Friday, November 25, 2011

Book Review - L. Frank Baum's The Road to Oz

The Road to Oz (Oz Book 5) by L. Frank Baum
Published by: Books of Wonder
Publication Date: 1909
Format: Hardcover, 267 Pages
Rating: ★★
To Buy

One day Dorothy is sitting with Toto on her farm in Kansas, when a Shaggy Man appears and asks the way to Butterfield. Dorothy agrees to help, despite the fact he is very unkempt and shaggy. The Shaggy Man insists that she is helping him due to the fact he has the "Love Magnet" and all who meet him must therefore love him and do his bidding. Yet on the way to the road to Butterfield a strange thing happens, where once there was one road there are now many. Dorothy knows the signs of the start of adventure, she has been on four previous ones. She informs the Shaggy Man that they must just go along for the ride, because an adventure they must have.

Along the way they pick up several travelling companions, Button-Bright, the boy who doesn't know where he's from, and Polychrome, the daughter of the rainbow, who accidentally fell off. They also meet some odd people as well. The Fox-King is so certain that foxes are superior, he turns Button-Bright into a fox, while the Donkey king is so convinced donkeys are superior, he turns the Shaggy Man into a man with the head of a Donkey. They also meet the Musicker, the man who makes music which each breath and annoys them all beyond measure. They also encounter an entire race of people who purposefully live their lives invisible to avoid the danger of the Scoodlers and being eaten by them. Luckily they finally reach the border of the great desert that Oz is bounded by. Because of course all fairy lands lead to Oz. With the help of Johnny Dooit, they cross the vast desert, return to themselves via a pond of truth and make it in time for Ozma's birthday party in the Emerald City. It was Ozma after all who started Dorothy on the road to yet another journey.

This is easily the book of Oz I dislike the most. I mean, all Oz has something to offer, being Oz... but here there is nothing. First, let's look at the way the book is bound. It is gimmickly printed on many different colored paper stocks, changing to green once we're in Oz. Also it references their journey, each task or event being a different color and the fact that the rainbow's daughter is their dew drinking travelling companion. Blurg is what I say. It seems it was a gimmick that was thought up and then the book was written around it.

Yet, the gimmickry that is used to package the book, that of which I'm sure that humbug of a wizard would approve, isn't my main problem. My main problem isn't even the fact that we have yet another book that ends in a party. Because parties ending books can be fun, the party just can't be the purpose of the book, which it is here. Also, I don't take undue measures to point out how creepy the "Love Magnet" is... really it's just a way to take away free will, and the fact it's used on a child... hmmm and ewwww and no. My main problem is Dorothy's superiority complex. I know I have mentioned before how annoying all the characters going on about how wonderful they are is, but here it's not just self contained. It's not just one person bragging, it's Dorothy actually being mean to the Shaggy Man. She's insulting to almost everyone she comes across and it really made me want to slap her. Just because she's been on all these adventures and is the especial friend of Ozma doesn't mean everyone else is dirt. Her "friends" got turned into a fox and a donkey because they where a little too sure of their awesomeness. I wish somehow Dorothy could be smacked down a peg. I think I realize every time I read these books that more and more the world needed Gregory Maguire to smack some sense into Oz and show what a ruby slippered tyrant that little Dorothy was.


Newer Post Older Post Home