Wicked
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Wicked : The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

3.52 (530,593 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

This is the book that started it all! The basis for the smash hit Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, Gregory Maguire's breathtaking New York Times bestseller Wicked views the land of Oz, its inhabitants, its Wizard, and the Emerald City, through a darker and greener (not rosier) lens. Brilliantly inventive, Wicked offers us a radical new evaluation of one of the most feared and hated characters in all of literature: the much maligned Wicked Witch of the West who, as Maguire tells us, wasn't nearly as Wicked as we imagined.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 560 pages
  • 106 x 171 x 32mm | 268g
  • HarperCollins
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0061350966
  • 9780061350962
  • 13,222

Back cover copy

When Dorothy triumphed over the Wicked Witch of the West in L. Frank Baum's classic tale, we heard only her side of the story. But what about her arch-nemesis, the mysterious witch? Where did she come from? How did she become so wicked? And what is the true nature of evil?

Gregory Maguire creates a fantasy world so rich and vivid that we will never look at Oz the same way again. Wicked is about a land where animals talk and strive to be treated like first-class citizens, Munchkinlanders seek the comfort of middle-class stability and the Tin Man becomes a victim of domestic violence. And then there is the little green-skinned girl named Elphaba, who will grow up to be the infamous Wicked Witch of the West, a smart, prickly and misunderstood creature who challenges all our preconceived notions about the nature of good and evil.
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About Gregory Maguire

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.
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Rating details

530,593 ratings
3.52 out of 5 stars
5 25% (134,608)
4 29% (155,238)
3 25% (133,306)
2 13% (66,371)
1 8% (41,070)

Our customer reviews

This book was, in my opinion, very good. It explained the back-story on the Wicked Witch of the West in an ingenious way. I fell in love with the characters almost immediately. If you overlook the sexual references, you will find this books profound views on the nature of evil very enthralling. The one part that might dissuade you from reading this book is the somewhat boring political uprising hovering in the background. All in all, Wicked is a very good book.show more
by Sarah
It took me so long to finish reading this book and some parts felt like a chore. I don't enjoy this feeling since I am someone who can finish a book in one sitting. The book was too detailed and lengthy in certain parts. Too much details which didn't really add to the story. I also didn't really enjoy his style of writing, which can at times feel abrupt. A lot of parts were not developed fully. Towards the middle of the book, the objectives and motivations of the main characters seem to have been lost. The ending felt hanging (eventhough we know what happened to the Witch at the end) and seemed rushed. It was quite a disappointing end with no visible climax in any part of the book. However, I must point out that the author did a good job in confounding our views of good and evil and managed to convey the message that not everything is what it seems. So this book is a good 'other side' of the story of the Wizard of Oz.show more
by Yvonne
Clever plot, with original and thought-provoking themes, especially on the nature of evil. A couple of four-letter words and crude sexual descriptions, but excellently written nonetheless. Should be read in one sitting, as some minor characters flit in and out of the plot faster than you can recall them later. Very different to the musical, but just as magical. A work of literary genius.show more
by Laura
Have you ever read a popular book and wondered why it was so popular? That's exactly how I felt as I worked my way through WICKED. Actually, that's not entirely true. I know why it's a New York Times Bestseller. Part of it has to do with the reason I picked the book up in the first place. I expected a light, fairy tale-like story. It's based on a children's book. There's a Broadway musical about it. Sounds like it should be fun, right? Uh, not quite. I get the feeling, though, that a lot of people thought as I did and bought WICKED looking for an easy-to-read lead-up to THE WIZARD OF OZ. I wonder how many of them finished reading the book when they figured out the truth? Although to be fair, WICKED doubtless also owes some of its popularity to the fact that it's a well-written, literary novel that can be appreciated by well-read, literary-type people. Unfortunately, I'm really not one of those. Giving me a piece of deep, meaningful literature is like giving a copy of Hemingway's THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA to a manatee. In other words, I was disappointed. My disappointment was partly in the book for not fulfilling my expectations, and partly in myself for not being able to appreciate a quality literary effort. In case you've been living in a hollowed out tree for the last couple of years and haven't heard about the play, WICKED is the story of the Wicked Witch of the West and how she became the Wicked Witch of the West. The book delves far deeper into the witch's life and times than any musical could in only two hours, however. In the book version of WICKED, readers are introduced to the witch, whose real name is Elphaba, when she is first born. She's green and has dangerous, pointy teeth. Needless to say, she's not too popular with the other children. Even her parents aren't too sure about her. As the story progresses, we see Elphaba at college. She falls in with a number of fellow students, some of whom are more and others less accepting of the strange green girl. It's not just her skin color that's different, though. Elphaba thinks and acts differently than other people. And she has this aversion to water.... Well, we all know how that turns out for her. The book is an interesting departure from the Oz books, including such details as why the Cowardly Lion is able to talk, and the fact that everyone in Oz thought Dorothy's dog, Toto, was the most irritating thing to ever draw breath. I wish, however, that I could have liked some of the characters. No one was particularly likeable, as far as I was concerned. Even Elphaba, who readers should have had some sympathy for, seemed odd to me, and I never understood her motivation for anything she did. In other words, I could have gotten over the fact that she was green, but it really bothered me that she didn't act normal. Also, a word of warning: Even though these are essentially fairy tale characters, this book treats them like adults, complete with sex, swearing, and the occasional murder. Younger readers should steer clear, and older readers should be aware of what's in store here. In general, I recommend this book for OLDER readers who are huge fans of the Oz books or the Wicked play and want to go deeper. According to my husband, who is capable of appreciating fine literature, it also has literary merit. But for those of us who want to keep our memories of the Oz stories as sweet as the old Judy Garland film was, those readers might want to be careful around WICKED.show more
by TeensReadToo
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