Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire, gives new meaning to the old Kermit the Frog maxim: "It's not easy beinWicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire, gives new meaning to the old Kermit the Frog maxim: "It's not easy being green."
Elphaba, sometimes Fabala or Elphie or Fae, and later, the Wicked Witch of the West, was born with skin as green grass, and with teeth like a shark. Her parents, Frex, a missionary man serving the Unnamed god, and Melena, his fractious wife, had no hope of understanding what a clever and perceptive little daughter they had been blessed with. And so, Elphie spends the bulk of her childhood hating herself for being such an obvious disappointment to her parents.
As a young girl, Elphie is sent away to a sort of finishing school/college in Shiz, where she becomes the roommate of the lovely Galinda - later to be called Glinda the Good Witch. It is at school in Shiz that Elphie really comes into her own, and makes the choices that will shape her future life.
Before she leaves Shiz, her sister Nessarose comes to the school. The future Wicked Witch of the East is a beautiful girl, born the "right" color, but with no arms.
Elphie, the WWotW is a great many things in this story: she is quick-witted and rational; she's a fervent animal activist; she's an anti-establishment revolutionary; she's a nun and nurse, ministering to the sick and dying. What she is not, as far as I'm concerned, is wicked.
Although I felt a real connection and had great sympathy for Elphie, that's about all I enjoyed about the book. The information about what Elphie does when she's working with the underground activist movement is ever alluded to but never explained - it's so frustrating! Days after finishing the book, I'm still wondering just what she was actually up to in Emerald City.
Just as the climax was building, the author changes his mind, and shoves Elphie into a situation that makes no sense. In the first 222 pages of Wicked, Maguire makes it perfectly clear the Elphie is a non-believer. Suddenly, she's in a convent? She's a nun? And she spends 7 odd years doing... what?
I also did not enjoy the way in which the author seemed to discard major characters. Elphie's friends at Shiz, especially Boq, were fleshed out and had real stories - then all of the sudden, their stories were over. Then some characters, like Fiyero's widow and her family, seemingly pointless to the story, were written about at length, making for some extremely boring reading.
The politics, tyranny, and wickedness throughout the land of OZ were disturbing in the extreme. I thought in the beginning that Elphie would have some glorious role - for good or evil - and would make a difference or serve some purpose - she didn't. She lived ever on the outskirts of the action, and basically "became" a witch quite by accident.
The idea behind the book was really good - it just went nowhere for me. Questions were never answered, nothing was resolved. ...more
On her way home from school on a snowy December day in 1973, 14-year-old Susie Salmon ("like the fish") is lured into a makeshift underground den in aOn her way home from school on a snowy December day in 1973, 14-year-old Susie Salmon ("like the fish") is lured into a makeshift underground den in a cornfield and brutally raped and murdered, the latest victim of a serial killer - the man she knew as her neighbor, Mr. Harvey. The Lovely Bones is about Susie watching her friends and family from heaven.
I felt that the story had great potential for creativity - it seemed a unique idea, and I really wanted to like it, but I was disappointed. There are some enjoyable moments of poetic language and imagery, but most are overdone and unnatural. It was impossible to feel anything for the characters - even Susie herself - as they were as completely underdeveloped. Sebold could have explored the emotions of the Salmon family as they attempted to deal with the senseless tragedy, but instead treated all of her characters with a cold detachment that makes them all seem like shadows rather than real people.
The characters were incredibly flat, the scenes disjointed, the storyline contrived, the ending trite - I was left feeling cheated out of the time I spent reading this book. The real proof is here in my review - I can't even think of much to say about The Lovely Bones, and I just finished reading it not 30 minutes ago!...more
What do you say about a classic like The Scarlet Letter? I'm going to skip the synopsis this time - trusting to pop culture to give you an adequate suWhat do you say about a classic like The Scarlet Letter? I'm going to skip the synopsis this time - trusting to pop culture to give you an adequate summary - but I will give you my thoughts on the novel.
Modern readers will no doubt find that The Scarlet Letter drags in places, but if you can get past the ba-jillion commas, 15-letter words, and page long paragraphs, the quality of the plot is exceptionally good. The language is archaic, but the novel is in no way boring. Hawthorne uses intense symbolism and dizzying imagery to transport us back in time to Puritan New England, and gives us an insight into the life of Hester Prynne that we are not likely to forget.
The Scarlet Letter is a brilliant, gripping, thoroughly human novel that's characters and themes continue to reverberate in our collective consciousness more than 150 years after its initial publication. The story is thoroughly compelling, the prose rich and poetic, and characters complex. The book moves rather slowly, but it does give the reader time to think about the timeless issues of love, betrayal, and deception. ...more