Sunday, June 20, 2010

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire

In the Wizard of Oz, we got only Dorothy's side of the story.  In this highly imaginative book, Maguire tells us a bit more about the life and background of her arch-nemesis, the Wicked Witch of the West, and how she became so "wicked".

The book is broken into several sections.  In "Munchkinlanders", we learn about Elphaba's early life.  "Gillikin" takes us through her young adult years.  "City of Emeralds" (one of my favorite sections) takes us through her first love affair and its tragic outcome.  "In the Vinkus" concentrates on her life immediately prior to Dorothy's house falling out of the sky onto her sister, and the last section "The Murder and its Afterlife" tells the rest of the story.

What I liked about the book was the philosophical underpinning to the writing that was constantly challenging notions I had about good and evil.  Surprisingly, Elphaba came off as a very sympathetic character at times, and the motives of others seemed to be questionable.  I did think the book bogged down a little bit in the middle, but finished strong.  I found it an interesting book and overall I'm glad I read it.

I haven't seen the stage play that is based on this book, but I understand it is very different from the book. 

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