book review: wicked

Okay, so I’m some years behind the times (when was it that Dave and Andrea wanted to do up their front walk in emerald for Halloween?), but I just read Gregory Maguire’s Wicked. Which is what the musical was based on, not the other way around. There are no songs in the book. But it is about the Wicked Witch of the West and how she got that way.

It was a fairly fun read. There were many different points of view and interesting things happened, but it never really did what it claimed to on the back. There wasn’t any reappraisal of good and evil (I know, that seems like a big topic, but the back of the book claims that’s what this’d do). I mean, Elphaba, the wicked witch is sympathetic because she’s the main character. She’s misunderstood. All the stuff you’d expect her to be in the book about her instead of insipid little Dorothy.

I think there was room for it to be better. The last chunk of the book, which is what happens once Dorothy arrives, is very disappointing. There is no big climax. There’s the recap of a drunken discussion on the nature of evil, not even the actual discussion, just the aftermath of a dinner party in which everyone restates their opinions of what evil is. This was the thing that disappointed me most. It felt like here was the whole reason for writing the book and then it gets elided away. Then the Witch goes home and gets a bucket of water thrown on her. The End.

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