Author: Gregory Maguire
First published: 1995
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I tried Grammarly's plagiarism detector free of charge because they are giving me a 10$ Amazon gift card, and if I'm to lose my Amazon virginity, I'd rather not pay for it :)
The full title actually sounds like Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, but it would be more honest to rename it like this: Wicked: Violence, Sex, Racism, Terrorism, Dirty Politics, Disfigurement, Murder and Religious Confrontation in Times of the Wicked Witch of the West! I have probably even forgotten something, but you get the idea.
I was a bit shocked in the beginning of the book because the country described in it is nothing like the magic and wonderful Oz from the original books. In time, though, I started to enjoy the complex world Maguire created, his character studies and wonderful inventions. The University part was great, because there is student life, first love, forging friendships and idealism of youth. However, then things got complicated, and Maguire started losing me. I stopped understanding the motivations of the characters and was in a more or less confused state all the time. Then it dragged, and then came mysticism, and then I was wishing the book to end soon.
It's a very interesting thought that everything must have been a bit different than the perceptions of a little girl from Kansas, and I wish the book stayed what it can so well be - a speculation. Instead, it became philosophical, moralistic and complicated. In the end, nothing was really explained, and I was left with a lot of "WTF" questions. I know there are sequels, but I don't think it's fair to the reader to leave everything unclear until he reads more. At least I am not going to read more because I suspect more tricks like this :) I am also not a fan of his writing as it's rather abrupt and obscure.
All this said, I rather liked the characters in the book. They felt real, and were so much more than the labels they wore. The Wicked Witches were actually aiming for good causes, and the Good Witch is quite a shallow and trifling rich girl. Another thing I enjoyed was the politics. The Wizard is such a regular usurper and tyrant, and he knows how to maintain his power. Animal rights question plays a very important role in the life of the country, and it resonates with some of the most painful recent moments in our own history.
In my book:
Not really my kind of thing, although quite engaging and thought-provoking in the beginning.