Lost – Gregory Maguire

Lost book coverGregory Maguire went out on a limb with this story, creating a completely original character for the focus of the story. It is centered around an American writer, Winifred Rudge, who makes her way to London to visit a distant cousin. After publishing a best-selling story, she is ready to begin her next novel; a story about a woman who is haunted by the spirit of Jack the Ripper.

Her cousin, John Comestor,  has disappeared in thin air, his apartment in the middle of being renovated. His girlfriend proves useless in the search for John, and the downstairs neighbor is not much more of a help. The apartment is haunted by someone who resembles Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge himself. There are many other quick appearances of characters of literary history.

There are also subplots going on that I did not find necessary to the story. Instead of adding to it, they seemed to make it more difficult to enjoy.

I liked this story well enough, but it was not one of my favorites by Mr. Maguire. I have read all of his stories but one, and I find that they tend to be hit-or-miss for me. This could have been well beyond “good”, but I guess it’s like they say, “You can’t win them all!”

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister – Gregory Maguire

This is not your mother’s fairy tale! Gregory Maguire has created quite the niche for himself, reconstructing fairy tales we have heard our whole lives, giving us the backstory, and twisting it up a bit.

What really happened with Cinderella, her step-sisters, and her step-mother? It is all right here.

This story is told from the viewpoint of Iris, who is burdened with taking care of the disabled Ruth as well as keeping peace in the family. (There is even a twist there, but no spoilers from me!)Confessions of an ugly stepsister cover

Clara is beautiful. Her step-sisters Ruth and Iris do not fail to notice this. Her own mother had kept Clara locked away from the world before she died. Things would not change very much for her with her new family.

Iris wants nothing more than to paint, and be with her tutor’s apprentice.

There are many subplots, and lots of twists and turns. Everyone has an agenda, telling themselves they only want the best for themselves and their families.

This is not a complicated read, with too much going on that you cannot follow the many plots going on. If you think you know what really happened to Cinderella, I would like to suggest you open this book up and read about it from a different perspective. It is certainly worth the time and effort. You will not be disappointed.

Finally Finished!

What-the-Dickens continued on being his troublesome, question asking self. By sheer luck, he manages to encounter another Skibberee, Pepper by name; fireball tooth-fairy on a mission with no time to deal with What-the-Dickens. But deal she does. She has to retrieve a tooth, leave the money, and get back to command center before sun-up. If she fails, she will not become an Agent of Change (AKA a Tooth Fairy).

She gets back at sun-up, with What-the-Dickens in tow. No one is happy to see this rogue Skibberee, so Pepper has one more chance to complete her mission, on time, with instructions to leave What-the-Dickens somewhere out there. He has been instructed to never come back.

With task at hand, Pepper and What-the-Dickens go to their location, the home of none other than Gage, then a 12 year old boy, lonely and bored with parents who had no time for him. Oh. Yeah. Gage is also the owner of McCavity. McCavity gets ahold of Pepper’s wing, and damages her enough that she is captured by Gage. She tells What-the-Dickens to finish her task, so at least her name will be remembered after her death.

Yep. You’re thinking what I was thinking, huh? “How does “What-the-Dickens” mess this up? But that’s just it. He doesn’t. Not this time. It seems he really is useful, and has his own talent; he can communicate with animals, and no other Skibberee can do that.

He completes the mission for Pepper, and returns to the command stump where all the skibberee in that district live. He turns over the teeth, and tells them about Pepper’s fate.

No one seems to care. It is what it is. But What-the-Dickens cares. And when Gage returns her to the stump, What-the-Dickens does everything he can to revive her. He succeeds, and announces that he and Pepper are leaving forever; they can live out in the world on their own.

The adult Gage will not tell his cousins if the story is true or if it isn’t, but he gives the challenge to Dinah to determine how she thinks their story would continue. And ideas abound in her mind of how What-the-Dickens and Pepper would have adventures out in the world.

What do you think they are up to?

this was a great story, not exceptionally long to read, and definitely holds your interest. I certainly wish Mr. Maguire would twist up some other fables and fairy tales, to see what he comes up with next!

Remember That Story About The Tooth Fairy?

You know, “What-the-Dickens”? That guy. Yep. I’m still reading it. Except I haven’t picked it up in a week. Since about the time my 1st college class started for my MBA. So, I don’t know about you, but I find this completely unacceptable. So I will find a way to manage my time to include my recreational reading and blogging, and tell you how this story ends. Patience is a virtue, right?

 

and that right there is the truth!
and that right there is the truth!

More to come, sooner rather than later (fingers crossed)!

He’s In Trouble Now !

So our little friend What-the-Dickens is finding himself in a messy situation. He is hell bent on finding McCavity, a huge white cat that tried to eat him. It’s the first living thing he saw, and he is bound and determined to find this McCavity, give her a gift, and ask to be her pet.

Sounds reasonable to me.

So on his journey, he manages to be adopted by an out-of-tune rust-throated grisset (a bird of some sort). She snatches him from the ground, but when her babies won’t eat him (they prefer worms of course) she plops him in her nest with the others and flies off to find food for all of them. As timing would have it, What-the-Dickens peeks over the edge of the nest and sees McCavity walking past the tree. She sees her lost dinner, and up the tree she goes. The birds fly the nest, and What-the-Dickens falls out, discovering his webbing helps slow him down from a fall. Once again, he has lost sight of McCavity, and he’s off again, searching for this cat so he can be her pet.

At what is the start of his career as the Tooth Fairy, What-the-Dickens passes the zoo, and an enormous lion with a toothache, knowing it must be a relative of his beautiful McCavity. Not knowing the lion is drugged up on morphine for his surgery the next day to remove the tooth, What-the-Dickens tries to find out if he knows where McCavity might be, ends up in his mouth, and discovers the infected tooth. Surely this huge cat will help him on his way if he removes this tooth, right?

So remove it he does, lucky to not be eaten, and getting no further help, heads off with the tooth as a present for his future owner, and the start of a career under his belt.

What’s up next for What-the-Dickens? Hard to say, but surely there is more trouble heading in his direction!

What-The-Dickens: AKA The Tooth Fairy

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Are You Familiar With Gregory Maguire? Have you read Wicked? If you have, then you’ve read Gregory Maguire. Being a huge Wizard of Oz fan, I have of course enjoyed all of the books in the Wicked Series (Except the last one, I haven’t read that yet). Gregory Maguire has a way of taking common fairy tales that we are all familiar with, or other stories we think we know, and giving them his own unique twist; taking you on a journey you never expected.

Do you like Cinderella? You want to read “Confessions of an Ugly Step-Sister”.

How about Snow White? Then you would love “Mirror, Mirror”. 

“What-the-Dickens” is a story about the tooth-fairy. It revolves around Dinah Ormsby, her older brother Zeke, their 2 year old sister Rebecca Ruth, and their just showed up on their doorstep distant cousin Gage. There isn’t a definite time frame, or year that this book seems to be set in. The back story on the family is the parents disappeared, Gage shows up. On page 5 we read that “the Ormsby’s were trying the experiment of living by gospel standards, and they hoped to be surer of their faith tomorrow than they’d been yesterday”. This is also a family who lives with no cable television, internet service, or visits to the mall.

This isn’t your run-of-the-mill tooth-fairy either. He is what would be called a Skibbereen, or Skibberee. “His arm webs were filmy, nearly transparent, and his skin was suggestible, like water. I suppose his circulation worked on a capillary system; his coloring could shift from pale to dark and many shades in between” (pg. 20). He sounds kind of like a dragon fly to me.

So are you interested? Good. Because I have just started this book, and “What-the-Dickens” (yes, that is his name) seems like he has a lot of trouble coming his way. I can’t wait to share it with you!