I wouldn’t be in this mess if it weren’t for Jim my cubicle neighbor.
Last week Jim mentioned that he heard about a book that told the story of the Wizard of Oz through the Wicked Witch of the West’s perspective. I commented that I had heard about it as well, possibly when it first came out a couple of years ago, and placed it in my Amazon.com Wishlist. He though it sounded interesting and wondered if he could get a sneak peek at the book to see if it was interesting or not.
About a month ago Amazon released a Kindle for PC application that allowed you to partake in the ebook experience, I had downloaded it and have tried a few free books with it. I’m not sold, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” thing maybe. But I told Jim that I’d check to see if there was a preview of the book available.
There was was, and boy was I wrong about when I heard of it, according to the date on my wish list I added it on November 5, 2003, the book was published eight years before that, in 1995. So while staring at the button marked Send Sample Now I clicked on the one marked Buy now with 1-Click. Oooops. I just spent $7.99 for the whole ebook. So I’m going to read the book whether I like it or not.
The prologue read interestingly, but then we jump back to the birth of Elphaba Thropp and thing get a little wonky. I’m about a quarter of the way through and I’m starting get a feel for the time and place and even start to see some likeableness in the future Wicked Witch of the West.
On the Yellow Brick Road
A mile above Oz. the Witch balanced on the wind’s forward edge, as if she were a green fleck of the land itself, flung up and sent wheeling away by the turbulent air. White and purple summer thunderheads mounded around her. Below, the Yellow Brick Road looped back on itself, like a relaxed noose. Though winter storms and the crowbars of agitators had torn up the road, still it led, relentlessly, to the Emerald City. The Witch could see the companions trudging along, maneuvering around the buckled sections, skirting trenches, skipping when the way was clear. They seemed oblivious of their fate. But it was not up to the Witch to enlighten them.
She used the broom as a sort of balustrade, stepping down from the sky like one of her flying monkeys. She finished up on the topmost bough of a black willow tree. Beneath, hidden by the fronds, her prey had paused to take their rest. The Witch tucked her broom under her arm. Crablike and quiet, she scuttled down a little at a time, until she was a mere twenty feet above them. Wind moved the dangling tendrils of the tree. The Witch stared and listened.
There were four of them. She could see a huge Cat of some sorta Lion, was it?and a shiny woodman. The Tin Woodman was picking nits out of the Lion’s mane, and the Lion was muttering and squirming from the aggravation. An animated Scarecrow lolled nearby, blowing dandelion heads into the wind. The girl was out of sight behind shifting curtains of the willow.
“Of course, to hear them tell it, it is the surviving sister who is the crazy one,” said the Lion. “What a Witch. Psychologically warped; possessed by demons. Insane. Not a pretty picture.”
“She was castrated at birth,” replied the Tin Woodman calmly. “She was born hermaphroditic, or maybe entirely male.”
“Oh you, you see castration everywhere you look,” said the Lion.
“I’m only repeating what folks say,” said the Tin Woodman.
“Everyone is entitled to an opinion,” said the Lion airily. “She was deprived of a mother’s love, is how I’ve heard it. She was an abused child. She was addicted to medicine for her skin condition.”
“She has been unlucky in love,” said the Tin Woodman, “Like the rest of us.” The Tin Woodman paused and placed his hand on the center of his chest, as if in grief.
“She’s a woman who prefers the company of other women,” said the Scarecrow, sitting up.
She’s the spurned lover of a married man.”
“She is a married man.”
Started up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 501