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Book: Wicked

I read this in preparation for seeing Wicked: The Musical in a couple of weeks. As someone thought well enough of the book to make a musical of it, I had high expecations for the story. In concept and themes, the story does well enough. The inversions of the moral relationships (from the movie, having never read Frank Baum's Oz series) were the most enjoyable part of the book, much in the way that playing Dark Side of the Moon as the soundtrack adds additional depth to a viewing. But the Dark Side soundtrack only lasts fifty minutes and as it repeats you shut it off and return back to the movie. Wicked is 400+ pages long, so you expect more.

In these 400 pages, Wicked reads more like a biography than a story: although the reader is aware of the book's climax -- the first chapter leaves no doubt -- the path to that point is not plot so much as the passage of time. Characters come and go, things happen, the main character develops, but the story never builds.

There are those who will find biographies of fictional characters entertaining, and apparently there are many of these readers on Amazon because I see tons of five stars reviews for this book. But I found this a slow, tedious concept that is much too large for what it contains.

Comments (7)

The book and the musical are TOTALY different. Really, the big commonality is SOME of the charecters are the same. The story itself really isn't neither is the tone or texture of the charecters.

They really are two completely different things.

kwc:

That's good to hear. A musical directly based on this book would be soporific.

I have heard a lot of hype about the musical, so hopefully the atmosphere of actual musical will repeat the success it had on Broadway. Shame the story never builds in the 400+ paged book.

Mayela Boeder:

I read the book long after I saw Wicked: The musical and I appreciated it a lot better. I was never too taken with the Wizard of Oz and Wicked gave me a different perspective. Indeed, this book is more of an autobiography. There are many details left out that could make the book richer but I think the focus of the book was Elphaba's life. Hense the title. This book has a lot of political implicatons as well as a search to define evil. Was Elphaba evil, was the wizard evil? how do you know?
I have read more exciting books but this is not an action novel, it is the life and times of the Wicked witch of the west.
Wicked: the musical has a lot of similarities but the storylines were modified quite a bit. In any case I enjoy both in their own category.

michelle tapia:

i just love wicked. im hooked on this. i am reading the book and listen to the c.d everyday. this musical has touched me in so many ways. it has inspired me to do things i never thought possible. it has inspired me to be brave, to sing publicly with no problem. im sure it has touched many people as well. im so exited and anxious to see the play.

Anonymous:

omg i just love this book, i havent finished reading it, but i read it alot. i also saw the play and it was spectacular. i also have the c.d and i listen to it often. it also has inspired me in many ways.

Thank you for your blog post! I fully agree with your viewpoint of the book Wicked. I actually saw the musical first and absolutely fell in love with the characters and the story. Reading the book was a bit of a disappointment for me. You are right...it is a slow read and much more like a biography then a story. I think the book could have been much shorter and I would have loved to see some development of the other characters.

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