Mirror, Mirror

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Mirror Mirror

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402567438
  • Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC
  • Publication date: 10/20/2003
  • Format: CD

Meet the Author

Gregory Maguire
Gregory Maguire
Spinning fantastical tales for adults and children alike -- from the hit kids' series The Hamlet Chronicles to the decidedly more grown-up adventures played out in Wicked and Mirror, Mirror, Gregory Maguire has cast a potent literary spell on readers of all ages.

Biography

Raised in a family of writers (his father was a journalist and his stepmother a poet), Gregory Maguire grew up with a great love of books, especially fairy tales and fantasy fiction. He composed his own stories from an early age and released his first book for children, The Lightning Time, in 1978, just two years after graduating from the State University of New York at Albany.

Several other children's book followed, but major recognition eluded Maguire. Then, in 1995, he published his first adult novel. A bold, revisionist view of Frank L. Baum's classic Oz stories, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West places one of literature's most reviled characters at the center of a dark dystopian fantasy and raises provocative questions about the very nature of good and evil. Purists criticized Maguire for tampering with a beloved juvenile classic, but the book received generally good reviews (John Updike, writing in The New Yorker, proclaimed it "an amazing novel.") and the enthusiasm of readers catapulted it to the top of the bestseller charts. (Maguire's currency increased even further when the book was turned into the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Wicked in 2003.)

In the wake of his breakthrough novel, Maguire has made something of a specialty out of turning classic children's tales on their heads. He retold the legends of Cinderella and Snow White in Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister (1999) and Mirror, Mirror (2003); he raised the ghost of Ebenezer Scrooge in Lost (2001); and, in 2005, he returned to Oz for Son of a Witch, the long-awaited sequel to Wicked. He has reviewed fantasy fiction for the Sunday New York Times Book Review and has contributed his own articles, essays, and stories to publications like Ploughshares, The Boston Review, the Christian Science Monitor, and The Horn Book Magazine.

In addition, Maguire has never lost his interest in -- or enthusiasm for -- children's literature. He is the author of The Hamlet Chronicles, a bestselling seven-book series of high-camp mystery-adventures with silly count-down titles like Seven Spiders Spinning and Three Rotten Eggs. He has taught at the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons College and is a founding member of Children's Literature New England (CLNE), a nonprofit organization that focuses attention on the significance of literature in the lives of children.

Good To Know

In our interview, Maguire shared some fun facts with us about his life:

"While I pride myself on trying to be creative in all areas of my life, I have occasionally gone overboard, like the time I decided to bring to a party a salad that I constructed, on a huge rattan platter, to look like a miniature scale model of the Gardens of Babylon. I built terraces with chunks of Monterey jack, had a forest of broccoli florets and a lagoon of Seven Seas salad dressing spooned into a half a honeydew melon. I made reed patches out of scallion tips and walkways out of sesame seeds lined with raisin borders. Driving to the party, I had to brake to avoid a taxi, and by the time the police flagged me down for poor driving skills I was nearly weeping. ‘But Officer, I have a quickly decomposing Hanging Gardens of Babylon to deliver....' Everything had slopped and fallen over and it looked like a tray of vegetable garbage."

"My first job was scooping ice cream at Friendly's in Albany, New York. I hated the work, most of my colleagues, and the uniform, and I more or less lost my taste for ice cream permanently."

"If I hadn't been a writer, I would have tried to be one of the following: An artist (watercolors), a singer/songwriter like Paul Simon (taller but not very much more), an architect (domestic), a teacher. Actually, in one way or another I have done all of the above, but learned pretty quickly that my skills needed more honing for me to charge for my services, and I'd always rather write fiction than hone skills."

"I steal a bit from one of my favorite writers to say, simply, that I enjoy, most of all, old friends and new places. I love to travel. Having small children at home now impedes my efforts a great deal, but I have managed in my time to get to Asia, Africa, most of Europe, and Central America. My wish list of places not yet visited includes India, Denmark, Brazil, and New Zealand, and my wish for friends not yet made includes, in a sense, readers who are about to discover my work, either now or even when I'm no longer among the living. In a sense, in anticipation, I value those friends in a special way."

Read More Show Less
    1. Hometown:
      Boston, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 9, 1954
    2. Place of Birth:
      Albany, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., SUNY at Albany, 1976; M.A., Simmons College, 1978; Ph.D., Tufts University, 1990
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 150 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(34)

4 Star

(49)

3 Star

(45)

2 Star

(14)

1 Star

(8)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 150 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2009

    another outstanding unusual story

    Mr. Maguire has done another outstanding job with an old classic. This is truly another way to look at fairy tales, and one that will make you think. Well done!!!!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2009

    didn't like it, but I don't like Gregory McGuire, so...

    I did not enjoy <i>Mirror, Mirror</i>, which was a book club suggestion rather than a personal choice. I had read <i>Wicked</i> and not liked it much- the writing style seemed oddly impersonal and the tone did not work for me. McGuire seemed to be going for a balance between the cold pragmatism and cynicism of the Wicked Witch and the delightful, magical feel we associate with the Land of Oz. Despite liking the musical, the book left me cold. Because of that I was not looking forward to reading another book by the same author.

    In a retelling of a well-known story the author must be extremely strong on points such characterization in order to compensate for the lack of surprises in the plot. In <i>Mirror, Mirror</i> McGuire tried to achieve this by mixing the Snow White story with the mythologized history of the Borgia family. An interesting concept, but ultimately too similar to <i>Wicked</i> in its faults. The characters seemed to be flimsy and one dimensional. Despite the apparent purposefulness of this choice with regard to the dwarfs, it felt like sloppy writing. The details of Lucrezia's possible incestuous relationship with her brother felt like salacious gossip rather than useful addition to the plot.

    The ending was also disappointing. The worst part of Snow White is that she runs off with her prince despite hardly knowing him- and even worse, the reader doesn't know him either. <i>Mirror, Mirror</i> repeats this, despite having the opportunity to introduce a prince of an entirely different nature or a relationship that comes out differently from our princess and her prince in Disney and Grimm's.

    Basically, if you liked <i>Wicked,</i> you might like this. I'd call it a toss up. If you love Snow White stories, go for it. If you didn't like <i>Wicked</i> or haven't read anything by McGuire, I wouldn't bother. You're not missing much.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 10, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Eeek

    Deffinately not Maguires best. The plot was nonexistant, the characters compltely drab, and the scenarios were somewhat disgusting. It was an utter peice of crap, but a peice of crap written beautifully.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2013

    Pretty good :-)

    I love how Gregory Maguire takes classic tales and creates a new twist on them. Really enjoyed reading this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 1, 2013

    I stopped reading this I thought it was so bad.

    I stopped reading this I thought it was so bad.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2012

    I need it!

    I need the sample! This sounds so good! Plz i need this!!!!

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011

    Darkly Delightful!

    My favorite book from Gregory Maguire! A beautiful retelling that has made this fairy tale my new favorite! Also a quick read!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 15, 2010

    Ages 25 and 13

    My niece and I both read this book since we've enjoyed some of Gregory Maguire's other works. We both found it harder to stay interested in this book. It has a very slow beginning. My niece didn't even finish it, and she loves to read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 23, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A new outlook on an old story...

    This book gives a fresh perspective to the Cinderella story. The hidden depths exposed throughout the telling of Mirror Mirror kept my attention through most of the story. The beginning of the story was a little difficult to wade through, but set the scene for the rest of the book. It gave great insight into each of the characters.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 17, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    The ability to take a moment in History, add a fairytale and cre

    The ability to take a moment in History, add a fairytale and create a story that sheds light on both takes a mind that is rich in imagination, a broad grasp of History and a deep understanding of the Genre of Myth.  Gregory Maguire has proven his ability to retell a familiar tale in such a way so as to cause a tale to never be heard with “the same ears” again.  In this retelling of “Snow White” and “Sleeping Beauty,” he drafts Lucrezia Borgia into the role of the “Evil Step Mother/Witch” and makes more real a “bedtime story,” even though the original always spoke more than we parents wanted our children to understand.
    Set in early 16th Century Italy, a time of City-States who were in a near constant state of war with each other, the Vatican was less than Holy in its duty to over See of the world and farms were kingdoms unto themselves. Don Vicente and his daughter, Bianca, live on one such farm.  Their idyllic life is suddenly and rudely interrupted when, Lucrezia and Cesare Borgia, daughter and son of Pope Alexander VI, whose term as Pope set a standard of corruption unsurpassed until recent history, arrive.  Cesare, an arrogant warrior, sends Don Vicente on a quest to attain a branch from the Tree of Knowledge spoken of in the Book of Genesis, leaving the beautiful Bianca at the mercy of Lucrezia.  A (possible) historical fable is born and detailed with remarkable deftness.
    How the mirror is discovered, who made it, it’s designed use and the change brought about when all of the books elements are eventually combined is a delight to read and a moment of literary brilliance in writing.  The mirror is never meant to be a fortuneteller; rather, it is intended, as are all mirrors, to tell the truth as the seer would like it to be once all the “blemishes” have been removed. As is true in all good stories, the quest for power is prominent in the action of this book and, as is true in all fairytales, that power is subjugated by the true power found in innocence and truth.  The elements that cause such conquest are clearly evident, fluid and all around us; their familiarity causes those elements to be invisible until one becomes aware, as if waking from a dream, of the results wrought by the effect of the elements.  Quests are fulfilled once the seeker is brought to the place of facing the truth of their essence. Only then are we found to be worthy of the discovery of what we seek.  
    There is allusion to sex and violence in this story.  The characters are well developed and “believable” (as much as one is willing to suspend disbelief to believe in the existence of earth dwelling dwarfs). The ending is a commentary on the bitter-sweetness that is life.  We lose things that are dear, discover hidden strengths, learn to grow up, return home to find it has changed in our absence and we are not immediately recognized as belonging there.  
    Reading Maquire is a trip to the bedtime stories of one’s childhood, seeing them with the eyes of an adult – the fantasy made sense we were children because we wanted to believe; they make more sense now because we are willing to see life more clearly but still consider the possibility of magic.  

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2013

    Unique telling of a great story

    Yes

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  • Posted November 27, 2012

    Beautiful

    Beautiful

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2012

    Not like movie. AT ALL!!!!!!

    Bad.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2012

    Quick enjoyable

    Thumbs up

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2012

    Mirror Mirror the movie

    So last night i watched Mirror Mirror an Reallyyyyy enjoyed it! I was hoping there was a book version of the story and I think this is it but I'm not sure. Accoring to some of the comments this book is boring and some would like their money back. So I'm thinking this isn't the right book and I probs won't get it. COMMENTATORS THANK YOU FOR SAING MY $9.99!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2012

    Well written

    This was well written but not as interesting to me as the wicked series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2013

    This book as some thought but not thing.

    This book as some thought but not thing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2012

    Fyyf

    FYI best book i ever read in my life

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 10, 2010

    First and Last time reading this author.

    I was completely disappointed. I love retellings and reworkings of classics, but this one was ALMOST as bad as "pride and prejudice and zombies".....Almost.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 27, 2009

    Not in the same league with his other books

    As wonderful as I thought "Confessions" and the Wicked series was, this book was totally lacking. The characters were flat, the plot non-existent and the book was depressing overall. It truly had no redeeming value at the end. Mr. Maguire, please go back to "Wicked" and writing interesting books. I would honestly ask for my money back on this one.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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