Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
By: Gregory Maquire
Paige’s Rating: (2) of 5 stars
Recommended for: Fiction/Fantasy Readers
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?
Knowing that there is a Broadway Play based upon this book, I was expecting something whimsical and humorous. I was completely wrong. The tone of the book is not whimsical or humorous, but dark, political and sarcastic. The author becomes very wordy at times, describing scenarios that later seem irrelevant to the story. In addition, he buffers the plot with some unnecessary sexual connotations, and while I am usually all about sexual connotations in literature, these were just weird!
The main plot is original and interesting enough, depicting the life of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch, as she struggles to not only find her identity outside of her skin color, but as she tries to create a world in which equality exists. The theme is admirable but in the story she fails, continually, and this is where the plot feels somewhat stagnant.
There are some positive points of the book. The main characters throughout the book are very well described and balanced. Elphaba is a green woman with a whore mother, an overly zealous religious “father”, and a nearly perfect younger sister. The world in which they all live, OZ, is clearly painted through the eyes of Maguire, who does a splendid job in capturing a world that is less than what it seems, successfully kicking out our previous notions of OZ gained from the movie. And that’s where the positives end.
If you like dark fantasies with hints of political undertones, then I would definitely recommend this book to you. However, if you are looking for something enjoyable to pass the time, then keep clicking your heels Dorothy, cause this isn’t it.