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
"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)
Christian, Texan, electrician, lover of reading-I lean towards Sci-fi/fantasy but enjoy the classics, history, and science titles also.
Probably not. The narrator was ok but the story was hard to swallow. The author spent way too long describing the color of tea, whether or not said tea should be consumed, and what the weather must have been like while the tea leaves we're growing and not enough time explaining what the wonderful magical beings of oz were like. After listening to the whole thing I am still not certain why the witch is green, why she hates water, and why she is such a grouch.
This book did not tell a story it just told about simple mundane tasks and life decisions that brought each character to where they ended up.
Mr. McDonough read this in a matter of fact way that felt a little one dimensional. I am however betting it was due mostly to the story content.
Perhaps I could have done without the image of the wicked witch of the west having sex.
This book repeatedly represents the witch as an animal lover and even describes a distinctly Toto like dog in her possession. What gives?
I'm going to be quick about this review. This was a terrible book. The narrator was good, not great, but good, but after an hour of listening to him, I seriously wanted to strangle the man. I blame most of this impulse/need on the writer. His material is just SO terribly overdone, that it stretches and stretches and stretches on, for days, weeks, years. Some writers can do detail in such an interesting manner that it draws you in and keeps you there, keeps you interested in the story. This writer does not do that. His story sucks you in and tries to drown you. Overall, the story itself is dull, lacking, overinflated (How can it be lacking and overinflated at the same time? Trust me, it can.), and a downright insult to actual Oz-related literature. OK, not as quick as I should have been but I can't say enough how much I really disliked this book. Please read this, please take to heart what I've said, please, for the love of Oz, DO NOT listen to this book.
part time gourmet, full time nerd
I enjoyed the Wizard of Oz books and loved the stage adaption and had high hopes of this story. Sadly it was not what I expected. The heavy religious and political plot was clunky and lacking in sophistication. It was also so hard to like any of the characters; I was apathetic for most of the story.
The first time I tried reading the book I gave up about two chapters in, the next time I made it halfway. I hoped that listening to the story would make it more interesting and it did, but it still grates on my nerves.
My annoyance was amplified by the poor audio quality of the recording. Every time I hear the narrator gulp I want to throw my ipod out the window. Even the Audible intro and announcements sound like it was recorded in someone’s bathroom.
I always wanted to read this book, so I didn't bother to check the reviews. But as the others said, I'm several chapters in to the book and it's chapter after chapter of the main characters having sex or talking about having sex, described in the cheapest, lowest way--this is NOT a romance novel. It's more like a junior high locker room novel (like Bennie Hill), with no plot. After all this time we are only up to the main character saying her first word. Don't know if I will bother to finish it--probably won't.
My rating is more a reflection of the story than the audio/narration. I simply could not get into the story. Every time I came close to caring about the characters the scene would shift and pull away again. I never felt we were allowed to know Elphaba enough to have any feeling as to her plight. It seemed like the story was trying to cover too much. If it had focused on one part of Elphaba's life and really given the listener a link to the characters this would have been a much more enjoyable story.
Somewhere along the line, I must have become a Wicked addict! After weeks of longing for and making time in my car to listen to as much of this book as my trips could squeeze in, I finished the book this morning and am left wanting more! What a journey! What an escape! Narrator John McDonough is superb and writer Gregory Maguire's masterful tale took me far away from my worries in North Pittsburgh. My boss had recommended the book to me over a year ago and my only regret is not having listened sooner!
Every once in a while, the author would throw in a curse word or reference to a bodily function that seemed out of place or unnecessary. A minor point, however, in a story full of beautifully crafted characters and wonderful adventures, with just enough familiarity to add fun and curiosity. Thank you for the escape and a "drug" that caused no harm or negative side effects. Give me more!
From what I had heard of this book I was expecting a comedic version of The Wizard of Oz from the wicked witch of the west's point of view but I didn't expect it to be so graphic. At times the dialogue devolved into grotesque explanations of graphic biological functions and rather than comedic it was dark. I don't recommend this book due to the material content but if you like the story the narrator is very good.
I've listened to, and read, this book about 5 times now. Wow. One of my favorite books of all time, and Gregory Maguire is now one of my favorite authors of all time! What I like is that he does not do a hack-job of changing the tales that he writes about (also in Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, etc.), he writes a full and complete novel which would be as enjoyable to anybody who had never even heard of the Wizard of Oz, and then makes it all that much more enjoyable for everybody who is able to relate to all the happenings. What an incredible "point of view" game he plays! And Elpheba really comes across as more interesting BY FAR than Dorothy (if not more "good"). Note - if you like this, immediately get Son of a Witch and listen to that. And GM, come on out with the third one, please!
I was very intrigued by the concept of this book and by the buzz that has surrounded it for years. But when I finally listened to it, I found it to be ultimately a disappointment. Oz is made to be, not the fantasy land of the original, but instead a place very like ours, almost to the point of boredom. Nothing is too magical in Oz, though people study magic. Instead it seems only as exotic as, perhaps, 19th century Europe. Kids go to school, politics happen, people take up futile causes. This is underscored by a lot of philosophizing by the key players. Some of this might have a point....but not much really seems to.
Except for the end, it seems like little of this story has to do with The Wizard of Oz. And I kept trying to relate the two....but ultimately they felt unrelated. I feel to some degree that this was a boring story, that rode on the coattails of a beloved story.
Maguire fills in all the blanks, answers all the questions, and steps up to the plate for all those who wanted to know all of the "why's" to all those unanswered questions in The Wizard of Oz. Maguire skillfully winds the tale of yellow brick road making it difficult to do anything but focus 110% of this skillfully written tale.
Contrary to one recent review, this is a tale that NO ONE should skip the opportunity to read and become thoroughly immersed.
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