Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Out of Oz - Gregory Maguire

I finally finished reading this book. It took me about 2 months to read, which for me is a long time, but in my opinion, it was worth it.


If you want a summary of the book, click here. Don't read too much if you don't want all the information, because I ruined a part of the end for myself by scrolling down too far. Just a word of caution. 

Now that the summary is settled, I can dive into my opinion of the book. 

Yes, this book was rather long. For a large portion of the book, I felt like I was reading the parts of the Lord of the Rings trilogy when Sam and Frodo are traveling. There is a lot of traveling that happens in the book. However, the traveling that happens works to shape the character of Rain, Elphaba's granddaughter. She becomes unattached to anyone by herself and her pet Tay. And she sort of withdraws into herself. And who wouldn't. With the way that she was raised, always moving, and rarely had anyone show her what to do, she had to figure things out for herself. And while I felt that she was really young for a lot of the things that she says and does, I think it fits in with the way she was raised. Although, sadly, if Rain was normal child in our world, she'd probably be labeled with autism or something along those lines. 

Rain is an interesting character, but you can see that she is a relative of Elphaba, aside from her green skin. It seems that in this world that Maguire borrowed from Baum, to be truly magical causes a lack of social skills and the ability to feel many emotions. If we remember how Elphie was in the first Wicked book, she was always withdrawn. In Elphie's case, she was sort of cast out by her parents and left to fend on her own. And she was always trying to live up to her younger siblings, and couldn't seem to do it. So because of those circumstances, she withdrew into herself. Rain on the other hand, had a complete lack of family to help her along at all while she was growing up. Because she was abandoned for safety reasons as a baby, she, too, had to learn how to fend for herself. And again, she withdrew into her own mind in order to keep herself sane. And of course, the ability to read and use the Grimmerie is an important mark of the similarities between the two. 

My favorite part of the entire book happened at the end, and it was only one line:

"Don't wish," said Rain, "don't start. Wishing only..." 

I stopped reading and looked around, at nothing, and was so happy. In my brain, I was cheering, "This is a line from the musical! It's from Not that Girl!" I was so excited that Maguire would drop this line into the book, that my opinion of the book shot way up. And in a strange way, it felt like closure for me. It brought together all four books and the musical into one place in my heart, and I was satisfied. I don't know why this had such a profound affect on me... it was probably because this is something I would not normally notice in a book. But I did this time!

I also loved the way it ended, with Rain basically flying off into the sunset. While I didn't give the title much thought throughout the book, once I closed the pages and took another look at the map on the back cover, I realized that the book is named for the last time we see Rain, flying out of Oz. And to where? We'll probably never know. Even though in the world of the story, there is most likely land somewhere beyond the sea, I had a feeling it was something like in the Lord of the Rings, when the elves, Frodo, Bilbo and Gandalf all head off to the Gray Havens. I thought that Rain was flying across the sea to something like that, where she might be reunited with Elphie and Glinda. I felt sad for Rain when she was traveling alone around Oz, losing touch with everyone she had known and perhaps felt a shred of affection for. But perhaps she became better friends with Dorothy than we know, and Dorothy's promise to go over seas for a vacation rather than come back to Oz really struck a chord with Rain. Because that is exactly what she does.