A Wicked Review

Hello Everyone and welcome to the first post of Jess Witkins’ Wicked Blog!  All month long get your fix for the hauntings and paranormal stories you love.  Here’s the line-up:  Mondays will be All Things Wicked (book reviews, movies, Halloween Parties, costumes, etc.), Wednesdays will be Ghost Stories, read at your own risk, and don’t turn off the lights, and Fridays will continue to alternate between Guilty Pleasures – featuring my favorite things about fall, and Life List Club Guest Posts – helping you achieve the best YOU!

     To start off today I have a WICKED review for you about Gregory Maguire‘s witchy tale, Wicked.  Everyone knows the story of Dorothy and her dog, Toto.  She landed in Oz, killed the Wicked Witch of the East, obtained her magic ruby red slippers and set off on a journey that would forever change her life.  But what of the other witch?  The Wicked Witch of the West.  No one knows her story, not yet.

Wicked chronicles the coming of age of Elphaba Thropp – our Wicked Witch.  Born green as grass with razor-edge teeth to a holier than thou father and a trollop of a mother, Elphie is a creature of her circumstances.  She was shut out for her color, and disliked for her independence, nonetheless she showed grave responsibility for her family, which included a younger sister, Nessarose, who was born with no arms, and a brother, Shell.

Said to hiss like a dragon and piss on the floor gleefully, she was a terror in her toddler years.  When college came around and found her attending Shiz University, a whole new world was opened up to Elphaba.  For starters, how would you like to have Galinda Goodie-Too-Shoes for a roommate?  That’s right Galinda.

Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz

Things get witchier and wickeder when Elphaba uncovers information that the Great and Powerful Oz has plans of genocide for the Animals.  You see, in Oz there are both Animals and animals.  The Animals have learned the ability to speak, study, raise young ones, teach, work, and act rather humanely.

Maguire has cast a spell with his prequel story to The Wizard of Oz.  Readers learn more parts to the original story, such as when did the Cowardly Lion and the Wicked Witch of the West first meet.  And why the Tin Man despises her so.  All your favorite characters return, from Munchkins to Flying Monkeys, and there are even more, tik tok things and painted soldiers of the tall grasses.  Make no mistake, Maguire’s tale is more than a yellow brick walk through your childhood’s favorite story.  The book, Wicked, is a dark tale.  It’s full of intrigue, affairs, murders, espionage, deceit, hallucinations, and of course, magic.

Gregory Maguire

Gregory Maguire has written several books enlightening us on otherwise adult versions of classic fairytales.  You can check out the other titles at his website.  His inspiration for writing this story came about after reading newspaper headlines in London at the start of the Gulf War.  The ideas began to form around a story of the nature of evil, and who’s more wicked than the Wicked Witch of the West?

Many of you have probably seen the broadway musical version of Wicked which starred Idina Menzel as Elphaba and Kristin Chenoweth as Glinda.  I will warn you the book is, as I said, very dark and for mature audiences.  When the book was adapted to the stage, that was the first thing needing to be addressed.  The plot was subdued and made appropriate for larger audiences.  From what I’ve seen in his author interviews, Maguire seems alright with the changes, after all, didn’t he take the same liberties from the story of L. Frank Baum?

Are you curious about the real story of the Wicked Witch of the West?  Who’s the most evil character you can think of?  What made them wicked? 

Tune in again wednesday for a chillingly true ghost story!  Happy October!

25 responses

  1. The book sounds a bit like the film sequel Return to Oz, that was pretty scary too! I quite like new versions of stories but they have to bring a unique twist or they’re a bit pointless I suppose!

    1. Um, that one is totally scary. Dorothy gets shock treatments in the beginning of it. And she’s played by Fairuza Balk who is eerie too. I mean that movie and then The Craft. *light as a feather, stiff as a board, light as a feather, stiff as a board*

  2. I look forward to this Wicked month of October!

    1. Yay! Me too!

  3. I look forward to your different posts for the days of the week as well! Good review of his book.

    1. Thanks Patti! Looking forward to your comments, I really appreciate them!

  4. Oh my gosh, I LOVED Wicked (book, never seen the play). If you haven’t, you should read Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister next. I loved it even more than Wicked. It’s awesome!

    1. I’ve been curious about his other works. I’m eager to hear from those that have read the other Oz books, Son of a Witch and A Lion Among Men. What have you heard?

  5. I’m looking forward to your October line-up. Strangey, I’ve never read Wicked. Not because I don’t think it sounds good, but because I just never got around to it. So many books, so little time. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

    1. Don’t feel bad. I bought this one a year ago after seeing the musical and just now boosted it to the front of the list. How about I remind you every now and then…Catie, have you read Wicked yet? Turn off the Vampire Diaries and go read 3 chapters! LOL

  6. Oh, I LOVE this trailer! Thanks for putting it up, Jess. I’ve seen a Talent Co. production of the play (would love to see the Broadway version!) and have the soundtrack from the Broadway play. I have the book and I’ve just begun reading it. The opening pages got me hooked, but I think I was hooked before I cracked it open.

    Love this month’s theme and can’t wait to see all that you come up with…I’ll bet lots of research is going to all these posts!

    1. Oooh can’t wait to hear what you think of the book. The beginning is really strong, I thought. Loved learning about Elphaba as a toddler. It slowed down for me a bit 4/5 of the way through (I know how precise of me…LOL) but it does get better at the end again, so stick with it. All in all, unique writing style for the story and interesting side stories.

  7. I’ve heard if you read the book Wicked while playing Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here, the scenes are perfectly synchronized.

    1. LOL Ok I had to laugh, cause I did play Dark Side of the Moon while watching The Wizard of Oz, and it’s positively uncanny I tell you! *do do do do, do do do do*

  8. I really enjoyed Wicked- but I will never be able to watch The Wizard of Oz without thinking on the conspiracy- kind of like when I read the Mists of Avalon- it ruined King Aurthur stories for me.

    1. I just went to see The Wizard of Oz at our local community theater in town and I still enjoyed the story. It’s an interesting comparison, one being Dorothy’s perspective and one being Elphaba’s.

  9. I’ve read all the Wicked books and seen the musical a couple times. I loved it! Did you hear that Maguire has another Oz book coming out?

    1. I hadn’t. How interesting. What did you think of the other Oz books? I’m curious.

  10. I read Wicked many years ago and loved it – this made me want to hunt down my copy and read it again!

    1. Just another example of why I love you so much and alternately why we have so much in common it’s WICKED fun!

  11. […] Jess Witkins brings us A Wicked Review. […]

  12. […] week I shared with you my Wicked review about the story of the Wicked Witch of the West.  Today I wanted to share some ideas for throwing […]

  13. I’m ashamed. I didn’t even know there was a prequel to The Wizard of Oz, one of my favorite movies growing up. I haven’t seen, but at least I knew about, the Wicked play on Broadway. A few years ago it was traveling around but I didn’t get the opportunity to see it (Kristen Chenowith is amazing, BTW).

    I’m adding Maguire’s book to my list! Thanks, Jess. 🙂

    1. I like the musical more, but the book is interesting. And I agree, Kristen Chenoweth is totally amazing!

  14. […] witches?  Personally, I’m a big fan of witches, which is why when Jess Witkins published A Wicked Review of Gregory Maguire’s Wicked (prequel to The Wizard of Oz), I was wickedly […]

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