Sunday, October 17, 2010

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (Musical Tie-in Edition)Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West – Gregory Maguire
Evan’s ESS = 5 out of 10
Erin’s ESS = 3 out of 10
Content = R (Violence, Adult Concepts, Language, Nudity, Characters with Green Skin Pigment)

Why: Here is one of those rare cases where the musical is one hundred times better than the book.  In fact, we think we’ll take this brief opportunity to defy gravity and break into song: 

So if you care to find me; look to the western sky!
As someone told me lately:"Ev'ryone deserves the chance to fly!
And if I'm flying solo; At least I'm flying free
To those who'd ground me; Take a message back from me
Tell them how I am Defying gravity
I'm flying high Defying gravity
And soon I'll match them in renown
And nobody in all of Oz
No Wizard that there is or was Is ever gonna bring me down!

Anyone else have the chills?  That’s what we thought.  Back to the novel – one sec while we put our broomsticks away.  Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West is annoying on so many different levels.  One infraction, however, stands out heads and shoulders above the rest and that’s what we’ll spend the next paragraph discussing.  Hold on, while we climb up on our soap box… one more step (it’s higher than we thought).

If you’re going to transport the reader into a world created by a previous author, then you have to play by the rules already established!  In this case we are dealing with one of the most well known worlds ever created: OZ.  We here at Two Bibliomaniacs have said it before, we love classics about classics (refer to the forthcoming comments made in The Eyre Affair review), but don’t change things.  You can add as many side stories, back stories, and underground stories as you want, but if Dorothy visits the Land of the Munchkins before visiting Winkie Country, then dawgonit, the same chain of events must happen in the… ouch, sorry – just fell off the box.  Okay, what were we saying?… oh yea, don’t change things.  If the wicked witch of the west only has one eye in the original novel, then Elphaba should only have one eye in the remake.  Gregory Maguire had a noble idea when setting out to recreate Frank L. Baum’s, The Wonderful Wizard of OZ.  In fact he added a lot of richness and believableness to OZ (although we do take issue with some of the politics, which happens to be one of our other annoyances).  All we ask is that you play by the rules Mr. Maguire.

We refuse to read any more of Gregory Maguire’s long line of parody books until we can be assured of the integrity of the already established world.  All this being said, Wicked isn’t a wickedly terrible book and if nothing else will spark some healthy debate.  Okay, now if someone can help us get down, we’ll be finished…  Seriously… Anyone???

Editor’s Note:  If you ever, ever, ever get the chance to see Wicked the musical, please go.  Now, we both here at Two Bibliomaniacs enjoy musical theatre.  However, we understand that some of you more masculine types are hemming and hawing at the idea of an evening spent listening to other people have a conversation set to music and choreography, but hear us out and just TRY it!  You never know, it might open up a whole new world of date night opportunities!  And we’re pretty sure that “taking your wife to a musical” is the 6th love language….


  1. I would just like to point out that I am a member of Masculine Men who Adore Musicals Anonymous (MMAMA). I was in one... and I've been to several. I can, on occasion, be found breaking into song and dance... when the situation warrants. In fact, I have been known to lecture my children through the majesty of song... it's really quite glorious... and affective.

  2. I also enjoy musicals and was also in one. That said, I think Eric's comment is a little... Will and Grace.