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

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

by Gregory Maguire

HarperCollins | September 25, 2007 | Mass Market Paperbound

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West is rated 3.375 out of 5 by 24.

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.Wickedis 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 a victim of domestic violence. And then there is the little green-skinned girl named Elphaba, who will grow up to be 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.

Format: Mass Market Paperbound

Dimensions: 560 pages, 6.75 × 4.19 × 1.12 in

Published: September 25, 2007

Publisher: HarperCollins

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0061350966

ISBN - 13: 9780061350962

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Totally different from the play, but still good My daughter read this for a high school English class after seeing the musical and loving it. She likes the book equally well as the musical, although they are completely different and not comparable at all. She really liked the way the author uses words to describe some things; it's really creative.
Date published: 2015-05-18
Rated 1 out of 5 by from A Wickedly Hideous Take on the Wizard of Oz In a nutshell, Gregory Maguire's book is the reason we have copyright law. While the writing is vivid, the book reeks of political opportunism and thematic banter that all but spoils the fun of the original L. Frank Baum story and the classic 1939 film. The takes on the Wicked Witch of the West, Glinda, and Oz are just plain weird and take way too many brazen liberties, that just don't mesh with the original story. I picked up the book in the hopes of watching the Broadway musical - I think I might just go take my chances with Sam Raimi's Oz the Great & Powerful instead, or better yet, just go back and enjoy the old 1939 film.
Date published: 2013-05-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not what I expected As far as fairy tales are concerned, adults recall them to be simple moral stories of how things go wrong if you want the wrong things. As fond of them as adults may be, the stories aren't often dissected, interpreted, or believed in for much farther than that. Maguire does not intend to create a pretty or perfect world. It seems rather, that he intends to take the perfect pretty worlds we are used to, and turns them into something we hate recognizing about ourselves. He fills his pages full of the things humans refuse to admit about themselves and in several cases he actually makes us sympathize with characters who we as children once hated. It's easier to believe that there is a very blatant line between good and evil, do or don't do. In reality if things were so simple, wouldn't human beings find less struggles? I love Wicked. The once negatively portrayed green queen of evil from Oz is thrown into very sad situations, situations that seem so bizarre and yet, she feels things the same way we all do. It allowed me, to look at people I had once considered enemies, and see they had human nature built into them long before they became my "enemies", they had feelings that led them to wherever they happen to be now.
Date published: 2012-02-22
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Not Impressed I have always been a huge fan of The Wizard of Oz. This is not the book I thought it was going to be. I'm 150 pages in and I can hardly stand to go on. Nothing is happening! I think it is easily the most pretentious book I've ever read. I will probably only finish it because I paid money for it, but really, where was the editor in this? The 150 pages i've read so far could have been cut down by at least 70. I appreciate setting a tone, but there is such a thing as going to far. I really would NOT recomend this book!
Date published: 2011-04-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely 'Wicked' “Wicked” by Gregory Maguire is a book about the life of the Wicked Witch of the West from L.F. Baum's book “The Wizard of Oz”. Both books are political satyrs and use interesting storylines to convoy their message, but that's where their similarities end. Gregory Maguire conveys a 'just because we think someone is evil doesn't mean that they are' type of message, while also introducing a curropt government run by the Wizard of Oz. I personally enjoyed the book quite alot and I recommend it to anyone whos looking for a good political book to read. The one thing I didn't like about it was that the author didn't seem to bring Elphaba's love of animals and the books 'Animals' to the main storyline as much as it should have. This would have really allowed the reader to connect with Elphaba more. What I really enjoyed about the book is that its concept was to make us think about how we can label something as evil before we know anything about it. This was a really interesting idea that I enjoyed to read about. Overall I really enjoyed Wicked and I believe that many people should try to read this book if they have the chance. 9/10
Date published: 2010-12-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent - A must read! This is his best book! This book has everything.
Date published: 2010-09-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Read! This is the first novel by Gregory Maguire that I've read, and I can't wait to begin the next! I was expecting an enjoyable read, but what I got was truly exceptional. The only time I was even remotely bored with this story was towards the very end; I felt that the last section could have gone a bit faster - but I would still read it again - the horizons of my imagination have been stretched just a bit further in reading it ;)
Date published: 2010-07-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wicked: the title of this book is self-explanatory. Everyone has seen the Wizard of Oz. Well, if not, then you have heard of the infamous Wicked Witch of the West from somewhere, and that's where this brilliant novel comes into play. The story is about a little green-skinned girl named Elphaba, who is shunned by society and was practically forced to become such a strong person so she can defy all limits, with not only people, but gravity itself. Gregory Maguire has created a truly superfluous image of Oz-where Animals are pushed downwards in society because they are not quite human externally, the Wizard is a devious man who shouldn't have been given such a high place in Oz's government, and Evil is present in ways you never thought possible. A truly fantastic book, it is heartwarming and heartbreaking not at the same time, but at random intervals, weaving in and out of characters throughout the entire novel. A fantasic read. I give this novel, and Gregory Maguire, one completely opened umbrelly, as opposed to a quarter opened, half opened, of three quarter opened umbrella.
Date published: 2010-05-24
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Definitely a Disappointment Wicked Gregory MacGuire In this telling MacGuire decides to tell the tale of the Wizard of Oz from the point of view of the Wicked Witch of the West, and how she has a tragically misunderstood life, right from her childhood and through her adulthood. Great premise, and it should have been great book, but sadly it wasn't Maybe, I was just not getting the book, I thought it was going to be uproariously funny, and it totally missed the boat. But, then again humor is hard to get across with the written word alone. It lacks the timing, the tonal inflections and facial cues a good comedian or actor can use to punctuate the words. I am not sure I will read more of Macguire's book, and I do have the access to them, as a friend is a huge fan of his work. I am not even sure if I will see the play they have inspired. I am sure I will see the movie this will surely inspire, to see if the right producer/director combination can make it as great as Neil Gaiman's Stardust or Goldman's The Princess Bride. Perhaps, my expectations were to high for this, that they could not possibly have lived up to it. But, I still feel that the premise gives the book the potential to be so much more, and to me it isn't. Maybe, if the humor came across more, and it was less that a tragedy, I would have enjoyed it more. Well not everything will meet everyone's taste.
Date published: 2010-03-02
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Interesting The concept is great, but I also found the book too political. It made it hard to continue at times.I may read something else by the author, but I am a little reluctant to.
Date published: 2009-11-11
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Review: Wicked Overall, I thought this book was just okay. I couldn't really get into it. I think its because I'm not a big fan of stories that take place in other worlds that are quite different. My imagination just isn't that great. I found that a lot of the time I was rather lost at what was going on. It took me almost two months to finally finish this book because I just couldn't convince myself to read it. But that being said, I still would like to see the broadway musical so that I can compare the two. I like seeing books I've read being brought to life.
Date published: 2009-02-28
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not As Great As I thought It wasn't what I thought it would be like. I found at parts it dragged way too much. I also found the book to have too much of a political feel to it. The only parts of this book I liked was before the girls went to school, and then the ending when Dorthy came in. other then that I found this book hard to stay interested in.
Date published: 2008-12-29
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Too Political I was surprised that Wicked didn't live up to my expectations, considering all the wonderful things I heard about it from people who have read it. I found the concept pretty interesting--the "there is always the other side of the story" thing--but the way the story is constructed falls short. There are way too many political and religious stuff going on that were confusing and frankly, not too interesting. The book is divided into sections, and to make it even more confusing, Maguire skips further into the plot at the opening of each section, leaving the last thing you read hanging there, waiting for you to figure it out yourself in the next section of the book. I think he did a good job with the character of the wicked witch though, making me sympathize with her easily. I was expecting something life changing that would make her really wicked, but even near the end, I don't see any of his characters falling into the roles of the original story of Oz. I still had a hard time seeing how she was "wicked" at all, or Dorothy and everyone else could fear her so much, and I definitely didn't see how Glinda could even be considered the good and innate witch. She still seemed equally spoiled and vain as her childhood days. I thought this book had no climax at all, and it was only near the end that I finally had a hint of what the previous 400 pages or so was on about. There are a lot of images and symbols that are important throughout this book, which I didn't get at all. I guess you have to read slowly to analyze each aspect of the book to fully understand what is going on. If those are the types of books that appeal to you, then this should definitely be on your list of books to read.
Date published: 2008-12-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Great Book, even better musical I wasn't sure I'd enjoy reading this book but I loved it. We all know the story of the Wizard of Oz but Mcguire takes us on a journey of the other side of the story. Why was the Wicked Witch of the West viewed the way she was? Was it deserved? Everybody's take on a situation is different so to see the other side of The Wizard of Oz characters is wonderful. After reading the book and hearing about the musical I was wondering how the two would work together but it is amazing.
Date published: 2008-09-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Before it all Perhaps a little rough around the edges, but overall an enjoyable read. WIth a little imagination and a lot of creativity this novel idea can quickly form in your head. The story unfolds as though reading a memory....it is quite simple to relate snippets of the Wizard of Oz story. Truly the greatest appreciation of all is to read the book then to see it come to life on stage through a stunning beauty (Carmen Cusack) playing Elphaba.
Date published: 2008-08-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A must read, one of my favs!! This is a fantastic re-imagining of an American classic. Wicked expands the realm of Oz in a way that takes the story past that of a conventional fantasy novel and transforms the characters and events into reflections of what has happened in human history. With the popularity of Wicked hopefully we will see this world built upon. Wicked is totally in my top ten and is a great read even if you don't like fantasy.
Date published: 2008-06-19
Rated 2 out of 5 by from "Wicked "...or Not. Ok, I really wanted to say I was blown away by Wicked, but I wasn't. ..not even a little bit. I found that it was really slow. Kudos to Gregory Maguire for taking an interesting stance or point of view on the Wicked Witch of the West, and actually asking what her story would be. I expected more though. Unfortunately I was really turned off by all the politics of Oz, the lengthly sections on the Witch's childhood which didn't lend much understanding and frankly were quite boring. I was much more interested in the dynamic relationship of Galinda (who becomes Glinda the "good witch") and our "Wicked Witch" Elphaba, and the origin of her flying monkeys, but this made up only a small bit of the story. I wish Maguire had expanded more upon these subjects. For those of you who like complex political satirical novels with a dash of the odd, then you'll probably love this book...sadly, I was left disappointed. I really wonder how this book became the basis of a broadway musical.
Date published: 2008-04-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wickedly imaginative! This book was highly imaginative! It is cleverly written and I love that the Wicked Witch of the West is not evil but merely misunderstood! Great detail has been taken in writing this story and it pays off in creating a whole new dimension to fictional OZ. I have recently purchased Son of a Witch and can hardly wait to start it. Clicking my heels together now - there's no place like OZ!
Date published: 2008-01-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Wicked? Kinda I suppose this was an alright read...I might have enjoyed it more had I been particularly interested in the Wizard of Oz to begin with. It was also kind of strange to see a children's story used in a novel with many adult themes in it. It was well-written, I just don't think it was for me. Perhaps it would be better for those who are into fantasy fiction?
Date published: 2008-01-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Vividly detailed and well written This is the story of the Wicked Witch of the West, in all her grandeur, prior to meeting Dorothy on that fateful day. We meet her crazy family in a twisted tapestry of religion and infidelity and follow her through childhood and into University life. Gregory Maguire creates such a vivid picture of Oz that is rich with architecture, politics, love, philosophy, remorse and so much more. This is truely a wonderful piece of work. My only qualm is that I found the monotoned narration to dull what few exciting events took place, making the book drag on a bit. Still, I gave this book an extra star for the intelligent structure and amazing detail Maguire gives to this fantasy land and to Elphaba. She's not wicked - she's beaten, bitter and exhausted. Definitely worth a read for something different.
Date published: 2008-01-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great for Everyone! This novel was truly wonderful. I think that anyone who loved fairy tales as a child will love this adults story about a childhood favourite. Gregory Maguire has really created a new niche for himself in the adult fiction sector with his easy to follow story about the Wicked Witch of the West. His characters are really well developed and complex. I would recommend this novel to anyone!
Date published: 2008-01-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting This book was a good read, and gave a nice new twist onto a classic tale. Some of the story felt like it was unnecessary and filler, but if you are a person who wonders about the villans in tales and why they do the things they do then this is the book for you.
Date published: 2007-12-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well researched! The entire series of retold fairy tales by Maguire is a must for anyone who is still a kid at heart. Although I would not recommend these for children, they are alive with history and rich characters that go to great lengths to further explain our favorite stories.
Date published: 2007-10-08
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Lacked Magic for Me I found Wicked tough slogging. It's a neat idea--devoting a novel to the backstory behind the Wicked Witch but I found it crude and a little like making your way through a muddy bog wearing goalie pads.
Date published: 2007-09-30

– More About This Product –

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

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

by Gregory Maguire

Format: Mass Market Paperbound

Dimensions: 560 pages, 6.75 × 4.19 × 1.12 in

Published: September 25, 2007

Publisher: HarperCollins

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0061350966

ISBN - 13: 9780061350962

About the Book

This "New York Times" bestseller--the basis of the Tony Award]-winning musical "Wicked"--introduces Elphaba, a smart, prickly, and misunderstood creature who will grow up to become the infamous Wicked Witch of the West in Oz. Now, her side of the story is told.

From the Publisher

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.Wickedis 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 a victim of domestic violence. And then there is the little green-skinned girl named Elphaba, who will grow up to be 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.

About the Author

Gregory Maguire is theNew York Timesbestselling author ofConfessions of an Ugly Stepsister; Lost; Mirror Mirror;and the Wicked Years, a series that includesWicked, Son of a Witch, A Lion Among Men,andOut of Oz. Now a beloved classic,Wickedis the basis for a blockbuster Tony Award–winning Broadway musical. Maguire has lectured on art, literature, and culture both at home and abroad. He lives with his family near Boston, Massachusetts.

Editorial Reviews

"Amazing novel." (John Updike, The New Yorker)