Out of Oz

I was older when I discovered the magic of The Wizard of Oz. I don’t think I watched it for the first time until I was nearly 20. Obviously once I gave it a chance, I fell in love with it. From there, reading Gregory Maguire’s Wicked seemed like a natural progression.

I loved it.

Then the musical came out and I got the chance to see it. In London. I just about died. A production recently toured in my neck of the woods and I took my mom to see it.

I listen to the soundtrack all the time. You might say I’m obsessed and you wouldn’t be too far off.

After Wicked, I read Son of a Witch and A Lion Among Men and was just waiting for the final installment to be released in paperback. Out of Oz was finally in paperback and I finally read it.

And I did not like it.

I’m not sure if it had been too long since I’d visited Oz and so the politics of the world were now completely over my head? It totally could be that.

I definitely enjoyed some parts of it. Maguire’s Glinda always makes me laugh and this time was no exception. I enjoyed his characterization of the now 16-year-old Dorothy and the A Little Princess-esque time when Rain (Elphaba’s granddaughter) is at boarding school.

But the politics of Oz overshadowed everything and the characters, beaten low by years of oppression didn’t have any spark left. Rain, abandoned by her parents, left to shift for herself and ultimately semi-responsible for how things are supposed to turn out, is a bit of an anti-heroine. But not in an ass-kicking way, in a kind of I-don’t-really-care-what-happens kind of way. Which is hard to get behind.

And the ending. Probably best not to get me started on the ending – actually I’m not really sure what I would even say since I still don’t even get it.

So that’s how that ended for me: disappointment.

10 thoughts on “Out of Oz

  1. That’s too bad. I never read the follow ups to Wicked, because even that one sort of messed with my mind in a mostly unpleasant way. But it’s really disappointing to read an entire series and then to ultimately be left disappointed.
    Will you see the current Oz movie?

  2. I usually like to know all parts of a story, even if they’re not so great…shelfish reasons here too, I’m sure. I think I like to say when I’ve read something, I know as much as I can about it. I’ve had every line of the original movie memorized since age 5 and read the first book at a young age. I have a copy of Wicked, but so many friends who read it said it was very sexualized and “un-Oz” like. And then I started hearing the musical wasn’t like the book. So I bought the soundtrack and my daughters and I have it memorized! (We go between Phantom, Wicked, and Les Mis in the car.) My husband and I made a less than 24 hr trip to Chicago to see it in 2008…made it back home in time to get to my grad class! Worth it – I loved it.

    I will definitely be seeing the new Oz…it’s a new perspective! Who can resist? So, do you think I should go ahead and read Wicked? Is it very different from the musical?

    • Oh and there’s a second Wizard of Oz movie called Return to Oz. 1985 and I watched it within a year of its making and all I can remember is it really creeped me out. Not the Oz I remembered at all. But, I never read far into the original Oz series Baum wrote, which was 14+ books long. So maybe some of the second movie was based in those?

    • I think you should definitely see it! It’s not that it’s so different but it’s definitely been simplified. I don’t remember it being overtly sexual but that doesn’t really ever bother me so I’m probably the worst meter for that!

      • I saw Wicked in 2008 and loved it! It’s the book I’m pondering…although if the musical is a simplified version, then it’s probably a book I’d try. Les Mis musical is a simplified version of the book too and I liked them both.

  3. I have a copy of Wicked that has been on my self for years and I never got around to reading it. Maybe when I am done with my current book I’ll start it. I saw the play in New York and thought it was fantastic. I’m sorry to hear that Out of Oz was a letdown!

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