Bad Book, Bad Book, Watcha Gonna Do . . . ?

11 Nov

Good grief! Twice in one year.

You may remember that a few months back I had to put down a novel because it was so . . . bad. That was “The Darwin Conspiracy” by John Darnton.

Recently, I tried reading “Lost” by Gregory Maguire. Maguire has authored several popular and well-reviewed books, such as “Wicked,” “Son of a Witch,” and “A Lion Among Men.” “Wicked” was even called a “beloved classic.” So when I saw “Lost” at a charity book sale for a buck, I figured it was a sure thing.


Purported to be a ghost-story, it starts out with a main character whose name is as dull as the plot. Winifred Rudge. What image does that call up in your mind? Don’t worry about being accurate because Maguire gives no description of her to go on until almost midway through. Makes sense to me.

After trying to infiltrate some kind of adoption agency for a book she’s researching, she flies off to England to stay with her cousin and work on said book. I think. It’s not really clear. And Winnie isn’t really sure about what she’s doing, either.

So, she gets to England only to discover that her cousin is missing and his apartment is being renovated by two very strange Englishmen. Then there are strange sounds coming from behind some of the walls and the neighbors aren’t very helpful. Or likable. The book goes on for some 330 pages or so. I bailed at about 200 pages. Why did I go that far? Ah, THERE’S the mystery! Especially with such great writing as this: ” the sun came out like a sissy on the playground once the bully’s gone home for lunch.”

Alrighty then!

In one of the publicity blurbs, Peter S. Beagle raves that “‘Lost’ seems to me to be his (Maguire’s) best novel yet.” What am I missing here? Has anyone out there read any of Maguire’s other works? “Wicked” or “Son of a Witch” maybe? Please help me if you can.


Posted by on November 11, 2012 in Book Review


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7 responses to “Bad Book, Bad Book, Watcha Gonna Do . . . ?

  1. jubilare

    November 13, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    I started Wicked and didn’t get very far. I’ve considered trying again, but there are so many other things I want to read.

    “Winifred” makes me think of St. Winifred, though, which would probably make the character in Lost more disappointing to me.

    • Rob

      November 14, 2012 at 12:11 am

      What I don’t understand is how these books get such great reviews. I kept plowing ahead with “Lost” hoping something would happen that would catch my fancy, but that never happened. And the writing was so plain. No sparkle.

      So who was this St. Winifred? You’ve already aroused my curiosity more than Maguire did.

      As always, glad to see your comments!

      • jubilare

        November 14, 2012 at 12:24 am

        That is one of the eternal questions! I can understand that what strikes a chord with one person may fail to do so with another, but that only accounts for so much. Life and Literature, both mysteries. 😉

        St. Winifred is a medieval Welsh saint. What could be better?
        The little I do know of her story is intriguing and romantic (in the old sense of the word). I didn’t realize this until I looked her up to remind myself, but her feast day just passed! November 3rd!

  2. Mary

    November 13, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    I read Mirror, Mirror once which is a retelling of Snow White. It was interesting but not great. This makes me nervous to try his other works.

    • Rob

      November 14, 2012 at 12:24 am

      Was “Mirror, Mirror: one of Maguire’s books? If it was, it makes ME nervous to try some of his other stuff too! Maybe I’ll just pass, considering how many other great books are out there.

      I’m currently reading Stephen R. Lawhead’s “Avalon” in which King Arthur returns to modern-day England to reclaim the throne. So far, so good.

      Thanks for your feedback, Mary!

      • Mary

        November 14, 2012 at 2:16 pm

        Yes, but no relation to the recent movie if that’s what you’re worried about!

        I haven’t read any Stephen Lawhead yet although his Robin Hood trilogy has been on my to-read list for quite some time. I’ll have to check out Avalon- I’m a sucker for King Arthur stories.

  3. Rob

    November 14, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    @jubilare: Thanks for the link. I’ll check it out.

    @Mary: Before reading Avalon, read Lawhead’s Pendragon Cycle. You’ll like it. I’ve been wanting to read his Robin Hood series too.


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