The Last of the Wicked Years


Ive read a great number of not so positive criticism about the end, and the beginning, and the middle… of Out of Oz: The Final Volume in the Wicked Years by Gregory Maguire. Some said that they didn’t like the novel because it left them “unfulfilled,” that it was “too ambivalent,” that “there was no happy ending,” and I agree with all of it, except with the part about disliking Out of Oz. I enjoyed it, and appreciate all of the commentary on social justice and orthodoxy.

I really liked that Maguire offered an in-text answer to those who found the book “too weird,” and “too removed from the Oz [they] grew up with.”  Near the end of the novel, we read that “Experience revokes our license to return to simpler times. Sooner or later, there’s no place remotely like home.” I think that the publication of Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, should have prepared everyone for the unpredictable (and nontraditional) ending of the series.

It would have been pretty if the son and granddaughter of The (prosecuted and hated) Wicked Witch of the West got their happily ever after, but such conclusion would have been a violation of the world Maguire created. Out of Oz ends at a lonely place between land and sky, but if we tilt our thinking a bit, and focus far beyond the horizon we are used to, we won’t miss the sign of hope. Um… tilt your head a bit more, the sign is kind of dim. There. See?
I LOVE this cover! 
Fly over to Melissa’s 2013 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge to read more witchy reviews.
If you tilt your head a wee bit more, you’ll hear the wind blow about Oma Linda’s AlTerEd oZ ;-)


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20 comments:

  1. I like a story with an unexpected ending/non ending. It allows the story to continue whizzing round in my head forever :D XXX

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    1. I do, too. I enjoy tales that leave me thinking about alternatives, or how their world (and ours) could be made better, wonder how things went so wrong... and so on. Maguire does all that. Me likes ;-)

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  2. thanks magaly. have not heard of this...will add to my ever growing list...of books to read!
    don't misread me...that's a GOOD thing. i love to read! =)

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    1. My reading pile is ginormous, too. It seems that the more I read, the more books I find making their way into the ranks. It's a good feeling ;-)

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  3. I gotta get around to reading that series of books one of these days. I mean, "one of these years" -- who am I kidding?

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    1. I've decided to stop lying to myself when it comes to reading. For instance, last year I said that I wouldn't read more than 113 books, but... I ended up reading over 250. Oh well, this year 113 books promise is more like a guideline.

      Let me know if you read it, for I believe you would enjoy it quite a bit ;-)

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  4. I try and fail at least once a year to get into the series.

    I don't know what it is but I cannot seem to get mental traction when reading his work even when it was about other fairy tales.

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    1. Maguire can get quite long-winded at times... maybe that's what putting you off. I remember a few occasions when I wanted to pull my hair out while reading Wicked. I'm one of those people who doesn't skip (I'm always thinking I will miss the best if I do) and Maguire likes to go on and on with descriptions that are not always needed. But I forgive his baddies because of all the awesome ;-)

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  5. I love your description of this book. I've got it reserved and will be reading it soon. And also, thanks for the winds whispering AlTerEd Oz.......Oma Linda

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    1. Wicked will always be the best in the series, but this is a really good one, too. Watching Elphaba's granddaughter become a young woman was a great treat. Sad at times, but still delightful.

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  6. Oh dear, out of the loop again. No fear, I really enjoyed your review. How weird is that?! I love your writing even when I don't know to what you are referring!!!

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    1. It seems my efforts to become a Francie Whisperer are paying off! lol

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  7. Sounds wonderful, I don't really go for the neat package theory & like the fact of a twist or 2... so, just making sure, this is the story of a witch coming out of Australia right?? I mean far beyond the horizon & all... or am I just being dim ;) he he.
    Oh I am SOO going to Oma Linda’s AlTerEd oZ!! Actually methinks I have an idea for an altered Dorothy, mmmmm.

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    1. I'm pretty sure many of the characters in Maguire's world love to deal with the bits down under ;-) Oh, you should meet Mr. Boss, he must be Australian, his sense of humor reminds me of yours. I'm brewing ideas for Oma Linda's party, too!

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  8. I loved Wicked, but I couldn't get into the next book. Since then...many years ago...I've dropped the series. I'm glad you liked it. Is it being turned into a movie?

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    1. There is something about the start of Maguire books that puts people off. I believe that if I wasn't as stubborn as I am, I would have probably put Son of Witch down before getting to the good parts. A Lion Among Men wasn't his best, either. I haven't heard anything about it been turned into a movie, but I would LOVE to see Wicked on the big screen!

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    2. Me too. That one I loved. I have to say I love old stories being redone, especially when they make people think about what really motivates us and the fact that there really are 2 sides to every story. I can't watch The Wizard of Oz now without seeing how rude Dorothy really was. I mean, seriously they were her sisters shoes! And if you accidentally dropped a house on someone, even though you didn't mean to, wouldn't you at least apologize to the family? No she just screams and steals the shoes. ;)

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    3. Exactly! And how creepy it is to just take off, singing and dancing, with the shoes of a dead woman? The girl had serious issues, and felt she was entitled to everything. It reminds me of certain countries thinking when it comes to war *cough, cough*

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  9. lol - can't imagine who you are talking about...but seriously it creeps me out when I see those messages. I've seen them in the shows my kids watch, and so I use it as a teachable moment. Because sometimes those little characters are just so rude but it's written as if they are the hero. I say, "no, no, no. Was that very nice? How does that other one feel?" I'm very proud that my boys get that and now question everything they watch and read...well I hope they do. At least I've given them permission to.

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    1. There it is for everyone who thinks mean things can not be educational. My grandma always said that only silly people fail to use someone else's mistakes as a lesson to keep them from acting foolish.

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