Thursday, December 26, 2013

eBook Review: No Place Like Oz

After returning to Kansas, Dorothy Gale has realized that the dreary fields of Kansas don’t compare to the vibrant landscapes of Oz. And although she’s happy to be reunited with Aunt Em, she misses her friends from the yellow brick road. But most of all, Dorothy misses the fame and the adventure. In Kansas she’s just another prairie girl, but in Oz she was a hero. So Dorothy is willing to do anything to get back, because there really is no place like Oz. But returning to the land she left comes at a price, and after Dorothy is through with it, Oz will never be the same.
Much like Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, in movie form and book form, terrified me as a child. I can't say why--there was just something about Dorothy's journey that terrified me (I read many of the other Oz books perfectly fine however). I was certain that Dorothy was the HEROINE of the book though (in a way Peter Pan never was and Alice couldn't really be). She was going to right a wrong, save a bunch of people and be the HERO.

Paige tosses that all on its head and until Ozma says something I was violently against the notion. And then Ozma says something to Dorothy that hit what had bothered me so much about The Wizard of Oz--Glinda survived all those years with two evil wicked witches running amok. Untold years. As a child I didn't believe in absolute evil and absolute good--the world was a gray gray place* and I exerted that belief onto anything I read or watched.

So unlike almost everyone else in Oz I didn't believe that Glinda was as pink and fluffy and altruistic as she appeared. There HAD to be an ulterior motive. Paige answers that question and in the process made me desperate for more.

From the beginning Paige paints Dorothy as a restless girl. She's kind of resigned to the fact her life is now dull, poor and ordinary. The few moments of excitement she exhibits are reserved for when people discuss her past exploit as "The Girl Who Rode a Cyclone" or when she thinks of being in Oz. Her Aunt and Uncle, while giving her all the love she could ever want, judge her for her "fairy tale" about Oz. Her best friend Mitzy basically dropped her like a sack of potatoes because Dorothy insisted on talking about Oz. The most popular/rich girl in school taunted her at every turn.

And she saw no avenue of escape. Ever.

I sympathisized with her at first. Though she began acting a bit more bratty and selfish (even before the corrupting influence of the shoes), I could see why she felt so depressed. Kansas as she paints it was deadly dull, she could look forward to a life stuck on a farm (or close to one) with a guy who doesn't think beyond feeding the animals on time, in homespun dresses twenty years out of fashion. She's 16 and wants more.

I started to lose patience with her pretty rapidly in Oz. Instead of trying to assure her uncle and aunt, she repeatedly presses them to forget Kansas. Instead of taking the time to listen to them she snaps at them to do what she wants. She pushes and cajoles and manipulates them over and over again. I could understand if it was desperation over saving Glinda or if Dorothy was more then cursorily interested in the changes of Oz, but Paige makes it very clear that Dorothy wants what Dorothy wants.

The end, when Dorothy gets what she wants, is a little heart breaking. Magic has a price and Dorothy's is steeper then she would have paid otherwise (I hope, I'm not sure honestly). It will be interesting in DOROTHY MUST DIE how this new "girl from Kansas" views things. How Dorothy will appear now a century (in our time) later to a girl who comes from a time when Dorothy's exploits are a thing of fiction and romanticized. 
 (*) yes I have been this cynical since I was a kid.