Friday, August 21, 2009

REVIEW OF WICKED by Gregory Maguire

WICKED by Gregory Maguire

Wicked is one of those books that stays with you for a long time. To be fair, I read this book a few years ago, but it is still one of my all time favs and I love sharing it with people who may have not given it a try yet.

The thing with Gregory Maguire is that he loves to take fairytales or fables and highlight a character that is not traditionally the "hero" of the story. In this case, this is the story of the "Wicked Witch of the West" and how she came to be so "wicked". Believe it or not you will learn to love and even feel empathy for Elphaba the wicked witch, and understand why she was such a twisted and disturbed individual. You will also get to know Dorothy, and her travel companions in a totally new way, as well as a whole host of wild and weird creatures that inhabit the world of Oz. And a strange place it is. At times you feel slightly disturbed and unsettled while reading, and other times you laugh out loud. As in this, my favourite scene from the whole entire novel.

The set-up: Elphaba was born not only green but with an enormous set of razor sharp teeth to which she would set upon innocent bystanders from time to time. Concerned that she was creating an anti-social child, her mother Melena and Nanny decide to put Elphaba in a playgroup of sorts. And here is what happens:

(page 51)

"No throwing, Elphie dear," called Nanny.

"I'm only saying what I hear. They say at night that Quadlings fall asleep and their souls climb out through their mouths and go abroad."

"Stupid people say a lot of stupid things," Melena was curt and too loud. "I have never seen his soul climb out of his mouth while he was sleeping, and I've had plenty of opportu-"

"Darling, no rocks," shrilled Nanny. "None of the other children have rocks."

"Now they do," observed Gawnette.

"He is the most sensitive person I've ever met," said Melena.

"Sensitive isn't much use to a fishwife," said Gawnette. "How about to a minister and a minister's wife?"

"Now there's blood, how vexing," said Nanny. "Children, let Elphie up so I can wipe that cut. And I didn't bring a rag, Gawnette?"

"Bleeding is good for them, makes them less hungry," said Gawnette.

"I rate sensitive a good sight higher than stupid," said Melena, seething.

"No biting," said Gawnette to one of the little boys, and then, seeing Elphaba open her mouth to retaliate, raised herself to her feet, bad hip or no, and screamed,"no biting, for the love of mercy!"

"Aren't children divine?" said Nanny.

The world that Gregory Maguire paints is vivid, unique and not at all like you probably have envisioned Oz. But you will never forget it, mark my words. I loved this book. Probably because it was so fresh and new and different. The words that Maquire uses are astonishing as are the names of his characters. I have the second book now "Son of a Witch", which I am now reading and will review when I'm done. There is also a third in the trilogy called "A Lion Among Men" which follows the cowardly lions story.


8 Blabs:

Mel (He Followed Me Home) said...


I read this a few years ago too and loved it. Have you read any others by him? I would like to but have heard the others weren't near as good :(

Lisa said...

Hi Mel! You know what? "Mirror, Mirror." was ALMOST as good! I LOVED it! I'll be reviewing that soon as well. I also read, "Confessions of an Ugly Step Sister" but didn't care for it. "Lost" looks great, and I've read a few pages, but it's pretty scary as in horror-ish so I don't know if I'd like it. Thanks so much for your comment!

Jessica said...

Great review!
I almost picked up Confessions of an Ugly Step Sister; but after reading another comment saying that it wasn't very good, I'm glad I passed.
I haven't read Wicked but now I might give it a chance. :)

Mel (He Followed Me Home) said...

Oooh, good I'l check out Mirror, Mirror next time then. I haven't heard great things about Lost though :(

I love the premise of his books - who would have thought you'd feel sorry for the Wicked Witch of the West!

Sarbear said...

Lisa, have you seen the musical of this yet? I really want to read it!

Nikola said...

I wanna read this SO BAD! I can't even tell you how much!!!

Lisa said...

Jessica, I think you would like it, but I know it's not for everybody! Sarbear: No I haven't, but would LOVE to! The musical looks amazing!
Nikola: Honestly? One of the BEST books I have ever read, mostly because it is so different and his world is so "real" as in "unreal." Hope you get it soon and can't wait to read your review of it! :)

Debbie said...

I diffenently will put this on my to read list, I remember hearing about it but never read it and then of course I forgot about it, but now I am starting a list.

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