The following is a book review by The Ameri Brit Mom. This is book #9 from The Ameri Brit Mom 24 Book Challenge in 2016. This post expresses the genuine opinion and experiences of The Ameri Brit Mom and is in no way endorsed by authors, publishers, or outside influences.
Author: Gregory Maguire
Publisher: Regan Books
Copyright Date: 1995
In honor of the recent announcement that Wicked has been approved to begin filming for a 2019 movie release I decided to give the book another shot. Growing up my favorite movie was The Wizard of Oz. By the age of three I knew all the lines and could reenact scene after scene for hours. Because of my love for the 1939 film I’ve always hoped to see the newer Broadway play Wicked. Over the past few years I’ve visited New York City several times, but have yet to see the play. I think it has something to do with not wanting to ruin my love for the original story line from the movie.
A few years back I got a copy of Wicked at a yard sale and had every intention of reading it. I got a few chapters in and thought, “Man, this is pretty weird stuff.” I proceeded to let it collect dust on my shelf, and eventually it was loaned out never to be returned.
However, with the announcement of the movie coming out in December of 2019 I decided to give the book another shot. My husband found a copy of the book at a Thrift Shop and I read the entire book this time over my English Holiday.
I hit the bulls eye during my first attempt at reading Wicked. It is weird with a capital “W.”
Elphaba Thropp is more than just the Wicked Witch of the West; she is the misunderstood assassin from Munchkinland. The story opens with the unusual situations surrounding the birth of Elphaba. From the beginning of her sad life she was introduced to the evil and prejudices of the world. Being a green infant born to a prestigious Munchkinlander family Elphaba is rejected by her mother. Her father was a traveling preacher. Which left her old Nanny to tend to her needs.
As a teenager Elphaba leaves behind her future palace in order to study at the prestigious Shiz University. It’s at the university where she meets Glinda, Boq, Fiyero, and many others. Fitting in is her initial struggle on campus, but during her understudy with Doctor Dillamond she begins to see the battle for the rights of Animals of Oz. (Animals–with a capital A– are those animals with a conscience and ability to perform the things of humans. They differ from animals–in the lowercase.)
A sad murder on the campus causes Elphaba to devote her life to the rights of Animals and the overthrow of the Wizard of Oz. And things go fairly smoothly for her until a house mysteriously lands on her sister, Nessarose. Nessarose is the paraplegic ruler of Munchkinland who leaves with her death the power of her kingdom to her sister, Elphaba. But her magical shoes which gave her the power to stand, although she lacked arms, were given to the Other World girl, Dorothy. (Got all that?)
This story is extremely in-depth. It tells the life of Elphaba in immense detail. From her birth to her death-by-water it seemed as though every moment was covered in this book. At times the book was a little weird like when Elphaba’s unionist father enters into a relationship with both his wife, Melena, and her lover, Turtle Heart. Also, apparently Elphaba has a son, Liir, who she doesn’t even remember giving birth to. But beyond the strange twists and turns there are a few good messages to the story. The first of those being not to judge others. Elphaba has been branded a Wicked Witch because of her pursuit of Dorothy, however, in this book the size of Elphaba’s heart is portrayed in the way she helps Animals and loves those dearest to her.
I would probably not recommend this book to those who dislike science fiction or who reluctantly read. If I’m being honest, it was the hardest book I’ve read in a long time. The book was 406 long pages and there were times where I was so lost I had to reread sections again. This book is truer to the book The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum than to the 1939 film, so it would also be helpful to have read the book. In the end, I’m glad I read Wicked because I now feel prepared to see the play or the movie. I’m excited to see how Oz and Elphaba are portrayed in film.
The Ameri Brit Mom