Saturday, October 6, 2007

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

This is my fiftieth book. I own each and every one of you, and you are far beneath me in all aspects, including aesthetic taste, intellectual aptitude, and general attractiveness and good hygiene. Next to me you are all hideous, vapid fools.

In other news, I was less than impressed with Wizard of Oz. I think much of this has to do with how familiar I was with the plot already from the MGM film. If Baum's novel has anything to boast about, it's the book's concept and plot, certainly not its style or character development. But even still, I didn't grow up thinking much of The Wizard of Oz as a kid, so maybe there's just not much to be taken with. To me, the fanciful lands and peoples seem like little more than a poor man's Alice in Wonderland, which tries to reproduce that sense of wonder but lacks much of the humor and absurdism that made Wonderland so successful. Also, it took me about 45 minutes to read all the way through. I did it at lunch.

On the other hand, I understand that one of the reasons people are so fond of the Oz books is that there are so many of them: 40 or 41 in the "canon," and scores of other non-canonical Oz books. So certainly when you look at the breadth of the Oz universe it seems fairly impressive, but then again, it doesn't quite seem to all add up to anything the way that Tolkien's legendarium does.

Of all the children's books we've read so far for my class, it seems that this is the one most explicitly written for children. Despite modern (and probably false) claims that it is an allegory for the contemporary politics of the turn of the century, Oz just doesn't have the subversive charm or secondary level of appreciation that makes it rewarding for an adult reader.

4 comments:

Nihil Novum said...

50 books.

I'm sorry that you have no life, and also that you're incapable of reading a book longer than 300 pages. I will be praying for you.

Congratulations.

Christopher said...

I had to read this for a class, you asshole.

Carlton said...

Congrats on 50.

Carlton said...

Wizard of Oz...more like Wizard of Odd. Am I right?!