She is completely unbiased and presents all data accordingly. She also was fortunate in that she discovered his banking records that had been hidden away for over 100 years that disclosed much welcome information on our author.
I must say after hearing all the nonsense of his "hidden" perverseness and the like, it was refreshing to read this biography. I was pleased to discover that the accusations were not founded in any fact, and that all the children [but one who was never a friend of his] who befriended him had positive things to say about his friendship when interviewed by other biographers later in life.
It is clear after being taken through the facts that the hideous gossip about him was merely that, gossip.
I wholeheartedly agree with the author that the sexual overtones of any analysis of Carroll's work is merely shining a light upon the obsessions of the critics.
In addition to the ridiculous sex obsessed viewpoints of Freudian criticisms of Carroll, there is one analysis that I found absurd by Prof. Paul Schilder who in 1938 found "preponderant oral sadistic trends of cannibalistic character in Carroll's work", in addition to another "doctor", psychoanalyst John Skinner, who upon reading a letter Carroll had written to a young friend the was full of his trademark humor decides that the funny letter was, " full of rejection, with little friendliness in it's tone."
After reading about his schooling and the drab and dried up social atmosphere of Oxford/Christ Church it becomes clear to the reader that his relationships with children were a welcome oasis from his life as a mathematics lecturer.
That his oath of celibacy which ensured his position at the college was both a source of stress and financial stability for one who did not come from a family of entitlement.
After a thorough examination of his bank records one will discover his silent support of over 30 different charities yearly, mostly to aid women and children who were victims of abuse or to hunt down and prosecute men who abused children. In addition to his role as head of his huge family after the death of his beloved father he supported his 10 brothers and sisters in whatever capacity they might need, that was quite a feat, and in today's society would be nothing short of sainthood.
I also found touching his being torn between Oxford conservatism, & the unconventional-ism that colored his life. The expectations put upon him due to his vow and being a male in Victorian society were at constant odds with his treating women and children as equals and unashamedly being seen in public visiting with unchaperoned women and children.
Most of the gossip appears to originate with the other men at Oxford/Christ Church. One can only imagine the jealousy they felt when viewing the sensitive stammering professor constantly surrounded by women and children.
In addition to the disdain he received from his pupils, who were of the entitled upper-crust and not at all fond of someone stepping outside of their "proper" place in the Victorian caste system, he was under much duress due to his speech impediment that seemed to plague many members of his family that caused his daily public speaking to be horrific for him. Also he seemed to have a knack for climbing up and down the ladder socially without concern for the disapproval of his contemporaries.
I know the works of Lewis Carroll have influenced my life for the better and I am so glad to have found Jenny Woolf's book.
I have this to say to those who slander Carroll :
The "people" who populate this world we live in have a knack for taking something innocent and wonderful then strangling and cutting it into a perverted reflection of their own ugliness.
Overall I am so glad she wrote this, I read it in less than two days, I couldn't put it down.