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Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (Wicked Years) Mass Market Paperback – Print, September 25, 2007
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Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
More About the Author
The bestselling author of Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Lost, Mirror Mirror, and the Wicked Years, a series that includes Wicked, Son of a Witch, and A Lion Among Men. Wicked, now a beloved classic, is the basis for the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical of the same name. Maguire has lectured on art, literature, and culture both at home and abroad.
He has three adopted children and is married to painter Andy Newman. He lives with his family near Boston, Massachusetts.
Top Customer Reviews
Apparently doomed at conception, Elphaba is a truly terrifying infant. Razor-toothed and preternaturally intelligent, she is shunned from birth as a freak and a curse. She is nonetheless the tale's most complex, human, and compelling character, possessed of high moral sense and great courage. But neither of these qualities enables a single one of her brave, ethical actions to succeed. What are we to conclude from this?
How is it that Dorothy, the sturdy little nobody from nowhere who committed manslaughter as she landed in Oz, skips down the Yellow Brick Road impervious to danger while Elphaba strives and plots to reap only negative results?
Why is one protected while the other is doomed? Read Wicked and you will learn how the witch's monkeys became winged, where the rubies for those slippers came from, and, indeed, why the witch's skin was green. But you will wrestle, long afterward, with Maguire's moral pessimism and the snarl of grace and doom that underlies this novel. I know I will.
The book is a richly textured account of the life of the Wicked Witch of the West, here given an actual name, Elphaba, as she moves from student at Shiz University, an outcast and roommate to G(a)linda, to secretive activist in the Emerald City, to maunt (nun), to Auntie Witch, later to become The Wicked Witch of the West.
Throughout, the detailed religion, culture, and government of Oz supplement the narrative beautifully, adding depth to what could have been simply an unfounded story of what could happen to some flatly portrayed green girl from Oz. This story really makes you care for the witch and understand that even the most evil of people could simply be the victims of chance.
I thought the book began and ended very strongly, but the narrative sagged a bit in the middle, particularly as Elphaba becomes a nun and travels rather boringly across the desert to the Winkie stronghold of Kiamo Ko. The story stays rather low-key for a while, but picks up when some more familiar characters, such as Nessarose, Elphaba's sister, Elphaba's father, Frexspar, and Glinda, reenter the novel.Read more ›
I was excited to read this book; I expected a great read.
Wicked relies on a gimmick. Though the result could be worthwhile, and I expected it would be in this case, it's not. There's just the gimmick.
Wicked is too long by at least a hundred pages - though the story could easily have been told and done, and the reader is feeling done with it, we're still left slogging along.
Just as the story is building to what turns out to be the (aborted) climax, halfway through, the author suddenly, jarringly, shoves the protagonist into a convent (though she's a complete non-believer), and then has her do absolutely nothing for the next several years (well, she cleans some floors or something).
Though we're still left a couple hundred more pages to wade through, the book is over right there. You keep hoping, expecting, it to somehow start up again, but neither the book nor the characters will every have any interest in anything again. It's over.
The story has, at that point, somehow become a political thriller (Wicked zigzags all about without ever finding an identity). Perhaps the deadness of spirit in a once-impassioned radical, after she's lost faith and/or hope, would have been a worthwhile exploration.
Instead, the story just ends. For some reason, the author keeps writing more pages. For no reason, really.
(The Nature of Evil theme is so incredibly weak and puerile in its rendering as to be nothing more than a tedious distraction from the plot. The characters basically step outside the story for a bit, discuss it, and then go back to whatever they were doing.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Such a wonderful concept. The back story to the wicked witch! Come on! This is so damn juicy and I was sucked in on page one. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Mona
Completely fascinating to immerse yourself in the land of Oz. However, Wicked isn't about the land of Oz you think you know. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Lisa Blondin
I find the book very tedious. I'm half way through and find it easy to put down. I keep hoping it will pick up the pace or go in some interesting direction but it constantly... Read morePublished 9 days ago by edna amoroso
The author Gregory Macguire stunned me with his brilliant vocabulary, using words that were cleverly archaic and - once I pulled out my Webster's Collegiate Dictionary - amazingly... Read morePublished 10 days ago by Cynthia Zehm
"Wicked" is so-so. It starts off intriguing enough. I loved learning about little Elphaba and her life. Read morePublished 11 days ago by ShadesofLove