Oz the Fantasy or Oz the Reality?

I have been reading a series of four books referred to as “the wicked years” (amazing storytelling!). They are about Oz, but with a twist.

Most readers are familiar with Oz from the movie version(s) of The Wizard of Oz. But there are actually 16 Oz books written by L.F. Baum, and several other approved books written by other authors, Yes, it is a much bigger series than Narnia or Lord of The Rings.

But the Oz you might be tempted to read – yes, even as an adult I enjoy rereading those books – is a fairy tale. It leaves out adult topics, such as romance and war, political manoeuvring and poverty, swearing and cruelty.

The good guys are good, and the bad guys are bad; but in real life, most people are pragmatists with good intentions (or at least they justify their actions with good intentions).

The Wicked Years is a series of four books (and now a smash hit Broadway musical, too!) that tells the “real” story of Oz.

  • The “Wicked Witch of the West” wasn’t actually evil.  In fact, she was a freedom fighter who turned paranoid and unsociable over time.
  • Glinda was a society lady, and had very little magic power of her own.
  • Glinda and the Witch were actually good friends.
  • The straw man was, well, a straw man.
  • The Wizard… pretty much what the movies and the books portrayed him to be.
  • And, yes, there were, strangely enough, flying monkeys.
  • Ozma, Tiktok, the Glass Cat, General Jinjur – they all are somewhat less in real life than the fantasy fed to the kids who read beyond the first Oz book.

There are trains and industry and bigotry and much less magic than in the fairy tale version that came down to us as kids and through Hollywood.

So which is better? The sanitized version for the kids? Or the “true” story for the adults?

Frankly, I like them both.

In real life, the truth is important. But so are our fantasies. You might be more disposed to one or the other, and that is fine. Don’t underestimate the other. Truth and fantasy make a powerful combination.

These are the four books – I highly recommend them.

READ ALSO: The Four Candles
READ ALSO: The fable of the Porcupine family

Happy Families Stay Connected

My family enjoys our happiest times when we are sharing mutual interests. Being the mother of two teenage sons, it is up to me to try to stay up-to-date with their interests, because they sure aren’t going to make the effort with mine. However, I have found that not only did I become closer to my sons by doing this, I also broadened my horizons and truly enjoyed many of their favorite things.

Here are some of the things you can do to better connect with your family:

1. Watch their favorite television shows
This is one of the best things you can do. Because television series are continuing, this can lead to ongoing conversations that can last for months or even years. You might also discover some great TV series that you never would have tried (My family used to talk for hours on end about Lost). (See 20 Best TV Shows for Parent / Teen Bonding).

2. In addition to watching your teenagers favorite films, introduce them to classic films that they would enjoy
There are so many great teen movies from the eighties that your teens would love and so many classic movies from throughout the years that they are ready to see now. Even if they prefer to watch them with their friends, you can still have great discussions with your teens about the movies the next day. (See 75 Classic Movies Teens Should See ).

3. Share music and video games with Guitar Hero or Rock Band
The Guitar Hero and Rock Band series of video games have been one of the best games to ever bring parents and teenagers together. Many teens first discovered classic rock through these games. Later versions began including new rock songs, which parents could then learn. An entire family can play at once as different band members.

4. Share Young Adult Books with your teens, adults love many of them also
I’ve become a big fan. I devoured the Harry Potter and Twilight series and just read and couldn’t put down The Hunger Games series, the hot new series that is coming out with its first movie next year.

5. Communicate with your teens through the type of technology they prefer
Most teens prefer text messages to phone calls. They will more happily respond to you if you contact them by the method of their choice. (See Text Messaging with Your Teens ).

Guest blogger Jennifer Wagner is the creator and writer of the blog, Connect with your Teens through Pop Culture and Technology,  where you can keep up-to-date of TV, books, movies, music, gadgets, the Internet, websites, education , and all things teenage.