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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 (Wicked Years) (edition 2007)

by Gregory Maguire (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
23,83958287 (3.59)1 / 596
Member:debkees
Title:Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (Wicked Years)
Authors:Gregory Maguire (Author)
Info:Harper (2007), Edition: Later Printing, 560 pages
Collections:fiction, Favorites
Rating:
Tags:None

Work details

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

  1. 273
    The Wonderful 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. 112
    A Lion Among Men by Gregory Maguire (KrazySkaterChick)
  3. 114
    Son of a Witch 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. 41
    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)
  7. 20
    The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti (mhmolinaro)
  8. 42
    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.
  9. 42
    The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor (joyfulgirl)
  10. 11
    A Nameless Witch by A. Lee Martinez (infiniteletters)
  11. 44
    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.
  12. 11
    The Librarian (Book Two: Unhappily Ever After) by Eric Hobbs (Othemts)
  13. 415
    1984 by George Orwell (hayfa)
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English (576)  Spanish (5)  Dutch (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (583)
Showing 1-5 of 576 (next | show all)
If you haven't read this book, but want to, I'll say that I quite liked it once I got past the first section (60-ish pages). I was wavering between 3-4 stars, but I just couldn't bring myself to bump it up. I enjoyed it enough that I will likely read the second book. (I doubt I will ever read this again, however.)

I did not like it as well as The Looking Glass Wars, an adaptation of Alice in Wonderland.

*************************************************​​
This review contains spoilers. I repeat, there are going to be spoilers if you read any further. I will not be held responsible. So, if you haven't read it yet or seen the play and you don't want to know what happens then DO NOT read further!
*************************************************​​

Okay, so, I liked this book (probably 3 1/2 stars worth), but I did not love this book and here's why:

First, the beginning was REALLY slow. Yeah, I get it, the framework had to be set for the "I'm this way because I had a crappy childhood." thing. But, it was still a bit of a slog for me to get through that first 60 odd pages. The middle bit was very good. The end felt a little rushed.

Second, what was with the gratuitous sex? I get that her mother had to be a little active for the storyline, but he seemed to take it all that step further just for shock value. For example, I didn't really need to know that Nanny washed the spooge stains out of Melina's sheets in the stream. No, not really. Not a mental picture I needed in my mind. Or, that whole bit with the Philosopher's Club? What was that all about? That had NOTHING to do with the story in my opinion. Well, other than the fact that Tibbett never recovered from being rogered by a Tiger and eventually died in Elphie's care which left a trail for her to be found. But, Tibbett could have had any old wasting sickness, people... It was just a little much for me.

Lastly, I felt that there were some pretty big questions the author never really bothered to resolve. Like, who was Madame Morrible anyway? What was she really about? Was Yackle trying to help Elphaba or harm her? Friend or foe? There were others, but I feel that those could carry on to the second book. MM was such a big part of the book though and as far as I understood, nothing ever really came around to being explained with regard to her. I was a bit disappointed in that.

I have to say, on the positive side that I was totally attached to Elphaba. The second section where they are in Shiz was my favorite bit. I totally would have befriended Elphie and played little tricks and pranks on Galinda to take her down a peg. As a kid, of course, I adored Glinda. As I got older I thought she was a bit silly in that particular get up. Reading the story I could see where it occurred to him to take the character in the direction he did, clever.

I still liked The Looking Glass Wars better, but it was a good adaptation and I did like it. ( )
  Amelia1989 | Jun 10, 2019 |
Read it a couple of years ago and was surprised by its growing popularity. ( )
  MaryHeleneMele | May 6, 2019 |
When I was younger I tried reading this but I couldn't get through it for the life of me. I decided to give it another try and I'm happy I did! I really enjoyed reading this book! I think before I was so focused on the book and the play being the same that I couldn't enjoy the story the book was telling me. The play is COMPLETELY different from the book.

This book helped me explore ideas of what is evil and good, and if there is a way to be completely good or completely 'wicked'. I would recommend this to anyone! ( )
  bookscantgetenough | May 5, 2019 |
Rich in detail and highly imaginative. Slyly humorous. Slow moving in parts. ( )
  KateSavage | Mar 29, 2019 |
I have finally finished the life story of the Wicked Witch of the West, and I really enjoyed it. It gave me a different perspective on the witch herself, whose name was Elphaba, and put her in a sort of humane light. At one point, she had been friends with Glinda, the good witch, so that was a surprise. But over all, I enjoyed learning of her family life, and school days. A very good story, for fans of the land of Oz. ( )
1 vote seascape | Mar 22, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 576 (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
Publisher's editors
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Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

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 5 descriptions

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