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Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West | [Gregory Maguire]

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

Heralded as an instant classic of fantasy literature, Maguire has written a wonderfully imaginative retelling of The Wizard of Oz told from the Wicked Witch's point of view. More than just a fairy tale for adults, Wicked is a meditation on the nature of good and evil.
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Publisher's Summary

Heralded as an instant classic of fantasy literature, Maguire has written a wonderfully imaginative retelling of The Wizard of Oz told from the Wicked Witch's point of view. More than just a fairy tale for adults, Wicked is a meditation on the nature of good and evil.

Elphaba is born with green skin, a precocious mind, and a talent for magic. An outcast throughout her childhood in Munchkinland, she finally begins to feel as though she fits in when she enters the University in the Emerald City. While she hones her skills, she discovers that Oz isn't the Utopia it seems. She sets out to protect its unwanted creatures, becoming known as the Wicked Witch along the way.

Narrator John McDonough draws you in to Maguire's magical world of witches and talking animals, making it possible to believe in a land somewhere over the rainbow.

©1995 Gregory Maguire; (P)2000 Recorded Books, LLC

What the Critics Say

"A staggering feat of wordcraft." (Los Angeles Times)
"McDonough's excellent portrayals of Elphaba's outspoken, gravel-voiced nanny, Glinda's snobbish friends, and the wide-eyed, soft-spoken Dorothy make this excursion to Oz worthwhile." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (4895 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Joseph Gilbert, AZ, USA 09-06-06
    Joseph Gilbert, AZ, USA 09-06-06 Member Since 2002
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    2
    Overall
    "@.@ whyyyyyy"

    I bought this on the weight that it was supposed to be funny and I had hope it was yet another of many faithful adaptations of stories in the OZ story, much like "Return To OZ". The only faithfulness this story has to the original are the names. And whats most is that it is not a kids story; it has violence and sexual sitations beyond anything I would have liked for this kind of story. I'm sure it might be okay in its own right, but it failed my expectations; it is more like a dull soap opera with a few minor wittisms set in the pre-Wizard of OZ story. I just hate how it has ruined the OZ story that I love. In my opinion, it was a waste of my money.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Francis Stratford, ON, Canada 09-02-06
    Francis Stratford, ON, Canada 09-02-06
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    "Now we know the rest of the story"

    Thank you Gregory Maguire. This is an intriguing story from beginning to end. The subplots and underlying messages make it a great book to listen to. The stories of the witch and her life add to the interest. Frank Baum would be proud to have this story told. The empathy for those whom we think we know is truly one of the strengths of the book. In the past I thought of the witch as being 'wicked'. Now however I have a better appreciation of her as a concerned and caring individual. Listening to the story unfold added to my sympathy for her. A must listen for the fans of "Oz".

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carolyn jackson, WY, United States 08-28-06
    Carolyn jackson, WY, United States 08-28-06

    Avid Listener of Audible

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I don't even like fantasy"

    I am not one to read fantasy or sci fi; however, because I was a fan of the Wizard of Oz, I thought it would be interesting to hear 'the other side of the story." The wicked witch of the west was not the person I thought she would be and the story was not what I thought it would be. I could not wait to get into my car to hear what happened next. It is best to listen to the other half of the story told from the witches' point of view instead of just Dorothy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Burlingame, CA, USA 08-28-06
    Robert Burlingame, CA, USA 08-28-06
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    "Don't believe the hype: this book stinks!"

    Bo Dylan said it best, "Just because something's popular doesn't mean it's good."

    I had long been very curious about "Wicked" due to it's insane million selling status and subsequent Broadway musical. In fact it was the very first Audible title I downloaded when I first joined.

    It look me over a month to get thru just the first 5 hours since it was SO INCREDIBLY BORING that I lost interest and avoided it for days at a time.

    The whole story is nothing but a feeble attempt to be sly & witty, but is really just a thinly disguised Christian morality warning akin to C.S. Lewis' "Narnia" books. Gregory MaGuire is incredibly pompus and EXTREMELY long-winded and I have no doubt that L. Frank Baum is spinning in his grave right now in the REAL Land of Oz that we all know and love.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Overland Park, KS, United States 07-30-06
    Chris Overland Park, KS, United States 07-30-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "A love it or hate it kind of book"

    Mark me in the love it category. This is one of those books that I'm sure will have many detractors. In part, because I think they see satire where I don't see this being told in a comic version at all; rather, more as a semi-biographical alternative history. Taken in that context, and compared with many of it's peers in alternative history writing, the use dialog within this book forms an extremely effective narrative to help flesh out the motivations of it's characters. There are moments where this book borders on complete brilliance with it's use of characters and their interactions. It's rare that I find a book that causes me to stop, pause and think about the implications laid out. The reasoning within this book as well as continuity within unrelated Oz books is staggering in how aptly they can all fit together without major contradiction.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Chesterland , OH, USA 07-21-06
    Michael Chesterland , OH, USA 07-21-06
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    "Unsatisfying"

    Yes, you know how it's going to end, but you keep hoping for something different and in the end it's unsatisfying. So many questions unanswered, so much left hanging and apparently the sequel doesn't anwer much of anything. The premise is brilliant, and much of the execution is terrific, but something in the end is lacking.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven Stout 07-16-06 Listener Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A tornado should blow a house onto this book"

    The idea of this book is excellent. Unfortunately, the pompous "satire" that is used to present it is poorly executed.

    If you love your satire dry and pompous, perhaps this book is for you. Otherwise: stay clear.

    For so fantastical a setting the problems and characters in this novel are mundane to the extreme. It is not in the least engaging.

    Other than the concept, the only positive thing to be said about this book is the narator, who does a fabulous job despite the material.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alison Philadelphia, PA, United States 07-14-06
    Alison Philadelphia, PA, United States 07-14-06 Member Since 2004
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    "Worst book ever!"

    This story is about as engaging and believable as a George bush speech. Badly written and slow to develop, the story is compromised for character development, and when all is said and done you are left with unbelievable characters that you can't relate to.

    This is a drab and humorousness tale of a woman's struggle for change in a repressive, hierarchical, and tyrannical society. Instead of the fantastical land of ahz we love, we are shown a fascist state: complete with a personality cult, prison and child indoctrination camps. A bad allegory at best, this book is entirely without substance and uninteresting.

    Look elsewhere to use your credit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephanie Littleton, MA, United States 07-14-06
    Stephanie Littleton, MA, United States 07-14-06 Member Since 2002

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Cool Idea"

    Wow, this is either a "Love" or "Hate" relationship with this book. I did like it. It was not 'action packed' but did bring up interesting ideas and a pretty good perspective to her life. If you are ready to sit back and enjoy a good tale, then this is good. If you think that, after listening to this, you wasted 20+ hours of your life, then Geez, don't listen past the first 3 hours. d'uh.
    Good book, good narrator, good story.
    Steph

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Luvzhorses Hutto, Texas 06-14-06
    Luvzhorses Hutto, Texas 06-14-06 Member Since 2013
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    "EXCELLENT!"

    I truly enjoyed this entire book. I was, of course, heart broken with the ending and only wish that Elphaba could have been better understood and her life not so tragic...but then there wouldn't be THIS story, right? At any rate, I highly recommend this audiobook and I can't wait until the musical becomes affordable for us working folks.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Kirsty Whittingham
    3/20/08
    Overall
    "Brilliant"

    A fantastic retelling of the life of Elpheba the wicked witch of the west in Baum's world of Oz. Detailed and rich this is evocative and draws you in instantly. A great reading too.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Craig
    Denny, United Kingdom
    6/22/09
    Overall
    "Hard Going"

    I found this audiobook really hard going and it turned into more of a chore than a pleasure, i found that the story was really hard to keep track off at places moving to quickly and at others dragging out. Overall I didn't really enjoy this book and wouldn't recommend it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Adrian
    1/2/10
    Overall
    "A nice twist"

    I love anything that gives a new twist to an established classic and Wicked didn't dissapoint. It's just unfortunate that it is keeping company with the Musical Version which to my mind was it's better is terms of characterisation, plot and twists. It just didn't seem as neat and clever as the musical but well worth a read!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Stephanie
    Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
    7/22/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A real twist"

    To hear how the wicked witch became wicked is a real twist on the yellow brick road story we all live Julie Garland for. It also makes you question who was actually good and who was bad. The book does drag in places and sometimes it was a little difficult to keep up with all the names but it was well worth it. I do have one question - what happened to Nanny?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Olly
    6/19/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great story, dull presentation"

    Struggle to finish this amazing story as the reader was dull and monotone. Let down

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ollie Crook
    7/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great audiobook"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I've always loved the book Wicked, and listening to it as an audiobook was a new experience entirely. I would recommend this to a friend as it really makes the story come alive.


    What other book might you compare Wicked to, and why?

    I don't think you can really compare Wicked to anything - it's a reworking of The Wizard of Oz, making a child's story into an adult novel.


    What about John McDonough’s performance did you like?

    The narrators pacing was very good, and he got the humor of the book well - be prepared for a few snorts of laughter when listening! There were lots of characters who's voices he managed to make individual and memorable, so you can recognise them.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The ending of course is memorable, and with the narrators pacing he manages to make it moving.


    Any additional comments?

    I had already read Wicked before listening to the audiobook, and I would definatly recommend it! It really brings the book to life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Nya H
    UK
    4/15/13
    Overall
    "Keep listening"

    This book starts off quite weird and you have to keep ploughing through, until you get to the good part. Im not sure I would have pursued it if i hadnt have seen the play and knew the story line. - its a prequel to the wizard of oz. That in itself was enough to keep me listening. How the wicked witch became wicked

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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