she is unable to cure her daughter of her ailment, leading Al into the world of backwater witchcraft. Along the way, she meets a wacky cast of characters and learns to accept her new normal.
Take Your Medicine is a southern gothic retelling of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Disclosure: I was sent an e-ARC of Take Your Medicine by the author for review, but this in no way affected my final rating.
What I liked most about this story was the diverse representation, which included an LGBT romance and a character living with chronic illness, as well as the descriptions of the very nature-focused setting. (Even though the animals and insects described freaked me out a bit, the land Al and her mom lived on sounds AMAZING!)
I also liked that alternative medicine and science were discussed in reference to treating and curing illness.
I think the main issue I have is that this book is marketed as a novella, but felt more like a short story. The side characters were kind of random and underdeveloped, which was disappointing because a couple of them were “witches” (healers interested in alternative medicine) and could have had interesting backstories.
There also could have been a bigger connection to Alice in Wonderland, because calling Take Your Medicine a retelling felt a little misleading after reading it. The only real parallels I saw were the character names and a few traits.
Overall, I thought this story was an enjoyable read, but either should have been marketed as a short story or the author could have developed it a bit more and added more connections to Alice in Wonderland before publishing. But I do hope to see more from Hannah Carmack as she continues to find her voice and progress as a writer!