Saturday, April 28, 2012
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire.
This is the second time I have read Wicked, and I really enjoyed it the first time I read it. I finally bought the entire trilogy and decided that I needed to re-read the first book before starting the second. I have not read the original Wizard of Oz, and I am only familiar with the story due to my love of the movie as a child. My E-Book version of Wicked came with the original L. Frank Baum story included. After finishing Wicked and writing this review I decided to read the original and my next post will be review/comparison to Wicked
Wicked is the story of the witch from the story of Oz. Gregory Maguire describes an Oz that has a much deeper and richer landscape and history than just watching the movie would lead one to believe. Oz is a land full of political intrigue, espionage, murder, faith and of course magic. Maguire did not write a fluffy version of the Wizard of Oz from the Witch’s point of view. Wicked is full of social and moral commentary. Maguire addresses religion, ethnic suppression/genocide, slavery, tyranny, and the idea of good vs. evil in a way that makes the reader think not only about Oz’s landscape and political environment, but about the state of the world around us as well. These issues are not blaring in your face, but are more subtle, so that at the end of chapter or section discussing them you may not immediately think “How does this apply to the world around me?” But later while watching TV or beginning to doze off you may find yourself contemplating that exact question.
Maguire provides a ‘background’ for not only the witch, Elphaba born with a green skin and sharp teeth, but also for the Glinda, the Wicked Witch of the East, the Lion, and the Tin Man, weaving their stories into Elphaba’s. We follow Elphaba, the renown Wicked Witch of the West, from her birth to her death. Maguire weaves a tale that explains how all the decisions made, both large and small, lead to the Elphaba’s fateful death. Elphaba is a complex and complicated character. She has an independence and sense of righteousness that all revolutionaries must possess. There are hurts and dark periods of her life that mold her into the famous woman that she is. Through Maguire's writing I am drawn to her character and I find her not evil, but not always likable either, and completely fascinating. Although I knew what her fate was to be, I was enthralled with the events that lead to it. Elphaba goes through a journey of self discovery to find herself and understand the reason behind her actions. And though everyone know how the Witch meets her end, the story Maguire weaves that describes how she reached that point draws the reader in and doesn’t let go.
My star rating: 5 Stars