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Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West Mass Market Paperback – Sep 25 2007

4.1 out of 5 stars 601 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
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  • Son Of A Witch: Volume Two in The Wicked Years
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  • A Lion Among Men: Volume Three in The Wicked Years
Total price: CDN$ 27.51
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; Reprint edition (Sept. 25 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061350966
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061350962
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.8 x 17.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 601 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #65,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Born with green skin and huge teeth, like a dragon, the free-spirited Elphaba grows up to be an anti-totalitarian agitator, an animal-rights activist, a nun, then a nurse who tends the dying?and, ultimately, the headstrong Wicked Witch of the West in the land of Oz. Maguire's strange and imaginative postmodernist fable uses L. Frank Baum's Wonderful Wizard of Oz as a springboard to create a tense realm inhabited by humans, talking animals (a rhino librarian, a goat physician), Munchkinlanders, dwarves and various tribes. The Wizard of Oz, emperor of this dystopian dictatorship, promotes Industrial Modern architecture and restricts animals' right to freedom of travel; his holy book is an ancient manuscript of magic that was clairvoyantly located by Madam Blavatsky 40 years earlier. Much of the narrative concerns Elphaba's troubled youth (she is raised by a giddy alcoholic mother and a hermitlike minister father who transmits to her his habits of loathing and self-hatred) and with her student years. Dorothy appears only near novel's end, as her house crash-lands on Elphaba's sister, the Wicked Witch of the East, in an accident that sets Elphaba on the trail of the girl from Kansas?as well as the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodsman and the Lion?and her fabulous new shoes. Maguire combines puckish humor and bracing pessimism in this fantastical meditation on good and evil, God and free will, which should, despite being far removed in spirit from the Baum books, captivate devotees of fantasy. 50,000 first printing; $75,000 ad/promo; first serial to Word; author tour.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

YA?Elphaba, the future Wicked Witch of the West, has gotten a bum rap. Her mother is embarrassed and repulsed by her bright-green baby with shark's teeth and an aversion to water. At college, the coed experiences disapproval and rejection by her roommate, Glinda, a silly girl interested only in clothes, money, and popularity. Elphaba is a serious and inquisitive student. When she learns that the Wizard of Oz is politically corrupt and causing economic ruin, Elphaba finds a sense of purpose to her life?to stop him and to restore harmony and prosperity to the land. A Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, and an unknown species called a "Dorothy" appear in very small roles... The story presents Elphaba in a sympathetic and empathetic manner-readers will want her to triumph! The conclusion, however, is the same as L. Frank Baum's. The book has both idealism and cynicism in its discussion of social, religious, educational, and political issues present in Oz, and, more pointedly, present in our day and time. The idealism is whimsical and engaging; the cynicism is biting. Sometimes the earthy language seems appropriate and adds to the sense of place; sometimes the four-letter words and sexual explicitness distract from the charm of the tale. The multiple threads to the plot proceed unevenly, so that the pace of the story jumps rather than moves steadily forward. Wicked is not an easy rereading of The Wizard of Oz. It is for good readers who like satire, and love exceedingly imaginative and clever fantasy.?Judy Sokoll, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Have you ever read a popular book and wondered why it was so popular? That's exactly how I felt as I worked my way through WICKED. Actually, that's not entirely true. I know why it's a New York Times Bestseller. Part of it has to do with the reason I picked the book up in the first place. I expected a light, fairy tale-like story. It's based on a children's book. There's a Broadway musical about it. Sounds like it should be fun, right? Uh, not quite. I get the feeling, though, that a lot of people thought as I did and bought WICKED looking for an easy-to-read lead-up to THE WIZARD OF OZ. I wonder how many of them finished reading the book when they figured out the truth?

Although to be fair, WICKED doubtless also owes some of its popularity to the fact that it's a well-written, literary novel that can be appreciated by well-read, literary-type people. Unfortunately, I'm really not one of those. Giving me a piece of deep, meaningful literature is like giving a copy of Hemingway's THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA to a manatee. In other words, I was disappointed. My disappointment was partly in the book for not fulfilling my expectations, and partly in myself for not being able to appreciate a quality literary effort.

In case you've been living in a hollowed out tree for the last couple of years and haven't heard about the play, WICKED is the story of the Wicked Witch of the West and how she became the Wicked Witch of the West. The book delves far deeper into the witch's life and times than any musical could in only two hours, however. In the book version of WICKED, readers are introduced to the witch, whose real name is Elphaba, when she is first born. She's green and has dangerous, pointy teeth. Needless to say, she's not too popular with the other children.
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Format: Paperback
I picked this up at a used bookstore b/c I had heard so many things about it and I thought the idea of telling a story from the "bad guys" P.O.V. would be really interesting. I also got Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister but I haven't read it yet.

This book tells the story of the Elphaba (aka the wicked witch of the west) from her birth all the way to her meeting with Dorothy that ends her life. Throughout the book are many interesting tidbits, when the wizard arrives, the meeting of Galinda/Glinda the "good witch", where the ruby slippers came from, more about Elphaba's sister Nessarose who will be the witch crushed by Dorothy's house. Lot's of interesting stuff.

Unfortunatly the bad thing about this book is it's tendancy to go off topic and perhaps a bit too into detail about certain characters/events that really aren't that interesting. Plus there is a lot of politics and the idea of power throughout the story and it's hard to ever really see who is the good and who is the bad.

I still think the book is worth reading though, but I didn't find it to be a can't put it down sort of novel. Definetely worth it if you have the time and interest to read an odd book.
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Format: Paperback
This is a gorgeous novel. The writing is beautiful, every scene dances off the paper and paints itself like a magnificent oil portrait in your mind. The characters are three-dimensional, gripping and endlessly interesting. Elphaba (Maguire's name for L. Frank Baum's "The Wicked Witch of the West" is probably my favourite female protagonist of all time. She is fiercely intelligent, strong willed, and passionate, but these very traits make her unsure of what is the best path in life, hesitant, and she gains a cold and harsh façade as a result. The world of Oz itself has never seemed to fleshed out or tangible and critical fans of fantasy novels and world-building will have little to complain about.

WICKED is a prequel to, and inversion of, L. Frank Baum's children's classic THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ (1900) but it is also a complex observation of society, politics, religion, humanity, and the nature of "good" and "evil." The characters are beautiful and you can't help but fall a little bit in love with them, the dialogue is perfect, and the language haunting. This is going to be a classic.
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Format: Paperback
Wicked: The life and times of the wicked witch. There simply aren't enough words on this earth to describe how truly wonderful this book was. When I bought it from the bookstore, the woman working there nearly fell to her knees praising the thing, so I figured I'd give it a go.
I loved the Wizard of Oz. It was, beyond doubt, my favourite childhood chapter book. But Wicked takes a whole new spin on Oz and it's inhabitants. The witch, whom I used to have nightmares about, is now one of my most favourite characters. She's an unconventional heroin that you learn to love and understand. Her life is sad and confusing and it leads her to the point of no return
To compare it to The Wizard of Oz is impossible. First of all, it isn't a children's book. It is a very grown up, dark and deep novel that only adults and older teens can appreciate. It's closer to Giorgio Kostantinos's--The Quest-- Than to our favorite childhood movie.
I cried at the end, I cried for Elphie, I cried for that witch that kept me up until 3am when I was 10. --.Thanks Barbara
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