Books I Loathed discussion

Loathed Authors > Gregory Maguire

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message 1: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie I think Maguire came up with one of the most creative ideas for his novels - the behind-the-scenes-look at fairy tales we all know and love? Perfect! Everyone can relate and find joy in these novels! WRONG.

First I tried Mirror Mirror. I think I got about one chapter in and thought the writing was just terrible. Then I saw the musical Wicked, which was incredible. I love the story of the Wizard of Oz, so I thought this book would be better than Mirror Mirror. WRONG again. I read about one chapter.

I just hate this guy's writing style. And I hate that he took such a unique approach to his novels and turned them into something I have no interest in reading!

I have heard rumblings about his books before...what do you guys think?

message 2: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandikal) I liked "Wicked" but I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy. It's definitely a fantasy novel. I hated "Son of a Witch". It was truly weird and awful. "Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister" had promise but was ultimately boring.

message 3: by Emma (last edited Sep 04, 2008 10:46PM) (new)

Emma The only book of his that I've read is Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister as my friend's mum gave it to me for Christmas a few years ago. I read it. I put it away. I never thought about it again.

As has been said, the book had a good premise but was unmemorable. And despite all the hype around Wicked, I was never tempted to pick it up because of my disappointment in his other novel. It wasn't horrible but it wasn't anything out of the ordinary.

As far as reworked fairy tales go, I much preferred Kissing the Witch, The Ordinary Princess, and Ella Enchanted.

message 4: by Graceann (new)

Graceann (silentsgirl) I had such high hopes for Wicked, and I *wanted* to like it. These premises - the tellings of well-known tales from another point of view, always fascinate me. It was sheer force of will that got me through the book (this was before I instituted my 50-page rule). I had another book of his on the shelf and I parted with it, unread.

message 5: by Lori (new)

Lori Anderson (lorianderson) Wicked -- liked it but couldn't read it a second time.

Son of a Witch -- very nearly didn't finish reading it, did a LOT of skimming. Bleh.

message 6: by Tom (new)

Tom I liked WICKED more after seeing the musical, which tacks on an unforgiveable happy ending that I'm sure is causing L. Frank Baum to roll in his grave after every performance.

But Mr. Maguire's writing leaves a bit to be desired. I wish that Angela Carter, a truly magical writer, had had the idea.

message 7: by Emily (new)

Emily (emily_penrod) I agree. I had high hopes for this book based on the premise, and was really let down. The thing that bugged me the most about it was that it wasn't "the story from another point of view", it was a totally different story! It had a similar cast of characters, but many of the plot points negate the original story. The could not coexist.

And the lofty tag line, (paraphrasing) that this book explores the true nature of evil? Er... not really.

And, Emma, I had forgotten about THE ORDINARY PRINCESS! I used to love that book!

message 8: by Tom (new)

Tom From what I remember, the novel gets the facts about Oz more correctly than the musical. I can see WICKED the novel fitting in with the original story, which the musical does not. The musical takes some significant liberties, most especially with the origins of the Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion.

Does the novel play similar games?

message 9: by Sariah (new)

Sariah | 6 comments Tom, the Tin Woodman's origins in the novel Wicked are very close to Baum's original description. The Cowardly Lion's origins in Wicked are only hinted at (i.e. he was experimented on as a cub then escaped into the wild).

I liked Wicked the novel. But hated Mirror, Mirror and disliked Lost. I didn't like Son of a Witch the first time I read it...but when I read it a second time I found things to like about it.

message 10: by Erica (last edited Sep 05, 2008 07:41PM) (new)

Erica | 66 comments My friend hated Son of a Witch so much that she's re-reading Wicked. I didn't quite follow her logic.

I love Maguire's brilliant moments and intelligence (Lucretia Borgia is Snow White's evil step-mother! How fabulous is that?). But overall, I find the books ponderous and suffocating and painful, full of gritty sufferings and miseries every step of the way. You have to plow through pages peering for a plot thread. Perhaps a writing teacher in school traumatized him with "Not enough detail! Doesn't seem real. Make me feel it!"

message 11: by Gail (new)

Gail I liked Wicked very much, although I thought there was an awful lot of political undercurrent in the book. I have the Cinderella one, but have way too many other reading commitments to deal with it now.

I must find time to go back and read the original Oz. I read it to my daughter when she was four and have absolutely no memory of it. The fact that we were moving to Florida and I was reading it to her in the car, trying to keep her amused on some looooooooooooooooong days may have something to do with that. Anyway, I'm going to scout out a copy and try it out...when conditions permit.

message 12: by Erica (new)

Erica | 66 comments Gail, in addition to the first one, I really liked The Marvelous Road to Oz, and Ozma of Oz. Oz trivia: in the first round of publications, the slippers were silver.

message 13: by Emily (new)

Emily (emily_penrod) It has been a while since I read the novel, so I am having a hard time thinking of specific examples of plot conflicts between Wicked and The Wizard of Oz. I just remember thinking several times that they nullify each other. One example would be when the house first lands in Oz and kills the Witch of the East. In Baum's tale Glinda and the Witch of the West are enemies. ("Only bad witches are ugly" and "She is even worse than her sister!") and in Maguire's they are actually friends, or at least friendly. Oh, and in Baum's tale the Witch of the West shows up at this point and threatens Dorothy, but in Maguire's she doesn't even know about Dorothy until later. I haven't seen the musical to be able to make a third comparison.

Er... I just realized, that I have been making references to The Wizard of Oz, the movie!!! I haven't read the actual book! SO, perhaps it is the movie that is not faithful to the book, and Wicked is closer in plot line than I have given it credit for.

message 14: by Gail (new)

Gail Well, I know that there are many discrepancies, er, I mean differneces between the book and the movie. Having watched the movie no less than 125 times (again with my daughter...she's been my window onto many a foreign but delightful world), and having listened to the old album at. least. one. million. times, I pretty much have that end of the storyline completely memorized. But now I'm finding that I'd like to go back to Baum and see just how good he was...and I've heard he's terrific.
Erica, thanks for the tips on the further two books. I'll look them up.

message 15: by Holly (new)

Holly | 40 comments The discrepancies in "Wicked" are intentional. He's making a comment about how history is reported by the victors so of course "Wizard of Oz" will be far off from the "truth".

I actually enjoyed this book a lot, but I'll admit it wasn't as good in the second reading.

Mirror, Mirror was awful but I did enjoy Confessions...

message 16: by Sariah (new)

Sariah | 6 comments The movie The Wizard of Oz (with Judy Garland) has many differences from the book The Wizard of Oz by Baum. Maguire is writing the Witch's history based on the Baum books and not the movie.

Anyone interested in Baum's Oz should read the Annotated Wizard of OZ, a reprint of the original (with all the original drawings) but with footnotes elaborating on the history of the Wizard of OZ. It points out that even Baum himself changed his OZ history and the backstory of characters over time.

message 17: by Andrew (last edited Sep 23, 2008 04:48PM) (new)

Andrew (sir_reads_a_lot) | 11 comments I read the book after I saw the musical, so I thought the book would be more like the musical....was I wrong. Not only was it writtne terribly, but it was gross and disturbing at parts, and I felt like vomitting, and I decided, not to read any more Gregory Maguires books.

message 18: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Rosenberger (sarahatothek) To me, it seems like Maguire doesn't understand subtlety. When I read Wicked, it felt like he was beating me upside the head over and over trying to make his point and I finally gave up on it because I was so annoyed.

message 19: by Laura (new)

Laura | 29 comments Erica, in all publications of the Baum books, those slippers are silver (ruby was better in Technicolor). I'm firmly of the belief that everyone should read the Oz series, not just the first one.

But Wicked? Good idea, poorly carried out. Son of a Witch was totally unnecessary. As for the rest, Lost was the only one I didn't really wonder why I was reading.

message 20: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (benmansmama) | 3 comments I just assumed everyone loved these books LOL I personally did. I found Wicked and Son of a Witch to be great books. I couldn't put either of them down. I am so excited about Lion of a Man next :) Different strokes, different folks, right!!

message 21: by Kate (new)

Kate (katiebobus) | 136 comments Mod

I'm so glad to hear of someone else liking Wicked! I was surprised by what a big target it is in this group.I thought it was deliciously written and suspenseful and imaginative. I liked Ugly Stepsister as well. I had been avoiding reading SoaW and LoM (though I bought both of them as soon as they came out) bc of the bad press on Mirror, Mirror and Lost, but since you liked SoaW I am putting it back on my short to-read list! Thanks for posting!

message 22: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (benmansmama) | 3 comments Kate~ To each their own, but I wouldn't put off Son of a Witch any longer!!!! I really enjoyed it. For me it was a quicker, lighter read than Wicked. This could maybe just be because I was already familiar with the people places, Maguire's language, etc. I finished it in maybe 3 days, which is huge for me since I have a 2 yr old and FT college LOL The day I finished it I could hardly wait to start Lion of a Man. I have massive term papers due right now and I knew if I started another Maguire book, schoolwork would fall by the wayside LOL I plan to get into LoaM as soon as I'm down with midterms (what a great motivator!!)
Enjoy :)

message 23: by Kate (new)

Kate (katiebobus) | 136 comments Mod
Jessica - Thanks! I'll let you know when I've read SoaW. Good luck with your term papers!

message 24: by Diane (new)

Diane  (dianedj) hi Kate-I read Wicked (and loved it) have not read Son of A Witch. I saw Lion Among Men and really want to buy it for the trilogy and want to it more than I want to read Son. Do I need to read Son before reading Lion Among Men? From your comment, it sound like no. looking forward to your reply.

message 25: by Diane (new)

Diane  (dianedj) Hi Kate - Thanks for your reply on Lion Among Men. I'm glad to hear it, because I'm more interested to read this one than SoaW. It seems as though your disappointment with it was more because you expected a continuation, not necessarily in the book itself. I'll post back once I get to it. Thanks again!

message 26: by Chandani (new)


message 27: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandikal) I just read A Lion Among Men: Volume Three in the Wicked Years. I loathed Son of a Witch: A Novel. I was merely disinterested in "A Lion Among Men". I wouldn't have read it if I hadn't received it as a Christmas gift.

message 28: by Christen (new)

Christen | 61 comments I read both Wicked and Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister and just couldn't enjoy either one of them. I too was drawn in by the novel (forgive the pun) idea of the fairy tales told from the point of view of the "bad guy". Alas, Maguire's writing is so HEAVY and dark that I just felt sleepy picking up his books. I found myself skipping/skimming/scamming more and more and more until I got to the end. At which point I was glad I had skipped/skimmed/scammed because the end did not redeem the rest of the book.

Sorry, Greg-o, but I just don't dig your writing style. And I don't really like or care about your characters. The End.

message 29: by Erica (new)

Erica | 66 comments Dear Sandi, you are a good frined/relative! I wish that people would always read books received as a gift. Maybe someday we will be able to give the time needed along with the book (now that would be a present!).

message 30: by Leslie (new)

Leslie (leslie20) I read both Confessions and Lost. Confessions was . . . okay. Characters from a different perspective sounds like a good idea, and yet when these book constantly end in a wimper, I don't know why I bother.

Lost: what was that about? I read it, and I couldn't tell you. Somehow, Dickens was alluded to. And some lady was being haunted by the "ghosts from her past" while her brother ends up missing, but oh, wait, he's just fine. This book was written in a state of half-consciousness.

Now I'm reading Wicked, because I must hate myself. In truth, it was lying around, and I needed something new to read. Vaguely interesting, but tiresome! Awfully pretentious for a book that pointlessly fits in beastiality sex clubs.

message 31: by Heidi (new)

Heidi (heidithebee) I read Wicked and Confessions of and Ugly Stepsister when I was in jr. high. I remember really enjoying both. Once Wicked The Musical came out (which I love) I decided to reread Wicked and just couldn't make it through. I'm not sure what changed in the four years between readings, but I just didn't enjoy it. Since then I've been really hesitant to read or reread anything by Maguire.

I think the pacing of the book is what got to me. I love the idea of the stories, I'm a complete sucker for fractured fairy tales, but there were points where I just wanted him to get to the point and move on. I'm always sad when books don't live up to my memories. Oh well, plenty of fish in the sea and all of that.

message 32: by Melisande (new)

Melisande (melisandes) I am a fan of his but I can tell you that Mercedes Lackey also does retelling of fairy tales. Not quite the same as him. I love that he does it from the bad guys point of view. She just completely rewrites old favorites. If you are looking for that kind of thing check out her book The Serpent's Shadow. Its one of my faves.

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