Sally's Reviews > Was

Was by Geoff Ryman
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's review
Apr 29, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: oz, america, 1800s, 1920s, 1930s, 1980s, 1950s, insane-asylum
Read from December 06 to 09, 2011

Well now, that was just a trip and a half. At first it seems like three different stories in one, all tenuously linked via Oz - the story of Dorothy in 1880s Kansas, the story of Baby Frances Gumm growing up into Judy Garland, the story of Jonathan who is obsessed with The Wizard of Oz. I was much more interested in Dorothy's story, and much less interested in Jonathan's. Of Frances/Judy there is very little and it almost feels extraneous at times.

Although maybe Bill and Frances were linked - I can't remember now. Bill is the middle between Dorothy and Jonathan, anyway - and that was nicely done. (I was also amused to see him grow up to marry Muffy!)

This isn't really fantasy, though there is of course lots of Oz in it. It's all very grounded and real, apart from the hallucinations and stuff. But there's no actual magic.

I loved having Baum as the teacher. He was awesome. I loved Mr. and Mrs. "Sue". I loved the early Dorothy chapters, though I couldn't help but feel a bit uncomfortable as she grew older. I didn't really care much about Jonathan until we went back to his childhood. I did really enjoy his pilgrimage around Manhattan, KS - the historical detail was awesome, and the way everything just wove together so nicely.

Someone recommended this to me ages ago, when I first read Wicked. I enjoyed it, but I can't say that I'd just willy-nilly recommend it to anyone who likes Wicked. (For starters, Wicked is a thousand times more awesome.) It's a lot darker and gritter, leaves you feeling unclean at times, and the witches are only characters from the books/film. But if you're into Oz stuff in general then it is pretty cool and worth a read!
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Reading Progress

12/06/2011 page 33
12/09/2011 page 204
45.0% "The word "Ev" really IS Turkish for home! :D"
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