Friday, October 31, 2008

Wicked, book review

Posted by lea at 3:18 PM
Hmm, must say I'm rather disappointed with this book. It's alright in its own way, but certainly not worth all the hype that's followed it. I got bored about two-thirds of the way through and just wanted to race through it to the end.

A lot of the hype surrounding the book has related to its discussion on the question of evil, and whether it's really what we think it is, but rather than touching on the philosophical question of the nature of evil, Wicked actually just re-interprets the story of Oz and turns the widely believed perceptions of the characters upside down. The 'Wicked Witch of the West' is actually just a passionate and idealistic young woman called Elphaba who becomes an Animal-activist and political hermit, often misunderstood because of her unfortunate green skin. She's always the outsider, aligning herself with the disenfranchised and maligned. The 'Wizard of Oz' in Wicked is a power-monger and usurper from another world, while Dorothy is simply a farm girl from Kansas who gets caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

There are a lot of characters introduced in the book and a variety of events that don't seem to serve any purpose. The plot wearies on and on... Gregory Maguire builds a lot of expectation and hype around some characters and items like the enchanted shoes, the old witch Yackle, the midget and the time clock that, much like his book, don't actually go anywhere.

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