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Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked…
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Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

by Gregory Maguire

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Wicked Years (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
20,62352171 (3.61)1 / 524
  1. 243
    The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (TuesdayNovember, lucien, sturlington)
    lucien: An obvious choice and one that's already listed. I will add that if your only exposure to the original is the film, I'd recommend this short read. There are several ideas Maguire plays with that are only in the book.
  2. 92
    A Lion Among Men by Gregory Maguire (KrazySkaterChick)
  3. 94
    Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire (Kerian)
  4. 30
    Grendel by John Gardner (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Both are books that give you the "bad guy" take on classic tales.
  5. 52
    The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly (Shuffy2)
  6. 42
    The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor (joyfulgirl)
  7. 20
    The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti (mhmolinaro)
  8. 31
    Was by Geoff Ryman (jonathankws)
    jonathankws: Set more in the 'real world' this re-telling of Oz compares three protagonists: a gay male actor with AIDS, a girl called Dorothy who a fictional L. Frank Baum 'created' Oz for, and a makeup girl on the set of the original film version film who encounters Judy Garland.… (more)
  9. 32
    A Barnstormer in Oz by Philip José Farmer (jonathankws)
    jonathankws: More affiliated to Science Fiction, this retelling focuses on Dorothy's son who returns to Oz by accident.
  10. 11
    The Librarian (Book Two: Unhappily Ever After) by Eric Hobbs (Othemts)
  11. 11
    A Nameless Witch by A. Lee Martinez (infiniteletters)
  12. 24
    Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs (khoov00)
    khoov00: This book seems to appeal to some with the same sense of humor as it would take to appreciate the book Wicked.
  13. 315
    Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell (hayfa)
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English (513)  Spanish (5)  Dutch (1)  Catalan (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (521)
Showing 1-5 of 513 (next | show all)
I thought that Wicked was a really good book. Many people raved about it and I had heard many opinions on the book. I thought it was a good read; many had told me that it was a bit of a 'comedy' but I disagree. I found that I related to Elphaba and her awkwardness so much, that I just genuinely felt for her. I connected on a higher level with her. I just didn't see the comedy aspect of the book. It was, however, a really interesting take of the telling of the 'Wicked Witch of the West's" story. It was a good book and I recommend it! ( )
  MermaidxLibrarian | Jul 16, 2015 |
I read The Life and Times of the Wicked Which of the West because I loved the play Wicked. The play and book are kind of similar and good in their own way. The only reason why I gave the book a 3 star is because it started off so good with lots of promise but it was kind of let down at the end. Felt like it never got to the point and that the Witch didn't really do anything throughout the book. I was shocked at some of the material and the adult themes lol. Definitely wish the book was more like the play with the plot would of made for a much better ending and overall plot. I feel like maybe because I haven't read all the Oz books that I was missing stuff because at times it would get confusing. I do plan to read the other Wicked Years and the Oz books, so I will probably end up rereading this and it could change my perception of it. ( )
  GrlIntrrptdRdng | Jun 28, 2015 |
I read The Life and Times of the Wicked Which of the West because I loved the play Wicked. The play and book are kind of similar and good in their own way. The only reason why I gave the book a 3 star is because it started off so good with lots of promise but it was kind of let down at the end. Felt like it never got to the point and that the Witch didn't really do anything throughout the book. I was shocked at some of the material and the adult themes lol. Definitely wish the book was more like the play with the plot would of made for a much better ending and overall plot. I feel like maybe because I haven't read all the Oz books that I was missing stuff because at times it would get confusing. I do plan to read the other Wicked Years and the Oz books, so I will probably end up rereading this and it could change my perception of it. ( )
  GrlIntrrptdRdng | Jun 28, 2015 |
I really loved this book. It was a great experience being able to live through the tale of the Wizard of Oz from the supposed Wicked Witch of the West's perspective. [a:Gregory Maguire|7025|Gregory Maguire|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1196015404p2/7025.jpg] does a great job in re-telling a timeless tale in a re-imagined setting. ( )
  jms001 | Jun 14, 2015 |
this was kind of slow-moving for me, but was really well written and tackled a lot of issues that i love reading about. i was surprised, actually, at how well written it was, and how much i liked it right away. the main issue, i suppose, is about good and evil and nature vs nurture, but also there is so much about oppression and power and theocracy and belief and relationships and control or fate or destiny or manipulation. and on and on really. this book is about so much; perhaps too much, although he does a good job with it all. which i guess is why it's not a quick read. but i really did like it, even as i found myself sometimes wishing it would go faster or end sooner. this is a muddled review, but i'd read him again, for sure, and might even continue this series.

"Was it an accident I saw that, Fiyero wondered, looking at the manager with new eyes. Or is it just that the world unwraps itself to you, again and again, as soon as you are ready to see it anew?"

"'We weren't beasts of burden, but we were good reliable laborers. If we were made redundant in the workforce, it was only a matter of time before we'd be socially redundant too.'"

"'People who claim that they're evil are usually no worse than the rest of us.' He sighed. 'It's people who claim that they're good, or anyway better than the rest of us, that you have to be wary of.'" ( )
  elisa.saphier | May 23, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 513 (next | show all)
Although Mr. Maguire demonstrates a knack for conjuring up bizarre adventures for Elphie and introducing her to an eccentric cast of creatures (though nowhere near as enchanting as the many creatures Baum invented in his multiple sequels to "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz"), his insistence on politicizing Oz and injecting it with a heavy dose of moral relativism turns a wonderfully spontaneous world of fantasy into a lugubrious allegorical realm, in which everything and everyone is labeled with a topical name tag.
 
With a husky voice and a gentle, dramatic manner that will call to mind the image of a patient grandfather reading to an excited gaggle of children, McDonough leisurely narrates this fantastical tale of good and evil, of choice and responsibility. In Maguire's Oz, Elphaba, better known as the Wicked Witch of the West, is not wicked; nor is she a formally schooled witch. Instead, she's an insecure, unfortunately green Munchkinlander who's willing to take radical steps to unseat the tyrannical Wizard of Oz. Using an appropriately brusque voice for the always blunt Elphaba, McDonough relates her tumultuous childhood (spent with an alcoholic mother and a minister father) and eye-opening school years (when she befriends her roommate, Glinda). McDonough's pacing remains frustratingly slow even after the plot picks up, and Elphaba's protracted ruminations on the nature of evil will have some listeners longing for an abridgement. Still, McDonough's excellent portrayals of Elphaba's outspoken, gravel-voiced nanny and Glinda's snobbish friends make this excursion to Oz worthwhile
added by kthomp25 | editPublisher's Weekly
 

» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gregory Maguireprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Avirom, JoelCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, DouglasIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
'Tis very strange Men should be so fond of being thought wickeder than they are. -Daniel Defoe, A System of Magick
In historical events great men--so called--are but the labels that serve to give a name to an event, and like labels, they have the last possible connection with the event itself. Every action of theirs, that seems to them an act of their own free will, is in an historical sense not free at all, but in bondage to the whole course of previous history, and predestined from all eternity. -Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoi, War and Peace
"Well," Said the head, "I will give you your answer. You have no right to expect me to send you back to Kansas unless you do something for me in return. In this country everyone must pay for everything he gets. If you wish me to use my magic power to send you home again you must do something for me first. Help me and I will help you." "What must I do?" asked the girl. "Kill the wicked Witch of the West," answered Oz. -L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Dedication
This book is for Betty Levin and for all those who
taught me to love and fear goodness.
First words
A mile above Oz, the Witch balanced on the wind's forward edge, as if she were a green fleck of the land itself, flung up and sent wheeling away by the turbulent air.
Quotations
"Maybe the definition of home is the place where you are never forgiven, so you may always belong there, bound by guilt. And maybe the cost of belonging is worth it."
"Ah, we're slow learners, Nanny countered. But they can't learn at all" (p.12).
"You're not so bold at all," said Elphaba, "you're about as bold as tea made from used leaves" (p.129)
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.

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Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
Elphaba, born with emerald green skin, comes of age in the land of Oz, rooming with debutante Glinda at the university, and following a path in life that earns her the label of Wicked.
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.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061350966, Mass Market Paperback)

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 be 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:58 -0400)

(see all 10 descriptions)

A fable for adults on the subject of destiny and free will by a writer of children's books. It tells the story of Elphaba before she became the Wicked Witch of the West in the land of Oz. The novel traces her career as nun, nurse, pro-democracy activist and animal rights defender.… (more)

» see all 5 descriptions

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