1900, 259 pages
I somehow escaped my childhood without ever having read The Wizard of Oz, despite the fact that it was one of my favorite movies growing up, so when I saw it on the Reading List for the Gilmore Girls Reading Challenge I decided it was finally time for me to pick it up.
I accidentally requested the annotated version from the library: a monster of a book with a 100+ page introduction, which I'm ashamed to say I skipped, along with most of the annotations... I did find some of the notes that were written alongside the text interesting, but I didn't want to be distracted from the story, especially since it was my first time reading it. I did enjoy the fact that the annotated version had the original illustrations from the book, but otherwise the massive annotations were wasted on me. Then again, I almost always skip over introductions/notes/etc when I'm reading.
One thing that I loved that I'm not sure comes across as well in the movie (it's been a while since I last watched the movie, so I can't say for sure), is that each of the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion actually exemplifies those traits (brains, heart, and courage, respectively) that they feel that they lack. Maybe it's really obvious and I'm silly for pointing it out, but I found passages like the following heartwarming:
[...] He walked very carefully, with his eyes on the road, and when he saw a tiny ant toiling by he would step over it, so as not to harm it. The Tin Woodman knew very well he had no heart, and therefore he took great care never to be cruel or unkind to anything.This is completely irrelevant, but I cracked up when I read the following quote...
"You people with hearts," he said, "have something to guide you, and need never do wrong; but I have no heart, and so I must be very careful. When Oz gives me a heart of course I needn't mind so much." (Chapter 6)
Now the Wicked Witch of the West had but one eye, yet that was as powerful as a telescope, and could see everywhere. (Chapter 12)...the first thing I thought of upon reading that was Sauron in Lord of the Rings, and his "eye"! Ack, I feel silly. Another interesting factoid: did you know that the "ruby" slippers were silver in the book - they changed them to ruby for the movie.
Back to the review, one thing I kept thinking while I was reading is whether I would have liked it if I'd read it as a child. I think I would have enjoyed it if I'd read it when I was young, but I'm curious to hear if anyone read this growing up, and what their impressions were. Here's one last quote, my favorite in the entire book:
The Scarecrow listened carefully, and said,
"I cannot understand why you should wish to leave this beautiful country and go back to the dry, gray, place you call Kansas."
"That is because you have no brains," answered the girl. "No matter how dreary and gray our homes are, we people of flesh and blood would rather live there than any other country, be it ever so beautiful. There is no place like home." (Chapter 4)