Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Macguire
Genre: Fantasy

Elphaba is born to a minsiter father and a immoral mother as a girl with green skin and huge sharp teeth.  To go along with her odd physical appearance, she seems mean spirited and has to constantly be watched.  While her father is off preaching her mother has an affair with stranger from a different land that happened upon their home.  When her sister, Nessarose, is born with no arms the mother is unsure who the father is.  Elphaba grows into a strong willed woman who is insistent on saving the Animals from the life that the Wizard has condemed them to.  Her life takes her in different directions and many different experiences.  She encounters a young man with whom she has an affair, she is involved with plots against the Wizard as well as her head mistress from her school, she ends up in what is comparative to a convent and leaves wtih a child she is not sure is biologically hers or not, and finally ends up settling down in the land of her lover and ironically with his wife and family since he died more or less as the result of Elphaba's political activities.  From there she is informed that her sister has taken over as ruler of thier homeland nicknamed Wicked Witch of the East.  When Elphaba visited her sister the people then assumed she too was evil and called her the Wicked Witch of the West which Elphaba kept simply becuase it was amusing to her.  Upon Dorothy's arrival to Oz which resulted in the death of Nessarose, Elphaba went in pursuit of the red shoes that Glinda (nicknamed the Good Witch) cast a spell on to make Nessie stand unassisted.  Sadly, the measures Elphaba took to get Dorothy to her home were wicked indeed and in the end resulted in her accidental death at Dorothy's hand.

On a personal note, I feel the book has a good story line, however, the way in which it is written is difficult to read and follow.  There are scenes in the book that are even inapporpriate for my 30 year old self and could have easily been left out as they did not apply to the story line at all.  Along with that, some of the language and descriptions were crude and vulgar and again could have been left out.  While I am interested in the story that the next two books have to tell, I do not plan on reading them for fear of the same writing style, language, and sexual scenes.


  1. I actually enjoyed the writing style when I read this; I thought it was one of the better aspects. But I agree with you about the scenes that have little to do with the plot. This was a very difficult book for me to get through. I just couldn't bring myself to care enough about what was happening, even though I absolutely loved the stage musical.

  2. Your post is very helpful in terms of RA work - I would certainly not recommend this book to anyone who enjoys more of a gentle read than titles with shocking language and sexual descriptions. But if they do, have I got a winner!