Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Gregory Maguire

"When Dorothy triumphed over the Wicked Witch of the West in L. Frank Baum's classic tale, we heard only her side of the story. But what about her arch-nemesis, the mysterious Witch? Where did she come from? How did she become so wicked? And what is the true nature of evil?
Gregory Maguire creates a fantasy world so rich and vivid that we will never look at Oz the same way again. Wicked is about a land where animals talk and strive to be treated like first-class citizens, Munchkinlanders seek the comfort of middle-class stability, and the Tin Man becomes a victim of domestic violence. And then there is the little green-skinned girl named Elphaba, who will grow up to become the infamous Wicked Witch of the West, a smart, prickly, and misunderstood creature who challenges all our preconceived notions about the nature of good and evil."

My Take:

I can't say enough about "Wicked", I hated it! And I do not hate many books! Aside from the interesting concept, there are no redeeming qualities about this book. First off, I found it in the teen section, I do not want my teenager to read this book. It contains explicit language, allusions to acts I don't want put into my teens mind. After getting over the shock of how misrepresented this book is, I could concentrate more on the story. The story focused so much on the boring and ridiculously mundane aspects, then whipped by the interesting parts, eager to get back to it's boring roots. As an avid reader of historical fiction, my tolerance for dry spells in a book is usually quite high, I am able to recognize that sometimes you need to get through the boring stuff to more fully appreciate the interesting. But this Wicked was the reverse. I have never seen the musical based on this book, and after reading it, I was convinced I'd never see it, but my sister, who has both seen the play and read the book, informs me that the play is still worth seeing. So in my opinion, skip the book see the play, the book's not even worth borrowing from a friend. 5. Don't Even Bother

If you are a teen that read this book, but maybe you are looking for a little more action, you should check out Running Out of Time, see if its more your style.

Do you agree with my review? Do you think I'm totally off base? I'd love to hear about it either way! Be sure to comment and tell me how you feel!

If this book were a movie it would likely be rated R for explicit sexual content, extreme language, and some graphic representation of violence.


ibdragon said...

Concur completely, abjectly disappointed. Good review!

The Book Buff said...

I really do hate to give such a bad review, but the book was just terrible! The musical is incredible though, if you like theater it is a must see!

sleeplessdave said...

My wife absolutely loves this book (we made our top 100 book lists and this was 3rd on her's) so I checked it out. I love the concept. I couldn't wait to read it and I was just stunned at how bad it is. Content aside, it's poorly written. You spend as much time on the sociopolitical status of Oz as you do on Elphaba and maybe that would have worked if he'd made it interesting, but he's not that good a writer. I feel like this book is some kind of Emperor with no clothes that everyone loves or pretends to because of the musical. I have actually read this twice trying to like it, but can't. The graphic content is so offputting because there's not a dark underbelly or context to Oz the way there is inherent in Wonderland. I felt it violated Baum's vision whereas when people do dark versions of Wonderland I see that just as exploring another aspect of Carroll's creation. I was so glad to see someone else hated this thing!

The Book Buff said...

This truly is a terrible book. Such an interesting concept gone to waste!!!

Jessica said...

I disagree. I thought that the book was excellent. I think that a lot of people see it as over emphasizing the mundane and boring, but I see it as the author using those times to set up the world, instead of leaving it as the world that the original work created. It creates a much more complex Oz. While it can never stand up to the classic, it is interesting and diverse in its characters. I would say that it shouldn't be in the teen section, but in our part of the world it's not, it's in the adult fantasy section.

Kah Woei said...

I'd read Son of a Witch. I'd expected so much but was disappointed.

Tahlia said...

The book sounds terrible. I wonder how such books get puyblished. Still, they made it into an awesome musical. The best costumes and sets I've seen in a long time.

Allen (a.ka.a. The Demon) said...

The beginning of the book had me hooked -- it offered a promise of magic and surprising delights as we see the Wicked Witch through a whole new lens.

And then, somehow, the lens shifted from the unexpected to the prosaic. By the middle of the book I felt I was in the middle of a novel that offered nothing exciting in terms of Elfaba's character. She could have been one of a thousand similar characters in other novels (this, in spite of the fact that some of the reimaginings of Oz were wonderful).

'nuff said.


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