I’ve been trying to get through this book since last summer, and THANK GOD ON HIGH I finally finished it last night.  Given that Wicked was popular with both critics and lay people, AND the fact that there’s a wildly successful stage play associated with it, I figured this book couldn’t possibly disappoint.  And yet…

First—and I say this as a person who holds a BA in literature—the themes/motifs were all. over. the. place.  Animal rights, “otherness”, gender, good v. evil, and religion were the major players underlying the plot.  And when I say underlying I mean thinly veiled by a meandering story.  I kept thinking, he’s not really talking about animal rights or religion.  He wouldn’t be that obvious.  But he is.  So much so that at times the story appeared to be merely a vehicle for positing his theories on that laundry list of Big Questions.  Even then, I’m not sure what his theories are.  It all seemed a bit pointless.  I never could figure out where he stood on any of the issues, except the animal rights one.  He also seemed to jump from theme to the next without any clear transition.  Like the animal rights issue.  It’s all over the first half of the book and then you don’t hear one single word about it until the last 40 pages or so.  It’s like he thought, “oh yeah!  I still need one more animal right allusion to make quota…”

Second, this book was toooooooooooooo long.  The editor should have worked harder to reign in Gregory Maguire’s meanderings.  I know I used that word about three sentences ago, but that’s what it felt like.  He was rambling through his thoughts with me as the unfortunate tag-along.

Finally, this book told me absolutely nothing (save a few gossip-worthy details) about the Wicked Witch of the West that I couldn’t have figured out on my own.  If it had ever crossed my mind to consider how the Witch ended up so Wicked, I could’ve saved myself the 406 pages and chalked her behavior up to the classic “little girl lost”.  Poor WWW, she was so misunderstood and mistreated.  Now she doesn’t know how to behave as an adult because she grew up with a very unsatisfying home life.  It’s the story half of the current prison population could blame their troubles on, and quite frankly I expected more out of a book that received so much critical praise.

My advice:  See the musical.  I hear it’s fantastic.  But then again, that’s what they said about the book.



  1. Chicklit said,

    April 7, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    Now I don’t feel so alone in my dislike of the book. I tried reading it when it was all the rave and I just could not make it to the second chapter.

  2. ash said,

    April 7, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    you seriously write the best book reviews. will you write mine for me on my blog? 🙂 i’m surprised you ever finished the book, sounds awful. 🙂 haha

  3. MrsMonkey said,

    April 8, 2008 at 4:54 am

    I had such a hard time with this book, too! I’ve read a couple of other books by the same author, and liked them much better.

  4. Larisa said,

    April 9, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    Wow. I have a friend who thought it was wonderful. That makes it 3 against 1… I’ll still give it a try though. 🙂

  5. abbysmom1005 said,

    April 10, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    I have this book sitting in my, extremely large, to read pile. Huh, might have to rethink that one, or at the very least put it WAY at the bottom.

  6. slightlycheaperthantherapy said,

    April 10, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    I just re-read this and thought “whoa…that whole ‘as a person who holds a BA in literature’ thing sounds kinda snotty.” I wasn’t trying to sound like a know it all. Promise! I just meant that I spent the better part of 4 years picking out themes, motifs, literary tools/methods, etc., and because I’ve done it so much in the past, I can’t help but do it when I read books for fun now. That part of the book might not bug the rest of you. 🙂

  7. MC said,

    July 23, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    I’m (finally) reading the copy you loaned me. This month’s book club was a piece of cake, so I had time.
    My review thus far…pleh.
    Although, I’m loving that the WW of the W was the daughter of a total munchkin slut.

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