Friday, September 15, 2006

88. "Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West" ~ Gregory Maguire

I love "what if" questions, especially as a method to create new ideas. In this case, Maguire asks, "What if the Wicked Witch of the West got a bum rap?"

Elphaba, born to a horrified mother and penitant vicar-father, is green, mouthy, irritable, yet completely stirs compassion in the reader. When she is forced to room with Galinda (who later becomes "Glinda") at school, she remains aloof, yet interesting, as opposed to her society-obsessed roommate.

While much of it is hysterical (the introduction has the Tin Man and the Lion arguing over whether she is a hermaphrodite or just a homewrecker), it has the potential to be overanalyzed. For example, there is a marked argument as to whether Animals (creatures who have evolved enough to speak, teach, etc.) should remain simply animals. Segregation theories? Abolishment of religious persecution? You may find it all here, though it doesn't make the book as entertaining.

Note: the book is very different than the musical; neither are appropriate for the kiddos.

4.0 out of 5.0 Red Witches.

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