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

Maguire, Gregory

Book - 2007
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
A fable for adults on the subject of destiny and free will by a writer of children's books. It tells the story of Elphaba before she became the Wicked Witch of the West in the land of Oz. The novel traces her career as nun, nurse, pro-democracy activist and animal rights defender.

Publisher: New York, NY : Harper, 2007
ISBN: 9780061350962
Branch Call Number: SCI-FI M
Characteristics: 538 p. : ill., maps ; 17 cm.


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Oct 29, 2014
  • JacquiH rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

Terrible! Do not read especially if you loved the musical it is nothing like it!

Aug 04, 2014
  • jwilson01 rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

The story is okay. I was expecting more of a twist to the story than what it actually was. I eventually grew bored and did not finish the last few chapters.

Jul 30, 2014
  • skybarb rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.


May 10, 2014
  • mbssmith rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

An amazing book with many political and historical references. It accurately shows the cruelty of children through multiple characters.

Apr 20, 2014
  • artemishi rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Wicked is definitely the best Gregory Maguire book I've read to date (I have 3 left to go, though). It weaves some subtle political and social commentary (from our own American current affairs, and past) into the well-known Baum Oz books, adding a rich depth to a story I don't much care for. That's right- I dislike The Wizard of Oz. You may commence with the booing.

Anyway, Wicked is well-written although, in his usual way, Maguire lets the reader connect the dots, and doesn't exactly answer any of the mysteries he sets up. Elphaba is not a relatable character, or a likeable one, but he still manages to convey sympathy for her constantly-foiled attempts to do good.

In fact, I adore the musical, which distills this concept but sugar-coats it a lot more than the book. Don't read this expecting a whimsical love story with Fiyero, a hate-to-love friendship with Glinda, or a happy ending. The book makes Elphaba not just misunderstood, but actually at times truly wicked for her lack of compassion, empathy, and wide-scope-view-of-the-world.

Ultimately, this is a musing on the nature of evil. With some pretty fleshed-out, three-dimensional (albeit not intimate to the reader) characters. I recommend it for fans of Gregory Maguire, the philosophy of morality, the Oz books, and political commentary with a flair of magic.

Jul 09, 2013
  • Meeeeeee rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Complicated book, with a little of religion , live love and politics in it,but a bit difficult to keep track of all the characters.

Apr 30, 2013
  • Flute_Love rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Best book I've ever read, although, I got lost a few times and had to go back. and It was a little boring in some parts. If you like fairy tales you will love this book.

Apr 26, 2013
  • britprincess1 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

An intricate retelling of L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz, moved into the perspective of the allegedly evil Wicked Witch of the West, this complex world is woven from what is accepted as reality combined with the fantastical elements of the world of Oz. I don't think the musical (what I know of it at least) does the novel justice. As epic a scale this novel is trying to reach, readers must be patient enough to get past the first few handfuls of pages to get into the story itself and not the expansion of the universe that is its setting. All good things come to those who wait, and WICKED is very good. I highly recommend this novel, but I don't think reluctant readers will enjoy WICKED as it requires perseverance through those first few pages.

Dec 17, 2012
  • LazyNeko rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I'm not familiar with the musical at all. Still, I didn't expect the book to be so... political. The complicated politics and race oppression of the various regions of Oz are imaginative, but the the Witch, as a title character, is under-developed and the frequent talk of the nature of evil and of the soul, hackneyed.

Dec 17, 2012
  • Bettyboophume rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

Unfortunately while a potentially great premise, tremendously boring. I'm not quite sure how this was managed as the idea has merit and could have been better worked up

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Apr 30, 2013
  • Flute_Love rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Flute_Love thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Nov 24, 2012
  • jplesko97 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

jplesko97 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Jun 11, 2012

orange_cat_2189 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages


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Jun 19, 2011
  • sgeluardi rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

Dark and depressing. I kept waiting for this to pull out of the spin but it's whole story seems to be based on withered dreams. The main character is hard to like or enjoy also. One moment she might be very philosophical the next she'll act like an angry child.


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Dec 17, 2012
  • LazyNeko rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

"I'm no pawn," said Glinda. "I take all the credit in the world for my own foolishness. Good gracious, dear, all of life is a spell. You know that. But you do have some choice."


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