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36 Reviews
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4.0 out of 5 stars Quick delivery, ok printing quality
It's a paper-back novel, I know... Shouldn't be expecting perfection.
However I really wish the printing quality was better... There shouldn't be fluffs around each letter, should there?
Although, the book was delivered really soon. LIked this part!
It's a gift for some one else so I can't say anything the contents.
Published 15 months ago by momo

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3.0 out of 5 stars Great As a Novel, Not So Great for a Genre
I opened this book with a great anticipation of an amazing story, and closed it feeling slightly depressed, slightly mislead, and slightly jaded. I've come to love "spin off" novels about fairy tales and folk lore, and I have to admit this isn't the best I've read of the genre. I DO support its value as a great NOVEL, but if you're looking for a book that gives...
Published on Aug. 5 2003 by K. Lang


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4.0 out of 5 stars Quick delivery, ok printing quality, April 3 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Was (Paperback)
It's a paper-back novel, I know... Shouldn't be expecting perfection.
However I really wish the printing quality was better... There shouldn't be fluffs around each letter, should there?
Although, the book was delivered really soon. LIked this part!
It's a gift for some one else so I can't say anything the contents.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Epic Journey, Dec 19 2003
By 
Michael J. Armijo (Marina Del Rey, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Was (Paperback)
This book takes you back to a "what if" imaginative look at another side of THE WIZARD OF OZ &/or the Broadway Musical, WICKED. I was a little skeptical about this book. However, I had to read it as friends (Antonio Convit & Tim McGraw) gifted the book to me on my birthday: 5/26/2003). Then I was swept away during a flight from Los Angeles to Miami to Barbados as I completed the book. I really thought the author gave sound advice in terms of living life in a happier way. "Perhaps when you are a bit older, you will also learn to be wiser" is in fact a line in the book. I loved the surprise connections and heartfelt sad moments...I can't tell anymore because it could ruin a new readers journey. I highly recommend this one.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Great As a Novel, Not So Great for a Genre, Aug. 5 2003
By 
K. Lang (Texas United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Was (Paperback)
I opened this book with a great anticipation of an amazing story, and closed it feeling slightly depressed, slightly mislead, and slightly jaded. I've come to love "spin off" novels about fairy tales and folk lore, and I have to admit this isn't the best I've read of the genre. I DO support its value as a great NOVEL, but if you're looking for a book that gives you an alternate view of Oz, this wouldn't be the one I'd recommend. It has a very disturbing and very personal view of incest in it, so a reader should be prepared to take on a great many controversial issues in a very intense voice. Anyways, its a good book if you're just looking for something interesting to read and occupy your time.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Half Way Through, I Couldn't Put It Down, June 11 2003
This review is from: Was (Paperback)
Having long been a fan of the original book by Baum and the movie that inspired me to read the book, I was hugely impressed with Ryman's take on this classic.
Why did I like it?
--A narrative that doesn't follow conventional linear tale telling, but instead moves back and forth revealing glimpses of the characters' lives, only giving you the complete picture near the end.
--The richness of the language. Ryman can certainly weave a vision of locales and characters, even when those locations are the middle of a cyclone and the characters are suffering from dementia.
--I cared about what happened to everyone in the book. Even the abusers and the whiners.
--Ryman's ability to link together stories of vastly different people via a zillion Oz metaphors and in-jokes. Especially wonderful is how the Oz themes permeate Jonathan's life.
I recommend this book wholeheartedly!
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2.0 out of 5 stars Waiting... Waiting, May 2 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Was (Paperback)
I kept waiting for this book to get good... It would seem to head that way, then drift off into the boringness it came from. Finally, at 2-3rds of the way in, it got good. What I'd waited for: can't-put-down-good.
Not bad enough for one star (after all, I did keep reading), but not enough payoff to recommend.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Hampered by Realism, April 10 2003
By 
Sean Ainsworth (Timonium, Maryland, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Was (Paperback)
I would really, really have enjoyed this novel if it weren't SO real, and if Jonathan were less annoying. He's too whiny, too inactive, for me to care very much about him, and almost everything having to do with him slowed my reading of the novel. Dorothy's part, and also Bill's (however brief), were captivating, and I also enjoyed the Judy Garland stuff. It's just that a bit more than a third of the novel is devoted to someone I didn't like. Otherwise, I'd recommend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars About a Dorothy who never gets to leave Kansas, Feb. 13 2003
By 
F. Orion Pozo "Orion Pozo" (Raleigh, NC USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Was (Paperback)
In The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz by L. Frank Baum the fictional Dorothy spends just four pages in Kansas with her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry before a cyclone takes her to Oz, a country of marvelous beauty. This novel explores the life of a fictional Dorothy who never escapes the harsh reality of her life in Kansas except in the world of her imagination.
WAS mixes a historian's dedicated search for details with a fictional story that spans a century to create a sweeping novel of the American experience. Ryman focuses on the tragedy of his characters' lives to help us understand our collective need for a fairy land like OZ where love and kindness are the rule. Using carefully researched historical details Ryman builds a truly believable but sadly horrific story of a fictional Dorothy Gael of Kansas. Placing her in such accurate settings gives incredible power to her story and the stories of those her life inspires. Drawn into the vortex of her tragedy are a mixture of real and fictional characters including L. Frank Baum (the writer of the original Oz novels), the young Judy Garland, an actor with AIDS who is compelled to play the Scarecrow, and his psychotherapist who met the elderly Dorothy just before she dies. The story takes place in the 1870s, the 1920s, the 1950s, and the 1980s. Yet these disparate plots and eras are tied together wonderfully and all given a sense of reality based on the historic research that went into the book.
In a postscript called Reality Check at the end of the book the writer sorts out the historic from the fictional. Here he also talks a bit about the philosophy he has toward fantasy and realism, a theme that is constantly addressed throughout the novel. This is not about Oz, except as an ideal. The novel is about the tragedy of life, and it explores why the pain of our lives makes Oz so important to us all.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sad and moving. But uplifting as well., Sept. 21 2002
By 
RICHARD D. WILLIAMS (Mars) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Was (Paperback)
Where to begin? Its rare that a book can move me to tears but this one did. Its a little disjointed at first but all comes together after the first 100 pages. Aids is not the central theme, after having read Child Garden, I wonder if cancer and terminal illness are not a central theme in Mr Ryman's books. There is mystery as well, so what does happen next? I highly recomend this, and any book by this author. Looking forward to AIR, which I hope will be published soon.
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3.0 out of 5 stars "Was" it worth the Trip?, June 16 2002
By 
Michael S. Waren "schoeder" (Chicago, IL USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Was (Paperback)
Wldly orginal, creative but at times depressing novel about the inspiration for L. Frank Baum to write the Wizard of Oz. We also see the fictionalized perspectives of individuals connected and affected by the now classic film. We are introduced to the real Dorthoy Gael an orphaned girl who is molested by her Uncle Henry. "Gee Toto, I really don't think we're in Kansas anymore." The parts dealing with Judy Garland flew for me, the pioneer Gael parts along with a man suffering from AIDS demetia dragged.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Actually Toto, we ARE still in Kansas, April 10 2002
By 
Steven Cain (Temporal Quantum Pocket) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Was (Paperback)
Brilliant, beautiful and profoundly disturbing. As many people have given excellent insights into the content of Was, I will just mention my own interpretation of this utter classic.
For me, the book (and even the Baum original) exists on many levels. Whereas Oz may be seen as a quantum pocket within the linear story track, it is the human experiences and the very nature of consciousness and identity that really drives the entire concept.
Yet the search for Dorothy's home is as much a bitter-sweet futility as the search for the Holy Grail, and merely takes you deeper into the Illusion and farther away from your true Self.
This multi character odyssey brings in many profound insights from various classic areas - from Dante's Inferno, the concept that the way to Heaven is through the deepest pit of Hell - from Zen, the concept that there is no Truth that exists outside of you, or as Alan Watts put it, "This is it" - and from the Baghavad Gita, the final realization that the warrior Arjuna learns from Krishna, that there is no mutant enemy, except ourselves.
As the song Tin Man by America suggests, The Wizard of Oz never gave anything to the Tin Man that he didn't already have.
Was and WOZ are both about the concept of Home, of belonging. Like Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, they are about Return. The return to the Cosmic Womb of the Great Mother.
I believe what Geoff Ryman is trying to tell us is that when you have finally found yourself, Oz is Kansas.
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Was
Was by Geoff Ryman (Paperback - May 1 1993)
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