Friday, February 22, 2008
Wicked by Gregory Maguire
I read this book cover to cover and for the first two days afterwards I couldn't even tell if I liked it or not.
The book is interesting, creative, and well thought out. I was intrigued by the histories, cultures, religion, and politics of the different ethnicities in Maguire's Oz. I particularly appreciated the way their many folktales offered an explanation for the various and incongruous accounts of the events and characters portrayed in the Baum books. I did not like the people of Maguire's Oz, however. I found them to be a morally bankrupt society on an apocalyptic level. The story was fraught with murder, intrigue, and sexual perversions of every sort. I found it offensive on many levels. It also took me a very long time to get into the story.
Elphaba, a.k.a.- the Wicked Witch of the West- goes through most of her life just trying to do what is right in spite of the wicked world in which she lives. She is constantly helping others and receives only the smallest portion of love from others in return. She is a tragic character and you hope that in the end she will go to some afterlife prepared for the inhabitants of Oz. This is not to be however, since there is no "After" for witches. Perhaps this is best, since it is her hope to cease a painful existance.
If this book were a movie, it would receive an "R"-rating at the very least. I understand that the musical is quite family friendly, so if you are interested in hearing the twist on the tale, I would buy tickets to a production and skip this one altogether.