Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Something Wicked This Way Went

I just finished reading WICKED, by Gregory Maguire.

I know, I know... I'm way behind on my reading... they've already made a smash musical out of it, etc., etc., etc.

Quite frankly, I'm not sure what all the fuss is about. The book brought to mind one of my favorite quotes by Edgar Allen Poe: 'I became insane through long periods of horrible sanity.' Only in this case, I became 'bored through long periods of horrible boredom'. While I appreciated a new perspective on the Wicked Witch of the West; troubled childhood (overly-religious father, amoral mother and saintly arm-less sister), sympathy with animals (flying monkeys are now explained), a tragic love affair, her political activism in an uncertain political climate, etc., the book's meanderings put the Yellow Brick road to shame. No complaint with the actual mechanics of the writing, some excellent wordcraft, a touch of humor here and there, and Maguire did manage to make me actually like poor Elphaba; green-skin, pointy teeth and murderous tendencies aside. But I hated how story lines were begun and then dropped, characters introduced then shuffled off into the shadows, and the overall 'Harry Potterish' feel of an Oz gone bad.

The ending was a manic recreation of what we already knew through the movie, as though the author had only just realized he had to tie this long, long tale up somehow, in a way that made some kind of sense to the reader. By that point, the Wicked Witch was either insane, bored , or both (see above quote by E.A. Poe).

I was, in a word, disappointed.

1 comment:

tampabookbuzz said...

I know exactly what you mean. I was very disappointed with that book when I read it a couple of months ago.