The Book Nook is my little place to talk about (not to be insanely obvious here…) books. Because I like to read a book every year or so. I promise I won’t give anything away (but, things happen). And, there is a 76% chance that you’ll find this review a complete waste of time because you read the book 10 years ago. Moving on.
THE BOOK: Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire.
(I know. I said I was reading The Book Thief. Turns out, I had only *intended* to read it but never got my lazy behind to the library to check it out. I assumed announcing it on the internet would be just the motivation I needed but we all know what happens when you assume… So, when a friend took me into her library to tell me her grand plans of redecorating it, I did what any good friend would do: Got distracted from her decor infused motions by her sweet collection of reads and selfishly asked if I could borrow one (Wicked) so I could put off going to the library for a few more months.)
My thoughts (which most likely carry little to no influence):
Ok, I am just going to come out with it: This book was smarter than me. G. Maguire, you won, okay? So, this is what’s up. This book is a prelude to the tale we all know from our childhood, The Wizard of Oz. This novel details the life story of a very adept little girl who took note of the unjustness swirling about her world and its assortment of inhabitants – and as it goes, she decided to do something about it. Her unique nature, unfortunate green skin and a series of random and not so random events culminate into her final life experience as the infamous Wicked Witch of the West – which (teehee) very much challenges the definition of being wicked – of being evil.
The gist of the book, I get. It’s the layers of the book’s politics that lose me a little. Maybe it’s too formulaic of me but I wanted more closure. I wanted more convergence of the story I was familiar with and the ending of this novel. The Wicked Witch of the West (Elphie) was marvelously developed, the writing was excellent, and the Land of Oz intricately painted, but I was expecting to learn more of Dorothy, her three companions and how they fit in with other interesting characters living in the strange world of Oz. Early on, the book sneakily references the Cowardly Lion and how he became so but the ending left me with more questions than answers. I know it was the author’s purpose to turn the Land of Oz upside down, which he did, but I was hoping he would flip it back over and fill me in just a *teeny* bit more. Overall: a good read, a serious novel, and a writer that is capable of crafting a dark and knotty journey that makes you think harder than you’re used to. Maybe that’s a good thing every once in a while since my daily reading usually comprises solely of oldnavy.com.
Would I recommend it to a stranger on the bus (trying to make his way home)? Depends. I envision that this book would spur a wonderfully enlightened coffee shop discussion if you could round up a political science major (to pontificate on the involved systems of successful and doomed leadership), an anthropologist (to discuss the nature and origins of different people and the complexities of tribal relationships), a philosopher (who would wax poetically regarding the muddled distinction between good and evil) and me, obviously (only because I love to talk a lot and sip excitedly from a white chocolate mocha-skim-extra vanilla drizzle-no whip-but if you accidentally put whip on I’d be insanely pumped).
What I am reading now: Cane River because I borrowed it from my MIL a hundred years ago and I suspect she wants it back before the next Olympics. The Book Thief, you will not elude me for much longer (I hope)!!!
Read any books lately that were smarter than you?