I decided I wanted to read Gregory Maguire’s latest book because it seemed perfect for the holidays, “A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker.”

Dirk is a foundling, an orphaned, abandoned child who was raised by stranger and never had a last name or a childhood. As a young boy, he sets out on his own, believing the couple who raised him had tried to kill him.

Dirk bounces from place to place, spending some time at a church where he’s given a surname, moving on to be a servant in a rich family’s summer home, a paper maker’s apprentice and finally settles himself down as a toy maker. But it seems sorrow and trouble follow him wherever he goes.

Hiddensee wasn’t so much a story about the Nutcracker as the story of the man who created him, though I suppose it does go in to the why of it. And the familiar story for Fritz and Klara turned out to be much darker than our familiar childhood story.

While it was an enjoyable book, I had expected a little more from it. I had expected it to be something more Christmassy. And perhaps it’s just because I’m not familiar with the back story of the Nutcracker and all it’s lore. But with the subtitle “A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker,” I thought it would be about him, not Drosselmeier.

That said, the book had lots of underlying themes and was quite allegorical, and I confess I probably missed half of the underlying meanings.

So, maybe when I’ve got a little more time, I’ll read it again to get some of the deeper meanings. In the meantime, if you’re a fan of Maguire, certainly check it out. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

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