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Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (edition 2005)

by Gregory Maguire

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
21,60155161 (3.6)1 / 554
Member:FMRox
Title:Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
Authors:Gregory Maguire
Info:Unabridged Audiobook (2005), Audio CD
Collections:Your library
Rating:**
Tags:1st in series, audio, alternate story, witches, Wizard of Oz, fantasy

Work details

Wicked by Gregory Maguire

  1. 253
    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. 34
    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. 415
    1984 by George Orwell (hayfa)
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English (543)  Spanish (5)  Dutch (1)  Catalan (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (551)
Showing 1-5 of 543 (next | show all)
Meh.
Just meh.
Honestly, the premise is fantastic. It's the kind of story I would normally read the heck out of, y'know, "How wicked is the wicked witch, misunderstood fairytale villain/victim" blah blah blah.
To be fair, this book is a little bit "more mature" than the books I usually read (meaning it has more sex, more cussing, and less humor.) When I first started it, I got this extremely uncomfortable sense that the book was lying. Not so much that there was stuff in the book that wasn't true, but that it was lying about what it was saying, although what it was saying wasn't necessarily untrue. It was kind of confusing, and I'm still not sure what it was that gave me this sensation, but it did disappear later on in the book.
Anyway, Elphaba is born green, toothy, and female, much to the dismay of her parents, and she also has a skin condition that makes her very sensitive to water. (Aha, I see where you're going with this) Her younger sister Nessarose is born armless, (Yet another disappointment for the family, although she's the favorite of her "maybe-maybe-not" father) and her mother dies giving birth to her first healthy child, a son! (Finally)
Fast-forward to college, and Elphaba ends up roommates by accident with pretty, popular, snobby, Galinda. Stuff happens, more specifically: "Horrible Morrible" has her clockwork servant murder Doctor Dillamond, an Animal rights activist and scientist, who was on the verge of a breakthrough, Galinda's Ama, the only witness, went insane, and died (a year? two?) later. After the funeral, Madame Morrible tries to recruit them to rule three quarters of Oz for a mysterious employer. and they set off for an audience with The Wizard, the usurping ruler of Oz who drugged and raped Elphaba's mother on his way to overthrow Ozma, resulting in our Heroine. The Wizard brushes off their concerns, and Elphaba sends Galinda back to Shiz, so Elphaba can get shiz done in the Emerald City.
Elphaba has an affair with a married man, who dies because she was working as an assasin for revolutionists, and he got caught in the crossfire, afterwards she spends seven years in the Oz version of a nunnery, and then leaves to visit the Vinkus. It becomes her home, and Nanny shows up unexpectedly, having been relieved of her duties with Nessie by Glinda's magicking of a pair of slippers. More time passes, and Nessie dies, and Elphaba goes to kill Madame Morrible, and then Elphaba, in a twisted turn of events that no one saw coming *sarcasm* dies. The end. There were also a lot of comments on the nature of evil, and what souls are made of, and religion, and all that kind of philosophical jazz that's sort of hard to sum up, so I won't even try. Anyway, it got better toward the end, but it was still pretty disappointing. ( )
  theliteraryelephant | Aug 11, 2016 |
hard to get into...but I had to read it!
Also listened to some on audio John McDonough
  Indygirl | Aug 4, 2016 |
I read this book, of course knowing how it would conclude. In the end, I found it heartbreaking. Not like the "wicked" witch we all grew up with. ( )
  bpeters65 | Jul 16, 2016 |
HATED this book. I was furious when I finished it. ( )
  mtlkch | Jun 21, 2016 |
You can read about my thoughts about this book here:
http://storytimewithbuffy.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/wicked-the-life-and-times-of-...
( )
  BuffyBarber | Jun 5, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 543 (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 (8 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.)
Disambiguation notice
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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
A witch is a witch
Not evil - not understood
So men will kill her
(Nodosaurus)

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 11 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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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