“Wicked” by Gregory Maguire
1995, Regan Books
One of the first books I ever read once I got past my school readers of Dick and Jane was, “Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz”. It was my mother’s when she was a little girl and the copyright is 1908. Frank Baum wrote it in Coronado and many was the time we’d pass by the house he wrote, “The Wizard of Oz” in as we wandered around Coronado when we lived there 25 years ago.
“The Wizard of Oz” with Judy Garland was the first movie I ever watched when I was 6 years old and it aired on our television during the holiday season. It’s been a favorite my entire life and I’m 53 years old now. I couldn’t have been more pleased to happen upon “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West” by Gregory Maguire. “The Wizard of Oz” is the fairy tale with a child’s focus. “Wicked" is the story behind the story and has an adult’s focus.
If you are a fan of, "The Wizard of Oz" then you must, you just have to read, "Wicked".
Where in Frank Baum’s Oz the Wicked Witch of the West is truly an ugly and horribly frightening creature, in the story Gregory Maguire tells she is a Munchkin born green. Elphaba, as the witch is known most of her life, doesn’t even think of herself as a witch until well into her adult years. It’s fascinating to see what she thinks of life and in this story what a champion of the down trodden she really is. Why, she’s a revolutionary at heart!
In this story you see who Elphaba’s parents were and what her life was like as she grew up. You see her sister Nessarose who eventually became known as the Witch of the East and you meet Glinda, the Witch of the North. The Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow, and, of course, the Wizard are all in this story. But, you’ll come to feel this is the “real” story. This is the story that was never told. This makes them all human, makes them all believable and will endear them all to you.
In the picture I took of both books, you see “Wicked” the book I review here and you see a 1908 edition of “Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz” that belonged to my mother.
I loved Gregory Maguire’s book, “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West”. And, you know what’s even better? Gregory Maguire has written 2 more. I bought all 3 at the same time and can hardly wait to start in on, “Son Of A Witch” and after that, “A Lion Among Men (The Wicked Years, Book 3)”. Can’t wait.