Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

Written by: Gregory Maguire

First line: A mile above Oz, the Witch balanced on the wind's forward edge, as it she were a green fleck of the land itself, flung up and sent wheeling away by the turbulent air.

Why you should read this book: I know I'm pretty late to the party, but I really adored this intense, imaginative work, which paints a full picture of the life of the so-called Wicked Witch of the West, who, in other works, tormented Dorothy during her journey through Oz. Glinda (bubble-headed and class-conscious, but essentially kind-hearted), the Wizard (cruel, calculating, amoral, and self-serving), and even the Wicked Witch of the East (crippled and full of pious self-righteousness) are given detailed treatments and complex personalities, but it is Elphaba, the green-skinned Animal-rights activist and lifelong outsider who becomes the most sympathetic protagonist. Civil rights, political machinations, religious argument, and, above all, a running discussion on the nature of good and evil are among the thought-provoking terrain covered in this ground-breaking fantasy novel.

Why you shouldn't read this book: For you, it was all about Judy Garland and those ruby slippers.

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