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Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (1995)

by Gregory Maguire

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Wicked Years (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
25,33360789 (3.57)1 / 614
This re-creation of the land of Oz, tells the story of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, who wasn't so wicked after all. Past the yellow brick road and into a phantasmagoric world rich with imagination and allegory, Wicked just might change the reputation of one of the most sinister characters in literature.… (more)
  1. 273
    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. 102
    A Lion Among Men by Gregory Maguire (KrazySkaterChick)
  3. 104
    Son of a Witch: A Novel by Gregory Maguire (Kerian)
  4. 40
    Grendel by John Gardner (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Both are books that give you the "bad guy" take on classic tales.
  5. 63
    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
    A Nameless Witch by A. Lee Martinez (infiniteletters)
  11. 00
    The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune (thenothing)
  12. 11
    The Librarian (Book Two: Unhappily Ever After) by Eric Hobbs (Othemts)
  13. 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.
  14. 415
    Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell (hayfa)
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» See also 614 mentions

English (597)  Spanish (5)  Dutch (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (604)
Showing 1-5 of 597 (next | show all)
Gave up around part 4. Couldn't bring myself to finish it. It moves at such a slow pace, and I've seen the musical (which, while different, is a much more enjoyable experience). This kind of feels dark just for darkness' sake. Elphaba isn't all that likable. Neither is Glinda. Or really anyone. It just never gets going, and I couldn't pay enough attention to it to finish it. I'll stick with the musical. ( )
  thoroughlyme | Apr 23, 2021 |
I tried to read this several times when it came out and I could not get into it. I saw the Broadway play, I even had the soundtrack on my iPod for a while, (yeah remember when that was a thing?) but I struggled with the book.

I just have to conclude that this book is not for me. ( )
  curious_squid | Apr 5, 2021 |
lgpb
  5083mitzi | Mar 14, 2021 |
Finally I finished reading the book after I postponed it for almost a year due to national exam.

My opinion is the same like almost all of the reviews here. I don't like it. I only finished the book because I don't like not finishing a book that I bought.

As I read, I really really hope the story is getting better and making a connection to the musical, but it never happened. Such a shame, this book actually has a premise of a great story. However, the author failed to turned it into what it should have become. ( )
  bellacrl | Jan 19, 2021 |
We don't really get much inside her head until near the end. ( )
  nx74defiant | Jan 5, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 597 (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 editionscalculated
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
ISBN 0349117993 is for A Wedding in December by Anita Shreve.
Publisher's editors
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Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (3)

This re-creation of the land of Oz, tells the story of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, who wasn't so wicked after all. Past the yellow brick road and into a phantasmagoric world rich with imagination and allegory, Wicked just might change the reputation of one of the most sinister characters in literature.

No library descriptions found.

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.
Haiku summary
A witch is a witch
Not evil - not understood
So men will kill her
(Nodosaurus)

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