My rating: 3 of 5 stars
generally speaking, i really like Gregory Maguire’s works, and this one is no exception. what’s to dislike about a remarkably dirty-mouthed teen with a mom on the fritz and two dorky brothers? plus a gay man in search of a rehearsal space, which just happens to be available, if he is willing to share it with a bunch of ancient nuns. along with a possibly perverse Pentecostal priest, a trash-talking hairdresser, a couple of misbegotten love affairs and a surprise death or two, what could be more entertaining?
most of it is in fact pretty entertaining. maguire makes you root, against the odds, for the dirty-mouthed teen. his sympathy with the various closet-induced and other dilemmas of the gay man is clear and sweet to read. various secondary characters are well-drawn and the plot burbles along nicely.
but… it’s kind of forgettable, in a way that Wicked will never be. none of these characters really engaged me in the way that Elphaba did. they’re all nice enough folk, under their various spikes and evasions, but none of them believes in any non-standard view of the world, except possibly the nuns, who don’t get enough ink, in my opinion.
so it’s a good read, for sure. relatively lighthearted and very funny in places. but i don’t think it will knock your socks off.