Book Review – Wicked by Gregory Maguire

First published 1995
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
I’ll admit, right off the bat, that I first tried reading this when I was working at the shop.
Almost certainly filled to the brim with Red Bull, overworked, a bit too thin and bumbling through the usual round of office politics (but in a small shop), I only made it about a third of the way through.
Now, however, I am less aggressively caffeinated, living inside my head and definitely not too thin, and have enough time to actually read.
And I loved this novel.
Having not read the original story by L. Frank Baum, but having spent many a childhood weekend watching the 1939 film, the characters were not lost on me.
The story begins on the day of Elphaba’s birth, through her difficult childhood as a green girl with parents who don’t really understand her, all the way through college and her unusual friendship with Galinda (later Glinda, and ultimately, The Good Witch of the South).
As Elphaba grows to adulthood and becomes the witch she was always supposed to be, she becomes involved in the fight for Animal rights and politics generally. There are multiple tragedies and a stint in something close to a convent. All of which culminates in a lot of animosity between the Wicked Witch and the Great and Powerful Oz, and an assassination over the ownership of the ruby slippers. Yes, friends, a lot of things in life come down to footwear.
Beautifully written, with very evocative scenes and well-drawn characters, I’m a fan. I have only recently discovered that there are, in fact, a number of sequels. So, that’s Christmas sorted for some years.

Anyway, loved it. Not suitable for children, but I would definitely recommend to anyone who’s found themselves wondering how the Wicked Witch became the Wicked Witch.

Go on, go shopping: