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Showing 1-10 of 997 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 2,820 reviews
on August 20, 2017
Do NOT and I mean NOT read this book!!! Even if you've never seen the play and thought maybe you would want to read this before you watch the play or whatever, just NO. DON'T DO IT.
I subbed for a week and read this while I sat in class and I'm disgusted with the fact I got paid to sit there and read that book because the book is really THAT BAD. I should've made smarter choices and taken something better to read.
Anyway, Maguire can't figure out what he wants this book to be, except for maybe dark. He hit dark well. But its also confusing because there's so many threads to follow and NO PAYOFF.
I guess you could read it as Elphaba having no follow through with the projects in her life but really it reads as the author having no clue what direction he wanted the story to go in. Is he an animal rights activist? Does he protest against racial inequality? Or is he just pro one-dimensional characters?
I read another one of his books as a sophomore in high school and I don't remember it being this bad. I might have to reread that one as well to see if it was also a burning effigy of hatred towards good literature.
In short, like I've said already. Don't read this book. Don't even read it ironically or read it thinking you might be able to get something really super deep out of it that no one else has. Because believe me, I tried myself to dig for deeper meaning and I scoured the internet for it and came up empty. Its just nothing.
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on July 15, 2017
This is one of the few instances I have seen that the adaptation exceeds the original to such a huge degree. Another is the movie musical "Wizard of Oz" adapted from L. Frank Baum's original work. I have seen the touring version of the Broadway musical "Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz" six times in four different cities. The book itself, like many of Mr. Maguire's books, looks at a classic fairy tale from a different and often warped viewpoint. When comparing Maguire's novel to Winnie Holzman's theatrical book you can see where Winnie and Stephen Schwartz got the inspiration for their work. The book is really good, it is just that the musical is so much better. Since the name Oz was taken from a file cabinet label (O - Z), it is fitting and honorific that the title character is taken from the original author's name (L. Frank Baum to Elphaba).
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on June 10, 2017
Worth reading or listening to. It is an interesting take on the setting. He keeps the political overtones and adapts them well. The whole adaptation was well done and entertaining. The writing quality is good, not great but very well suited to the book and story, it is a good, light read.
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on December 8, 2014
Gregory Maguire attempts to explore the concept of evil and compare the way we perceive it to its actual form by exploring the life of the Wicked Witch of the West in his novel, Wicked.
Maguire uses a third person limited point of view to portray the misunderstood nature of the witch, or Elphaba. The use of third person point of view reflects the opinions and the extent of understanding of all the characters in Elphaba’s life including Boq, Nessarose, Glinda and Fiyero. Even the characters closest to Elphaba do not understand her completely because many parts of her life are mysterious to her. They do not have a comprehensive insight into Elphaba’s thoughts and opinions nor the reasons for them. Maguire’s use of third person limited point of view effectively conveys the estrangement and isolation in Elphaba’s life.
Maguire also uses selection of detail to impress upon readers the mystery and ambiguity of Elphaba’s life. The fact that she is Liir’s mother, her activities underground in Emerald City, and her childhood spent in Quadling Country are all vague and underdeveloped parts of the plot. Not coincidentally, these aspects of Elphaba’s life are also meant to be ambiguous to the other characters in the book. They are not meant to know of her love affair with Fiyero, nor the child who resulted. They were purposely kept ignorant of her plans of killing Madame Morrible in Emerald City. They never understand or sympathize with Elphaba’s passion for Animal rights, which originated from her childhood experiences in Quadling Country. Maguire makes a point to show how misunderstood and underrepresented Elphaba is by intentionally keeping certain parts of her life unclear to the reader, making it difficult even for the reader to draw any accurate conclusions about Elphaba’s personality.
Maguire’s use of multiple settings parallels the conflagration of personalities which comprises Elphaba’s identity. He divides the novel into multiple books named after major regions of Oz. It is very fitting that Elphaba spends her life in every one of these major regions and exhibits various personality traits in response to these distinct regions.
Elphaba is born and raised in Munchkindland as an infant. Munchkinland is agrarian and traditional and the majority of its inhabitants practice Unionism, an organized religion that believes in a single “Unnamed God.” At the time of Elphaba’s birth Munchkindland is suffering a drought, however, and Munchinlanders become desperate and look for solace in different forms of thinking. Specifically, some of them begin to embrace Paganism and other “pleasure religions” in response to their suffering. This departure from traditional thought and embrace of forward thinking become characteristic of Elphaba.
Elphaba’s later childhood is spent in Quadling Country, which suffers from imperial conquest and invasion by Emerald City for its rubies. As a result, its environment is disrupted and its inhabitants killed. This infuriates Elphaba and likely motivates her passion for Animal rights. This brings her to Emerald City, an industrialized and modern region where Elphaba can voice her opinions openly and even try to act upon it.
In Vinkus, an open, wild, untamed and sexual region Elphaba loses control of herself and begins to give up on trying to control the evil in her and act upon the good. She feels as if she has lost ownership of her life and her fate.
Through the use of elements of style like point of view and selection of detail as well as meaningful symbolism in the setting Maguire points out that good and evil is in everyone, but it is our choice between the two that defines our character.
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on June 8, 2014
I gave this book 3 stars because the writing is very good and the vocabulary rich. I haven't seen the play but it sounded like an original fun story. However, it's a very depressing long book at almost 500 pages on my Kindle. None of the characters are very likable. The perspective switches around and then you wonder what happened to that character. Horrible things happen to many of them and many things are left unexplained. The story touches on politics, religion, animal rights, war, injustice, sex, apathy, greed. Typically a smart conversation on these topics would interest me but not in such an overwhelmingly negative way. The book is way too long and we really don't need to know every little detail from before the main character was even born. This book is well written but depressing and too long.
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on June 10, 2014
I realliy wanted to like this book. I've seen the play and was hoping to get more insight into the characters and story line, however was left wanting. This book was long winded and I felt lacked character development. You only ever saw the surface of these people, there was no explanation, no deeper understanding to be had. On top of that, it differed greatly from the play which was a far more enjoyable plot. I felt an extreme dislike for all of these characters, especially the way Elphaba is portrayed. Again, there is no sense of deeper purpose and because of that, I can't recommend this book at all. I am sorely dissapointed as I wanted to love it, but it just fell short.
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on September 27, 2015
I had to read this book more than once to comprehend it. It has high-minded political points to make, as well as a cloudy narrative that often feels like it comes from an untrustworthy source. Reading this book feels like someone has dropped you off in Oz with binoculars glued to your face. So you stumble through this amazing world, only able to view it in these fragmented, way-too-close-to-discern-the-big-picture scenes and images. The characters seem to have full lives outside of the reader's view, which ends up making the reader feel isolated and confused rather than intrigued, especially as relationships deepen outside the narrative.
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on June 9, 2014
I ordered the book because I got one from the library, and went out and when I came home, my dog had shredded the book, so I had to replace it. I had started reading it, but found it to be not great. I have not finished it and have had it for about 4 weeks. I know that I will not be reading the rest of his books on Oz. I have the Oz story by Frank Baum and Plumb and Jack Snow, which I love. I was raised on the Oz stories, so thought I would give this book a try. Even though I am an adult now, I found it to be to risqué.
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on March 8, 2017
This is the basis of the musical of the same name (which is quite different from the book).. provudes more depth to the story of the Wicked Witch of the West.. this Kindle edition includes the original story by L. Frank Baum..
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VINE VOICEon September 22, 2011
Before there was a Dorothy, before there was a twister, and before the Lollipop Guild sang in Munchkinland, a very strange girl was born, a girl with green skin, who was named Elphaba. As a tiny babe, she was a bit savage, and adverse to water. As she grew, she and her sister attended Shiz University, where Elphaba learned that the Animals in Oz were being oppressed. She made it her mission to join the resistance and fight for what is right and good. Though she seeks to fight the evil forces, those forces instead force her to the margins of society and vilify her to the point that she is deemed a wicked witch.

Wicked is a revisionist view of life in the land of Oz. As a fan of the Oz stories in both book and film since childhood, it only made sense to me that I give this alternate viewpoint a chance. My first exposure to this story was actually through the musical, which is quite different from the book. Where the musical is somewhat lighthearted, with a happy ending, the book is a dark allegory for past and current political actions throughout the world.

With the Animals in Oz being marginalized and repressed, one can see parallels to the Nazi treatment of Jews, as well as society's treatment of gays and lesbians. We constantly see the struggle between good and evil, and evil does not always look the way we expect it to look. Being different, whether because you have green skin or because you are a talking Animal, is ultimately deemed bad in the book, just like in society, and those who are different must be isolated, and if need be, punished.

The book is extremely dark, and it has significant political undertones which made it a little difficult to read. In fact, I had to walk away from the book for several weeks, and return to finish it later. It is funny, books with monsters like werewolves and vampires do not bother me as much as this one did. When the monster is hatred or bigotry, and wears a face like you or I, it is much more disturbing. Though it shares ties to childrens' books, this is clearly not intended for a young audience. There are adult themes, and some pretty serious violence.

Readers will appreciate this book much more if acquainted not just with the popular Oz movie from the 1930s, but also the original Oz books. Having read several of the Oz books, I was better equipped to recognize the mythology and characters from Oz. One thing that I did have trouble wrapping my head around were the different religions of Oz. I think there is a lot at play within the book, and it probably takes more than one reading to really allow it all to sink in.
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