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Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (Wicked Years (Paperback)) Paperback – 25 Sep 2004

4.0 out of 5 stars 310 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; musical tie-in ed edition (25 Sept. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060745908
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060745905
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 2.8 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (310 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,367,862 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

The stunning novel that casts a spell over every reader and inspired a phenomenally successful musical

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Gregory Maguire is the New York Times bestselling author of Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister; Lost; Mirror Mirror; and the Wicked Years, a series that includes Wicked, Son of a Witch, A Lion Among Men, and Out of Oz. Now a beloved classic, Wicked is 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.

Douglas Smith is Professor of Mathematics at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Dr. Smith's fields of interest include Combinatorics / Design Theory (Team Tournaments, Latin Squares, and applications), Mathematical Logic, Set Theory, and Collegiate Mathematics Education.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, Gregory Maguire has written a novel that deals with the life of Elphaba, an emerald-green skinned young woman who was born into the family of a preacher and his wife in Munchkinland. Elphaba's family are not Munchkinlanders, however, and Elphaba grows up knowing more than she ever wanted to know about persecution and alienation. As a result, she becomes somewhat introverted, rebellious and yes, a little wicked.
When we all root for Dorothy as she triumphs over the Wicked Witch of the West in Frank Baum's Oz tales, we seem to forget that we are only hearing Dorothy's side of the story. There is more to Elphaba than wickedness and Maguire proves it as he chronicles Elphaba's odyssey through the land of Oz.
What makes Wicked such a special book is the fact that Maguire has written a story that challenges our preconceived notions of what, exactly, is good and what, exactly, is evil, with the character of Elphaba at the heart of the matter. Although Dorothy does make an appearance near the end of the book, it really isn't necessary to know anything about her or the Baum stories to understand and appreciate Wicked.
In Wicked, we follow the life of Elphaba as we learn what shaped her personality, what it really means to be a witch and how things are not always as we think them to be or even as we want them to be. The characters in Wicked are fully-fleshed out and believable. Besides Elphaba, there is her university roommate, Glinda; Boq, the lovelorn Munchkin; Fiyero, a tribal prince from the primitive West of Oz; and Nessarose, Elphaba's beautiful and witchy sister.
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Format: Hardcover
Occasionally there are those ideas that seem so blindingly obvious, so clever but clear that you just wish you had thought of them first. And so it is with Gregory Maguire’s work. Take a familiar, well loved tale or folk story, and turn it on its head. Postmodernism comes hurtling against the Brother’s Grimm in a truly startling smash. Wicked is the sugary sweet tale of the Wizard of Oz told from the perspective of the Wicked Witch of the West.
Rather than the insufferably precocious and wide-eyed Dorothy we get to enjoy the life story of Elphaba, and Maguire weaves an impressive narrative to fill in the gaps in the original tale. Why did the wicked witch want the shoes Dorothy had stolen so much? Why was she green? And why do they have to sing? Maguire answers (nearly) all these questions in a book that is far more than a take off of the original. It is an entirely independent world, forged out of the idea of Oz but seen through very different eyes.
And so we have the witch’s birth, the explanation of her struggles through university, and the complex socio-political order of Oz. The strife with the Emerald City, the oppression of the Animals (those beasts who possessed personality and speech), and the true nature of Munchkinlanders is all laid bare. And most importantly a deep and moving story of the witch’s own transformation is told. She loves, and loses. She has deep political concerns, and is betrayed. By the end of the book we are unsurprised by her bitterness, and her untimely demise at the hands of Dorothy is a moment of sadness rather than the joyous victory of ‘good over evil’.
Essentially the novel is a very well written story, and should provoke interest from anyone who has read the original or seen the movie.
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By xenofan VINE VOICE on 1 Oct. 2007
Format: Paperback
It was with much anticipation that I settled down to begin Wicked. It seemed to be exactly my kinda thing - a retelling of a classic, from the "bad guy's" point of view.

I wasn't sure what to think at first. There were some overly crude sexual referrances which were a bit too much, even for me (seemed a bit unnecessary) and the writing was... wordy. But the characters were interesting, and the concept alone kept me hooked, hoping to be impressed.

It's just that not really all that much seems to happen in this book. Many of the major events actually happen off-stage, even though they concern the main characters. Whole chunks of time are skipped, often leaving me feeling like I've missed out after discovering what happened during those gaps. I was left with too many questions unanswered, and feeling like I'd been cheated out of a few hours of my time: the book could have been told in half the pages. There were a lot of events that just seemed... pointless, never to really go anywhere or be resolved or explained. Perhaps that's just meant to be a reflection of how life really is, - not everything ever gets resolved or makes that much sense - but I don't read books to put up with yet more of "real life".

I'm of the opinion this might be one of those love it or hate it things. I will not go so far as to say I hated it, because I was at least able to find it interesting enough to read through to the end. But I didn't find the whole effort very rewarding. And I won't be reading this book again.
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