Wicked: All Done

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Wicked: All Done

Well, I'm not really sure what happened in that book, or how I'm meant now to lead us all in thoughtful discussion. Please, if you love this book, or there are parts that you like, don't be shy! I wish Jordan had read the book because I feel that he would have loved it and he could have brought you much better discussion then "what's up with this book?"

What is up with this book? I feel like I missed something, like there's a secret club going on somewhere and no one invited me. At that secret club they can follow the plot of this book and there is a reason that these characters have a whole book. This secret club probably meets at the Philosophers Club, which remains a mystery to me. It all remains a mystery to me.

In hopes of creating something more intelligent than what I just said, I have found some questions from the internet to which I would be interested to know your answers. Feel free to talk about other things too.

  1. What is the significance of Elphaba's green skin? What are the rewards of being so different, and what are the drawbacks? In Oz — and in the real world — what are the meanings associated with the color green, and are any of them pertinent to Elphaba's character?
  2. Early in their unlikely friendship, Galinda catches a glimpse of Elphaba and thinks she "looked like something between an animal and an Animal, like something more than life but not quite Life" (pages 78-79). Discuss the dual, and sometimes contradictory, nature of Elphaba's character. Why does Elphaba insist that she doesn't have a soul?
  3. Who or what is Yackle? Where does she appear in the story, and what role does she serve in Elphaba's life? Is she good or evil — both or neither?
  4. Was Elphaba's story essentially a tragedy or a triumph? Did she fail at every major endeavor, and thus fail at life; or because she refused to give up or change to suit the opinions of others, was her life a success? Is there a possibility that Dorothy's "baptismal splash" redeemed Elphaba on her deathbed, or was this the final indignity in a life of miserable mistakes?

Well, Wicked was not the book I voted for but I thought I would probably enjoy it and I was quite pleased with the choice.

Sadly, it was not for me. I did not hate it but I could not get more than luke warm about it. I found it too disjointed, too shallow in its exploration of the issues it raised and it always seemed to pose far more questions that it ever tried to answer. Characters were inconsistent and seemed to chop and change - as if they had to be forced into the latest plot development - and nothing flowed naturally. I wish he had not placed the story in the land of Oz either - it is certainly not the land of Frank Baum.

Saying that, I did not hate it - section 2 was my favourite - and I did finish it. It was not boring and I was intrigued by some threads - such as Yackle and why Elphie's mother gave birth to two such odd daughters. Sadly, neither of these was resolved within book 1.

I found section 5 slow and meandering in places and yet stupidly rushed and foreshortened in others. There were still many questions unresolved and I do not know if they are explored in book two or not but I doubt I will find out as I do not think the author impressed me enough to try another one.

I'll spend some time on the set questions if there seems to be a discussion going but at the moment it feels like not many people are still reading this book. It's a shame as a lot of people voted for it and I would be interested in hearing why many people love it so much - it has really good reviews on Amazon.

I agree Dawn! I'm glad someone made it to the end with me! Where are all the lovers of this book, I know you're out there!

OK, I stayed away from this month's choice in general because I had read Wicked several years ago, and I was really dissatisfied. However, I'm usually in the minority, so I didn't want to be the rain on anyone's parade, so I just figured I'd sit out this month & wait for the next book.

So, I just have to say you ladies aren't the only ones!! I agree, Marisa, I feel like there's a special club out there of people who "get" this book, and I am just not in the club!

I read this book years ago as well and I remember loving it at the time, but honestly I can hardly remember any of the specifics. I still have my copy and planned the entire month to at least go back and skim it to brush up and try to participate in the discussion, but I never really got the drive. I guess I wasn't as interested as I thought.
This was my first Greg Maguire book to read and I think I mostly remember being really impressed that he was able to take a beloved children's classic and create an entirely new story and adult narrative. You have to admit, apart from a few character references and general setting locations, this story is NOTHING like either the Frank Baum book or the Judy Garland movie, and I find that pretty impressive. I'm no writer, but I see think it had to be quite challenging to come up with an original story without drawing from the base references, especially when it's something as popular as the Wizard of Oz.
I did read Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister after this one, which I remember enjoying as well, but I tried to read Son of a Witch, the next book in this series, and could never get into it. If you think this one was out there...

Maybe the initial interest was from the gimmick of the story being a "fairytale" for adults? I know that's what got me interested in the beginning.

I will say, I did not vote for this book. I would have rather gone back and read Gatsby again to brush up on that one.

If you like fairy tale retellings and fairy tales for adults, I'd recommend Robin McKinley. Beauty, Spindle's End and Rose Daughter are all classic fairy tales retold, and I've enjoyed her other books as well.

Very reassuring to know L.Phillippa.

Tiffany I voted for the Great Gatsby too - never read any F Scott Fitzgerald and I feel this may be a good one to start with. Maybe we should put it on this month's sugestions?

I know what you are saying about having a different take on an established "world" - like a different version of a pop song - and if the author had done an alternate Oz, a twist on the story - such as Lost in Austen (a TV film - if you love pride and pejudice give it a go) - I might not have been so critical but this reads as if it is the SAME story and he's giving us a prequel to the events in the first Baum book. In that case, I feel the two should tie together and as far as I'm concerned they don't. He's taken the imagination of Baum and added an ugly, confused, shallow allegory over it. No matter though - it was not one of my major problems with the book.

As fairytales go, I preferred Beauty by Robin McKinley or Princess Bride by William Goldman.

I did finish it and I loved it, but I like dark and grim. I've read Robin Mc and I love her style but it's too...happy ending for me? Maybe too cut and dry at the end. I like there to be complications left and I like it not to be all roses.

I read Great Gatsby once a year, and I'll gladly read it again smiley

I should probably stay away from suggesting books since I will tend to pick dark and tragic stuff.

I agree Amber - her stuff aimed at older teenagers/adults is "happy" - more of a Disney fairytale than a brothers Grimm.

I sat out for this book choice, too, because I had also already tried to read this book. I got to the part where Elphaba had just gone to school, and then I got rid of the book. I was really disgusted by the book. I also thought it would be more upbeat, but I found it to be grotesque. There were so many instances where I thought the author chose to be indelicate, raw, and rather vile in describing and depicting events. I thought it was beautifully written, though oddly written, and really felt like the artistry of the prose was wasted on poorly contrived subject matter. And I think that "Elphaba" is the stupidest name and the author's "inspiration" for it seems to lack originality and creativity to me (he took the first syllables of L Frank Baum's name and mushed them together and then rattles off some hollow reason for the name in the book). I left the book feeling like the author was trying way too hard to be... something, and I still can't quite figure out what!
I love L Frank Baum's original work, and I thought that the movie Oz: the Great and Powerful did a much better job of creating a story for the Wicked Witch sisters while still holding to the feel and magic of the original books (and without utterly repulsing me). I SO do not get the craze over the Wicked book! smiley

I just finished our second book for our church book club. It was excellent but had too many sad parts. Right now I need something fun and light to read, with a happy ending!