Book: Not in Kansas Anymore

Not in Kansas Anymore: A Curious Tale of How Magic is Transforming America
Christine Wicker
2005

This book was written by a reporter and looks at the various types of “magical thinking” that are common around the country. It tells stories about vampires, elves, hoodooists, and even ghosts. The book describes almost entirely things that Miss Wicker witnessed herself or was told about first-hand. There are a few sections with less direct information (like the chapter that discusses Zora Neale Hurston and her influence on the magical community) that relate less personal information, but that never feels out of place and always ties into some kind of personal experience or discussion.

The book is quite well written and extremely enjoyable to read. The stories are fascinating and often very strange. Her descriptions really drew me into what she was talking about (I really wish I could have met the werewolf she talked to). They made the discussions and stories seem more real (which, of course, they were) as well as conveying quite well the way the writer herself felt about the people and situations. The first-hand perspective of the book is very refreshing and I doubt the book would be nearly as good without it.

Many of the issues and ideas raised by the book are fascinating. I love the history Miss Wicker gives as well as the unique look into a community outside of most people’s experience. My only problem with the book was it’s structure. It was written very much like an article, with lots of stories and few actual conclusions. Few of the interesting issues she raises are actually pointed out and discussed. The subtitle made me expect an essay with some discussion of how magic is transforming America, but the idea itself is never really brought up in the book and the structure is far from being essay-like. I found the stories very interesting and entertaining, but I kept wanting her to make a point of some kind and she never really did. I would have liked some kind of conclusion or at least some questions that are examined and discussed. Instead I got a lot of interesting little human interest stories.

This book is interesting, but don’t expect it to actually discuss the subtitle’s theme much. It gives some fascinating history about the spiritual and magical history of the country and the stories are very enjoyable to read, but I wouldn’t really recommend it unless you really enjoy stories of odd occurrences with little point given.

Publisher’s Description
Christine Wicker’s Website
Book Blog Post
Book Blog Post (Good and Evil)
Book Blog Post (Point?)
Book Blog Post (Storytelling)
Book Blog Post (Grave Dirt)
Book Blog Post (Paths)
Book Blog Post (First-hand Experiences)
Book Blog Post (Geeks and Outcasts)
Book Blog Post (Selfishness)
Book Blog Post (Final Point?)
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