No Place Like Oz - Danielle  Paige

I stopped dead in my tracks, right there on the yellow bricks.  For all of Henry’s griping and Aunt Em’s nervousness, it had never occurred to me that they would still want to go home once they got a taste of Oz.  How could anyone want to go back to a dry, dusty field and a few irritable pigs when there were fantastic things around every corner here?


“Of course we’re going to stay,” I said.  “Why in the world would we go home?”


My uncle looked downright aghast.  “Because it’s our home and that’s where we belong [...]”

Suddenly I wanted to scream.  They had to be joking.  I had wished so hard to have a second chance here, never expecting it would actually happen.  And now it had happened, and we were walking happily through Munchkin Country on a day more beautiful than Kansas had ever seen or would ever see.  They wanted to give it all up so that Aunt Em could go do the dishes for her sewing circle?


This entire exchange reminded me of something entirely random that I had experienced not long ago.


My friends and I were all on a cruise for vacation.  It was one of few great vacations we’d ever taken (the year before was Disney World, which was my favorite vacation anyway, but whatevs).  It was hot and sweltering and I have motion sickness.  But my friends all had to go and see the beaches… at every single place we visited.


Now I’m not complaining about a nice relaxing vacation.  And I don’t deny the fact that beaches are beautiful or that they’re peaceful and relaxing.  I even got a lot of really good pictures at one of the nicer beaches we visited.  But I’m not an outdoorsy type, I don’t know how to swim, and I just don’t like beaches with as much romantic excitement and inspiration as all of my friends do.  In fact, I’m one of those strange, indoor nerds -- I don’t deny that I’m the strange one for not being all excited about visiting beaches or wanting to live next to the ocean or just wanting to enjoy the view and beauty of outdoor scenery.


I'm sure people are wondering, "How can you NOT enjoy the beauty of mother nature?"


But that’s just the thing:  I do think it's all beautiful and peaceful.  But that doesn't mean I have to see it all the time or that I need to be outdoors or that I have to love going to the beach and playing in the sand and the ocean water.  


THAT is my preference.  If I could choose between a mountain or a beach, I would probably choose the mountain… even though I would also be looking for the third choice: flat land.  I'm boring.  We've already established this fact a long time ago.  I'm just not a go-getter and I'm lazy to the max.


But that's not the point.


My point is: Everyone has something they like and something that they don’t like.  People have their own preferences on what they find fascinating, exhilarating, fun or relaxing.


And to me, each and every one of those beaches (as well as the horrendous, leg-breaking treks we took to find them) was not exactly my preference for vacation fun.  I’m not sure how relaxing I felt, being made to feel like the party-pooper when I didn’t want to get in the ocean water or when I didn’t want to do anything remotely close to being near the water.  Or when all I wanted to do was sit back, relax, and enjoy myself.  I’m not saying that I’m a poor sport -- I had my beach fun at the first beach we visited.


But that didn’t mean that I was exactly thrilled to visit four other beaches (two of which were dirty with broken glass, cigarette butts, and trash all over them, or with random people trying to hustle you for money for a service you don't care about) for the same purpose of walking through the sand and ocean water or getting sun-burned.


I like to have fun and enjoy my vacations as much as the next person.  But I would also like to enjoy my vacations in my own way…  Just because everyone is a “go, go, go” type who wants to do something 24 hours, every second of the day doesn’t mean that I want to be moving ALL THE TIME.  I've had people wondering why I paid so much money just to sit around and relax rather than getting every seconds worth of the money I paid.


So let's go see all the beaches!


Again: I'm the strange one.  


I stress again:  I’m not an outdoorsy person.  I don’t get as excited about beaches as everyone else.  In fact, I might be the only person in the world who just doesn’t understand the appeal that beaches seem to have on everyone.


And you know what?  I'm perfectly fine with being the odd one out.


And so for their part, my friends didn’t seem to understand why I was so cranky every time they wandered off to go find another beach.  Or why I was so reluctant to go find any beach at all.  They couldn’t understand how I just didn’t find beaches relaxing, exciting, or beautiful.  It’s not that.  I DO think beaches are beautiful.  I just don’t like them as much as the next person.


Which brings me to the above mentioned scene from the book where Dorothy just couldn’t seem to understand why her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry would ever want to return to their home in Kansas after being in the “Wonderful Land of Oz” for all of five minutes.  That’s just the thing.  Everyone has their own preferences.  Just because you like it, doesn’t mean that everyone else will have the same reaction.  Just because you think it’s exciting, doesn’t mean everyone will feel the same way.

Just because the rest of the world loves beaches, doesn’t mean that I have to love them the same way.  It’s not like I try to force everyone else to sit at home and quietly read for hours (and you HAVE to love it too!), or to get as excited as I do when discussing stories, characters and plot twists.




Side rant aside, I AM enjoying this prequel to the Dorothy Must Die series.  It's well-written, and I'm in anticipation of when Dorothy finally goes bat-shit evil and takes over the world.


I'm not liking Dorothy as a person right now -- she's coming off as the biggest bitch and most spoiled, annoying brat.  Apparently, everything is all wrong if it's not done in a way that she will like it.


But this is to build up to the point when Dorothy supposedly takes over all of Oz and becomes evil, thus requiring the series of Dorothy Must Die........ right?


I have few reserves about this book so far, if only because there are few mentions of Kansas life that ticks me a little bit.  Kansas, as depicted by the media, always comes off as if we are one flat-land of nothing but wheat, farms, and backwoods non-progression.  Yes, I'm from Kansas, myself.


Then again, I guess I need to keep in mind that the entire Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz story line took place some time in the early 1900s.  


Which is why I'm a little reserved about the tone of this book since it sounds like it's being narrated by a modern-day girl who's been living under a rock in one of the most podunk, backwoods cities that Kansas has to offer (I don't deny that those exist, to be honest; I just take issue with media depictions of Kansas making it seem like ALL of Kansas is all about farms, trailer parks, wheat, prairies... and that Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz is all there is to Kansas).  I'm not certain I'm entirely sure what timeline this particular prequel is taking place in and what timeline the first book in the series will take place in.


Nonetheless, I'm enjoying this book enough as it is.