Wicked

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (The Wicked Years, #1)Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I started this book in 2009 when our Daytimers bookclub read it, but never finished it, and never got back to it until I saw the audiobook on the shelf at the library and decided it was time. The hook is that it is about the characters from the childhood classic The Wizard of Oz. But this is definitely for adults only. The fantasy world here is much more complex, with religious and political divisions, sentient Animals, clockwork servants (robots), the problems of poverty and natural disasters, discrimination, ethics, the misuse of power, etc. In short, it is our own world seen through different eyes. I loved the first part of the book, about Elphaba’s birth and growing up, and her relationship with Galinda/Glinda in college. But I wasn’t really satisfied with the developments in the second half. It seemed to kind of meander towards its conclusion without satisfactory answers to what changed her. There is much food for thought, but many loose threads. Perhaps a lot went over my head listening to it, and I missed things. But I didn’t like the book enough to want to reread it.

Description: 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 the 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.

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