What-the-Dickens, Gregory Maguire

Book 43

In 2007, “the Wicked guy” went back to his roots in children’s literature and published What-the-Dickens¬: The Story of a Rogue Tooth Fairy. I say “published” rather than “wrote” because I am not convinced he didn’t have it sitting on a shelf somewhere waiting for a rainy day. In the author’s bio, Maguire says:

“I gave a writing assignment to some middle-school kids. I told them to write about the meeting between an impossible creature and an ordinary citizen. I did the assignment myself, and I came up with an ancient bedridden grandmother mistaking a lost tooth fairy for the Angel of Death. Eventually, the story evolved…”

This is a story within a story that has three kids stranded with a cousin in what seemed to me to be post-apocalyptic setting. I guess it was just a hurricane, but this was a seriously isolated group. Anyway.

What-the-Dickens is actually the fairy’s name. He was lost or abandoned at birth and stumbles into another fairy, who was a member of some colony or another of fairies. The two worlds – the real one and the fairy one – are only fleshed out from a very narrow perspective, which isn’t terrible, but isn’t exactly Harry Potter. And just as our world view is starting to expand, both the “real” world and the fairy world, the book is over.

It was another “what the heck happens next?” book. Sometimes, that means a writer has a series on his hands. In this case, I felt like I hung in with this until the end and there was no payoff. Beh.

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