Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West - Gregory Maguire This is fan fiction folks--albeit professionally published--based on the Wizard of Oz series by Baum and in the best fan fiction tradition letting us see the story anew by championing a maligned character--the Wicked Witch of the West. The writing style was pretty graceless, I thought, despite its pretensions to literary merit, and I didn't like the Rabelaisian touches. (This book is...er...NOT for children. There is sex, and kinks, and flatulence and bodily fluids...) However, after getting through a not appealing beginning, I was enjoying how subversive it all was in giving us Elphaba--born green and with sharp finger-amputating teeth--who becomes friends with that vain, social-climbing Glinda in college. At the end of Part Two with Elphaba the rebel going off determined to oppose the Wizard of Oz (and by then Maguire showed us good reasons to see him as a tyrant), I thought this might develop into a story I'd love. (Despite a sex club scene that was a crass HUH???) However, the story only deteriorates from there. Elphaba's characterization is wildly inconsistent. I didn't feel the attempts to make the story fit with the character and events in Oz worked. Characters and elements you'd think are important are dropped and never or barely heard from again. The politics got more and more intrusive and preachy and so much of the narrative manages to be both choppy and tedious. I'd add I've never seen the musical based on this, but if you're expecting from that anything light-hearted you're going to be disappointed; this book is joyless, ponderous and crude. Such a great concept--such a poor execution. I closed the book determined to never read anything else by Maguire.