Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Book Review - Wicked, The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

by Gregory Maguire

"Very close to being an instant classic.....Maguire has hit a home run his first time at bat." Memphis Commercial Appeal

I guess when I read that review I should have considered the source. Memphis Commercial Appeal?? Sounds like a legal firm for Elvis's TV.

All I can say about it is this: it was a strange odd trip reading this book and having heard the musical of Wicked is wonderful, the music fantastic, I'm having a hard time reconciling the fact that the book is so bizarre. Whoever wrote the screen play must of left out most of the original contents.

Some good points -

The plot and story lines started out interesting enough. I thought it original and fun, wondering how did that old bat begin and how did she get so bad. Unfortunately, you don't find out until the end and she's really not so bad after all. What??

The description and background of the main characters, the landscape they arise from and why they do what they do, and did in the original story was detail rich and overflowed with imagination. Maguire gave it serious thought. He's very good at description, making you feel part of the story, sucking you in so to speak, whether I wanted to or not.

Elphaba (the witch) is very well written. She has all the best lines and scenes. The book covers her life from its inception to its watery end, trying to explain everything in between. I thought it a great concept, at first.....

The problems:

From the very beginning you can tell this book's not for kids or even teens, which is a shame, they could have benefited from its 'moral' lessons. He makes it very adult from the start, dwelling too much on the sexual side of things. I thought it unnecessary and in some scenes, just too plain weird. It pulled me out of the story, trying to figure out what he was talking about.

From the second half on, I was bored out of my mind. It became more of a monkey on my back than an enjoyable read. By the end, I just didn't care, which is a problem since its lessons are taught in its very conclusion. And it does conclude, sort of.

Did anyone really love this book that's not from Memphis? And by love I mean, would you ever read it again? That's my litmus test when it comes to books I've read. They take up so much of my precious time, they'd better be worth the effort. On a scale of 1-10, I give this one a 4. Anything below a 5 will probably never be under my long green nose again.

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