The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West ; A Novel

Book - 1995
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This is the book that started it all! The basis for the smash hit Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, Gregory Maguire's breathtaking New York Times bestseller Wicked views the land of Oz, its inhabitants, its Wizard, and the Emerald City, through a darker and greener (not rosier) lens. Brilliantly inventive, Wicked offers us a radical new evaluation of one of the most feared and hated characters in all of literature: the much maligned Wicked Witch of the West who, as Maguire tells us, wasn't nearly as Wicked as we imagined.

Publisher: New York : ReganBooks, c1995.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780061350962
Branch Call Number: FICTION Maguire Gregory
Characteristics: 406 p. :,ill. ;,25 cm.
Additional Contributors: Smith, Douglas


From Library Staff

List - Libretto Literature
JCLCharlesH Jun 06, 2019

Inspiration for "Wicked" by Stephen Schwartz

List - Musical Mondays
JCLHeatherM Dec 20, 2016

It's not so easy being green.

List - A Witch List
JCLJulieT Oct 07, 2014

Ah, Elphaba, the clever, misunderstood Witch of the West.

From the critics

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Hillsboro_ElizabethH May 20, 2019

I hate to give a bad review about a book that was made into an amazing musical, but I just couldn't do it - I think I read about 50 pages, and just hated every page, so I had to put it down. Perhaps it gets better, but I don't think so. I would suggest you see the musical instead - I've seen it 5 times, and loved it each and every time.

Sep 27, 2018

Took a while to get through but all in all I loved the book and cant hardly wait to read the rest of the books in the series!!

Jan 15, 2018

I heard a lot about this book from my daughter and her friends. They are late teens. But I went into reading this story with an open mind. For one, I never found myself feeling sorry for the Wicked Witch of the West. She was definitely annoying at best. I wondered why the author didn't write the book from her perspective. The other characters were interesting, except I never understood what made Glenda, the good witch. It wasn't a terrible story but, I guess it depends on one's taste.

Aug 11, 2017

The play must be the thing 'cause the book sure ain't. Could hardly get through it, genre keeps changing not a book for kids r/t sex especially (of course) - what else is new? MIght as well be The Poisonwood Bible for the way it handles "sprituality" issues I would say.

Jun 23, 2017

This book is extremely complex, with many of the elements it includes parallel to our own society. I loved every minute of it, as I did the rest of the series.

Mar 13, 2017

I loved this book so much. I like how complex it is despite the themes being more obvious. Who knows though maybe that's what makes it so great!

GailCCL Feb 13, 2017

As a foreign land is plagued by political turmoil and Animal cruelty, a misunderstood outcast fights to right the wrongs. Will she succeed, or will she just be seen as wicked?

bibliosara Jan 06, 2017

I haven't watched the musical (yet!) so I don't know how it compares, but I enjoyed this book on its' own. It was heavy with political allusions, as well as major socioeconomic issues. The book was a bit dense and could be hard to understand due to the perspectives and (I repeat) heavy allusions.

The story of the Wicked Witch of the West has never been told like this. Elphaba is born a little... odd. Her life is destined to be no less extraordinary-and tragic. Elphaba starts out as the daughter of a religious zealot and an alcoholic. Most everyone who meets her is terrified of her, but it doesn't bother Elphaba. Much. She has bigger and more important things to attend to.

Join Elphaba and her companions from her birth to Dorothy's arrival to her death as you find out just who exactly is wicked, and why.

I recommend that any literary fan read this title at least once!

SaraLovesBooks Oct 12, 2016

If you love the musical, you might want to skip the book. They are completely different! Both are good, but in different ways. The book is a dark, meandering political fantasy tale, of a darker view of Oz. The prose is dense, but with a lyrical quality to it. I definitely recommend this story.

Jul 27, 2016

I only got halfway through, and that's because it was the only book I took on a short vacation. I don't like the characters and I don't care what happens to them.

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Jan 15, 2018

Natashastales thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

Sep 08, 2017

teal_owl_0626 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Jun 23, 2017

Dragonrat703 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

bibliosara Jan 06, 2017

bibliosara thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

Jun 10, 2016

blue_dog_55295 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Apr 30, 2013

Flute_Love thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

jplesko97 Nov 24, 2012

jplesko97 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Sep 23, 2012

elveegee thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

orange_cat_2189 Jun 11, 2012

orange_cat_2189 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages


Add Notices
Jun 23, 2017

Sexual Content: Non-explicit scenes, it tends to imply more than it describes.

Jun 23, 2017

Coarse Language: Some swear words, but not over the top.


Add a Summary
Jun 19, 2011

Dark and depressing. I kept waiting for this to pull out of the spin but it's whole story seems to be based on withered dreams. The main character is hard to like or enjoy also. One moment she might be very philosophical the next she'll act like an angry child.


Add a Quote
Apr 10, 2012

"I'm no pawn," said Glinda. "I take all the credit in the world for my own foolishness. Good gracious, dear, all of life is a spell. You know that. But you do have some choice."

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