Wicked, the Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the East is a fantasy book by Gregory Maguire. It follows the life of the Wicked Witch, the character from the Wizard of Oz, from her birth to her death, or her pseudo-death. It also explores the question the nature of good and evil.
The main character is, of course, the Wicked Witch, Elphaba. She is born green, with really sharp teeth, and afraid of water. When she gets near water, she just gets really scared, and when she cries or a couple drops of water get on her it burns her. When she is still young her father, who is a minister, decides they will move to the Quadling country to try to convert the people there to the faith of the Unknown God. Elphaba is described many times throughout the book as “prickly.” She is intelligent, and likes to get people to think. She is also convinced that she doesn’t posses a soul, in part to thwart her father’s religious convictions, and partly because she truly believes she doesn’t.
Then, there is Galinda. She meets Elphaba at boarding school in the town of Shiz, where they are paired as roommates. Galinda acts like a ditz but is actually quite smart. She is obsessed with becoming popular, until Doctor Dillamond dies. Then she becomes a little more serious and disenchanted with her old friends.
Doctor Dillamond is a Goat. Animals, with capital A’s, are treated as full human citizens until the Wizard arrives. They are able to speak and take part in society, but the Wizard passes bans on travel and employment. Doctor Dillamond is working on an important scientific experiment to show that there is no difference between Animal and human tissue, and therefore the bans could also apply to humans. He makes a major breakthrough, and then is murdered by Madame Morrible’s tick-tock machine. Madame Morrible is the headmistress of Shiz and works for the Wizard.
Nessarose, Elphaba’s sister, is born without arms. She is annoyingly religious, and her fathers’ favorite. Elphaba once says about her: “If she ever comes down off that plinth--the one that has words written on it along the edges in gold, reading MOST SUPERIOR IN MORAL RECTITUDE--if she ever allows herself the be the b**** she really is, she’ll be the B**** of the East.” She becomes the Wicked Witch of the East. Fiyero is a prince from the Vinkus, the west of Oz. He meets Elphaba, Galinda, and Ness...
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...tuff in it, plus swears, plus just random erotic bits in the most harmless looking chapters. Seriously, if my mom had actually read the book she would freak out about the content. However, if you are mature enough to stand it, and your parents won’t get mad at you, I would recommend this book to anyone who has read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz or seen the movie and wondered about the other side of the story. I liked the way Wicked was written, but let me warn you to read it very carefully, because almost every chapter has little things that you don’t see the first time you read it, but by the second or third reading those little details give the book a whole new dimension. I think the author’s purpose was to explore the possibility that the Witch wasn’t evil, just misunderstood. He did it in his other books, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister but not so much in Mirror, Mirror. He also wanted to make Oz seem real, with it’s own problems and quirks. I think that the discussion of the nature of good and evil, and whether Elphaba actually has a soul, came later, after he started the book. Again, this book was one of the best I have ever read, and if you do read it, I hope you enjoy it.
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