What-the-Dickens: The Story of a Rogue Tooth Fairy by Gregory Maguire

Rating: 2.5 of 5

“As a terrible storm rages, ten-year-old Dinah and her brother and sister listen to their cousin Gage’s tale of a newly-hatched, orphaned, skibberee, or tooth fairy, called What-the-Dickens, who hopes to find a home among the skibbereen tribe, if only he can stay out of trouble.” (source: LOC summary)

How did I end up here, again? Another fantastic premise; another letdown. At this point, I only have myself to blame.

The possibility of wishing strengthens the imagination to consider, at times, that things could improve. Could be different. They could. They might.

Maguire’s stories pose, quite possibly, the greatest conundrum in my (reading) life. I first read Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister at university in 2007. It was good, not great, but it kept my interest. Then a couple years later, I read Wicked. My response was muddled: the premise was fantastic; the characters interesting; however, I just felt meh about the story overall.

At that point I asked myself: Do I keep reading Maguire or are his books just not for me?

Fast forward a few years, I now own a few used copies of his books, bought here and there, just in case. I’m not in a mad rush to read them, though.

Fast forward a few more years to 2016, I read Mirror Mirror. Sigh.

So there I am, last night, browsing my fantasy/ fairy tale/ folklore shelf, looking for something to read (to help support the delusion goal of reducing the number of owned-to-reads quicker than I’m reading to-reads not owned), when I spot What-the-Dickens. Hmm, I think, could THIS be the one?

screenshot spongebob 5 hours later

Underwhelmed, yet again.

I think I might be wishing I’ll find “the one” – the book by Maguire that will WOW! me and finally show me: 1) why I keep reading Maguire’s books; and, 2) what all the fuss is about. I mean, other readers love his stories whereas, when I read them, I’m like contemplating whether or not laundry, or dusting, or scheduling my annual pap smear, might be more worthwhile.

My biggest dilemma at this point is that I own Son of a Witch, A Lion Among Men and Lost. Do I read them anyway despite the odds not being in my favor? I’ve read four of Maguire’s books so far and all but one has felt like walking uphill, in snow, against strong winds. Or, do I throw in the towel and forfeit the cash paid for books I never read?

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(Review posted on LibraryThing and Goodreads.)

Disclaimer: I don’t normally post about books that I don’t like. Please know, I wrote the above with zero disrespect to the author or the readers who love his work. I, in no way, intend to come across like a heckler or a Debbie Downer. This is 100% my personal (subjective) experience thus far.

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