WHAT-THE-DICKENS: THE STORY OF A ROGUE TOOTH FAIRY by Gregory Maguire

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The storm outside is terrifying.  Everyone else in the town has been evacuated.  Looters have already taken any food that was left in stores or houses.  But Dinah, Zeke, and baby Rebecca Ruth aren’t leaving home—not when there is a chance their parents might still be alive and able to get back.  Their cousin Gage, the designated babysitter, attempts to calm their nerves by telling them a story about an orphan “skiberee” fairy named What-the-Dickens, struggling to find friendship and identity in a confusing world.

It is rare that I encounter a book that I would not recommend to anyone.  But in this case, I am honestly not sure who would enjoy this book.  The framing story of Dinah and her siblings is intriguing, but is never really developed.  And the fantasy story within is very slow-paced.  It was a real struggle to get through.  I’ve read many books that I haven’t enjoyed personally but that I would recommend to people who like similar.  But unfortunately, I just don’t think this book is interesting/exciting/thought-provoking enough to be engaging.

So no recommendation from me on this one.  But to cut Gregory Maguire a little slack, if you are an adult who likes thought-provoking fantasy and fractured fairytales, I would highly recommend two of his adult novels: Lost and Wicked: the Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the WestWicked is more action-heavy (some graphic sex/violence to be aware of), a twist on the Wizard of Oz.  Lost is more pensive, exploring themes from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol through a protagonist who is struggling to “find herself.”

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