02 November 2010

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

I read the original Wizard of Oz to two of our children during our homeschooling.

I rated it a 3.5 out of 5*.

I give Maguire's Wicked 4 out of 5*.

I saw 'Wicked' the stage-show three times while living in London, I attended it with various visitors.
I enjoyed it but wouldn't say it was my favourite of all the shows we saw.

The book is good. It moved along not so very quickly until somewhere around the middle of the book. Then I felt it began to be interesting. I enjoyed the characters and the way they came to life. I enjoyed the protrayal of Elphaba except for a few things. I very much liked Fiyero. I didn't like that the two of them finally came together while he was married. But that's just me.

Wicked: Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of th

I don't know how I missed the fact, right away, that a particular character was obviously the son of Elphaba. I did, however predict, as Elphaba did, that Fiyero might return as the Scarecrow. I was greatly disillusioned when that didn't happen. I feel it would have added SO MUCH more depth! From the point where we realize the Scarecrow wasn't Fiyero things just fell apart for me.

I thought there could have been even more intrigue, and certainly more loose ends tied up. I mean, Maguire worked very hard to make all the many varied connections throughout and then seemed to just end the book. There was no resolution for Elphaba. She never fully realized her maternal feelings toward Liir although I enjoyed seeing her attempt to come to terms with some sort of 'love' for him. She never achieved possession of Nessa's shoes from Dorothy. She never found out what exatlly happened to Sarima and her sisters and her son. And most glaringly, she never achieved ANY resolution toward the reinstatement of rights for Animals. Maguire seemed to be making a parallel statement of Animals vs animals that I felt was supposed to have some greater reflection on our society. I also felt he was alluding to something with regard to religion. If so, at least for me, he didn't make those statements clearly enough for me and so it remained a story, but one that was very involved, and, in the end, unfulfilling. If Maguire had connected the dots for me, as above, there is no way I'd have not rated this book 5*. The lack of finishing the story, in my opinion, brings it down to 4*, disappointingly.

On the final page we are left with 'In the life of a Witch, ther eis no after, in the ever after of a Witch, there is no happily; in the story of a Witch, there is no afterword. Of that part that is beyond the life story, beyond the story of the life, there is --alas, or perhaps thank mercy--no telling. She was dead, dead and gone, and all that was left of her was the carapace of her reputation for malice.' How very sad that makes me feel.

I will list some quotes from the book that I feel were meaningful or just well written.

Here is the funniest portion in the book, in my opinion:

"I want to mee Dorothy," he said.

"You're not that age already, lease preserve us," she said. "I always intended to pickle ou before you got to puberty."

pg 386

'But the Witch stopped herself short, hearing in her words about Madame Morrible--she had a choice--an echo of what the Elephant Princess Nastoya had once said to her: No one controls your destiny. Even at the very worst--there is always choice.' pg. 343.

'The nature of the world is to be calm, and enhance and support life, and evil is an absence of the inclination of matter to be at peace.' pg 344

'Evil is an act, not an appetite. How many haven't wanted to slash the throat of some boor across the dining room table? Present company excepted of course. Everyone has the appetite. If you give in to it, it, thta act is evil. The appetite is normal.' pg 345

'She was thirty-eight, and just realizing what it felt like to have a sense of home. For that, Sarima, thank you, she thought. 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.' pg 350

"Boq returned the smile, warmly. 'Glinda used her glitter beads, and you used your exotic looks and background, but weren't you just doing the same thing, trying to maximize what you had in order to get what you wanted? People who claim that they're evil are usually no worse than the rest of us.' He sighed. 'It's people who cliam that they're good, or anyway better than the rest of us, that you have to be wary of.'

pg 357

Here is the funniest portion in the book, in my opinion:

"I want to mee Dorothy," he said.

"You're not that age already, lease preserve us," she said. "I always intended to pickle ou before you got to puberty."

pg 386

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