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


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Book vs. Musical

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Dana Liked the book MUCH better than I like the original Wizard of Oz but it was different. LOVED the musical!!


message 2: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Is the book good because i heard that it was dark and hard to understand and i havent seen the musical either but i love the Wizard of Oz. And the soundtrack to the musical is the BEST!!!!!!!


message 3: by Jess (new) - rated it 1 star

Jess Are u guys kidding this book was slow boring and very horrible compared to the musical.


Mackenzie Enjoyed the book even though it took some effort to get past the opening bits. The musical was AMAZING! Quite a different plot line though. Especially the ending.


message 5: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Really thats what my mom said and i started to read the first page and it was sooooooooo boring, just on the first page!


message 6: by Jessalina (new)

Jessalina I loved the musical. And I just liked the book, I had read it after seeing the musical. I didn't mind how long and boring the book was when I was reading it. I was too eager to compare the two. Now however I wouldn't read the book unless I really wanted to. Just looking at the book makes me cringe.


message 7: by Jess (new) - rated it 1 star

Jess i reccomend unless ur crazy to not read this book. im a great reader and i love reading but this book took me like 3 months to finish cause it was soooooooooooo boring and also it is very graphic. definitly something i wouldnt reccomend.


Keriann I read the book a few years before seeing the musical-they really can't compare. The book plot can't be portrayed as easily on stage as you would think, so some accomodations had to be made. I look at the book as telling the story of how Elphaba became "wicked" and the musical as more of the story of the friendship between Elphaba and Glinda. Both are great, if you realize that they diverge from the plot line in the show.


message 9: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Really? I mean though i havent seen the musical or read the book the musical sounds a lot more pleasent and more fun then the book. So what is the plot and story about, I own the soundtrack and it's abput the only music i listen to. But when you listen you dont know whats going on so what would be a summary of the book and the musical?


Gabe495 I have only read the book but it was quite good. I have to say though that the beginning was pretty bad. My only thoughts on the musical would be that it would not be able to properly show the landscapes and cityscapes.


message 11: by Kai (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kai The musical was good but I prefer the book.


message 12: by Jen (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jen I read this book about a year after first hearing the soundtrack of the musical (haven't had the chance to see the musical yet). Although I enjoy the musical more, I definitely think that the book is good, albeit for different reasons. Gregory Maguire is a good storyteller, and though the book does have a slow start (as many have already said), it picks up somewhat.


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

Last year I finished this book. i REALLY wanna see the musical. this book was so awesome!


message 14: by Sarah (last edited Mar 03, 2008 10:26AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Sarah Just a pet peeve here... it's a Cast Recording, not a soundtrack. A soundtrack is from a movie. Live production recordings are Cast Recordings.

Also I find it interesting when people talk about how different the musical is from the book, especially how the book is so much darker. Have you ever read The Wizard of Oz? Certainly much darker than the movie or play.


message 15: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Is that so. Well I dont think i want to read the book because relatives and friends that have rerad it said it was horrible so I might jusat have to read


Brigid ✩ Cool Ninja Sharpshooter ✩ In my opinion, the musical is a thousand times better than the book. The musical's plot is completely different, but more appealing. I only read the book because I loved the musical so much, but I was disappointed. The book was so long and boring, not to mention R-rated. Parts of it were a little too...um...DESCRIPTIVE, if you know what I mean. But the musical is amazing.


message 17: by Tana (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tana Harrison just from reading the book, I would say that that author was very creative and imaginative. I enjoyed the overall book, but it had boring and graphic parts that could have been deleted. I haven't seen the musical,but it doesn't sound really close to the book. I have given my disclaimer but still recommended it.


Karen That's very funny how people would see the musical without reading the book and expect the book to conform to that. lol.... Very funny indeed.


message 19: by Jess (new) - rated it 1 star

Jess i feel the exactly same way as you brigid. it was like all okay for like the first page and then all of a sudden it got dar and tooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo R-rated like almost to much for me to read on.


message 20: by Abigail (new)

Abigail I haven't read or seen other but possibly this summer i might see the musical and i really DONT plan to read the book


Becky While I liked the book I didn't love the story until the Musical. I really don't think they are even on the same plane!


message 22: by Katie (new) - rated it 1 star

Katie The book was awful! I trudged through the first part of it but finally gave up - just a waste of time. And seriously - why waste your time reading a lousy book when there are so many great ones out there?


message 23: by Abigail (new)

Abigail I understand you Katie. One time i started a book(I do not remember the title) but I could barely get through the first page it was sooooooooooooo boring.


message 24: by Helen (last edited Apr 02, 2008 10:16PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Helen Well, I don't know about the musical, I too have only heard the music (which I like alot). But, as some people have said, kind of harshly :( , the book is a really dark, confusing psychoanalysis of the Witch and whether she really was "evil." It stirs up some pretty deep questions, like God and stuff, and yes, there were some graphic parts. I can definitely see how some people wouldn't like it, but it was just my sort of thing. (Gee, you guys can be so negative!)

The musical sounds more fun, but I think the book is probably more interesting (how could you say it was boring when you get to learn how other people think??)


Ashley I love this book!!! I could not put it down...I keep an open mind with every book I start. I gave this one all of my attention and I was rewarded. My all time favorite :)


message 26: by Liz (new) - rated it 3 stars

Liz The book and musical were basically completely different-the characterization and story lines were only generally the same. However, I still liked the musical better because the book got SO BORING in the middle. I was dying. But in the musical, it was witty and clever (and I am obsessed with Broadway) and never boring. The book really disappointed me, since I love the musical so much.


message 27: by Abigail (new)

Abigail What do you mean how could I say it was boring, it was my opinion.


message 28: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa This book would definitely get an R-Rating; the musical would get a probable PG. I couldn't get through the book. If you want to learn about the journey from the seed concepts of the novel to the splendid musical, get "Wicked: The Grimmerie." I am a librarian and when someone asks for the story, I can NOT recommend this book, especially for children and teens. I wish some one would do a "novelization" of the musical like they've done with the Pirates of the Caribbean.


message 29: by Debs (new) - rated it 5 stars

Debs I saw the musical first, then flew through the book, and LOVED both. The best way to describe the musical in comparison to the book is that it's fluffier and sparklier. Most of the darkness in the book is filtered out, or at least placed below the surface. Because of what is left out, I don't see the musical as the whole picture, as the book is, but there is definite value in both versions.


message 30: by Lara (new) - added it

Lara My personal preference is definately the musical, but I don't think people should look at it like one being better than the other (book/musical) because they are so different. Winnie Holzman took the basic idea of the novel and created pretty much a new story from it. Then the actors in the workshops of the musical inspired her to make even more changes. (ex. because people who attended the workshops were so impressed with Kristin Chenoweth (Glinda) and they were more interested in the relationship b/w Glinda and Elphaba than Elphaba and Fiyero, they changed the plot to center around both "witches", not just the green one.)So basically I encourage you to approach either one with an open mind so you won't be disappointed by the many many differences. :o)



Greenstriped I'd just like to start out by saying that I really liked The Wizard of Oz. I'm a teen and I'm reading Wicked myself right now. I like the storyline more than that of Wizard of Oz (movie, never read the book), its more interesting and involving, and because its darker, its more realistic. Anyway, from what I heard was that the book and the musical are nothing alike (which is what everyone keeps saying here) but also that it makes a lot of references to the movie, so while its not nessessary to ready the book to see the musical, it wouldn't hurt to watch the movie.
Yes, it is taking me quite a while to finish it myself, and there are slow parts, but I really do like it!!


Debby I only read up the The Clock of the Time Dragon and that was too sick to go on. I'm not a prude but that was just creepy. I think the author needs therapy.


message 33: by Joelle (last edited Jun 16, 2008 09:29AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Joelle I just finished it- it took me 2 months to get through. I felt like I had to force myself to read it. I guess creepy is a good word for it- I was having a difficult time pinning down exactly what I thought of it. My daughter wanted to read it after me, but since she is 11 I told her I didn't want her to- way too graphic in parts, and I just didn't get that! Why did the author think that was necessary? I also had a difficult time reconciling a lot of stuff, especially regarding the Wizard. I liked that it was different than the Wizard of Oz, but it would have been more enjoyable if there was some consistency to the story, since it is one we all know so well. I liked the idea of a story sympathetic to the witch, but I just didn't like this author's take on it. I was left with lots of unanswered questions, such as:
Why was Nessarose considered a tyrant? What did she do that made her so horrible? Why did they say that Nessie and Ephie never got along? I thought they were very close until Ephie ran away.
I did like the discussion about the soul and the existence of evil.


message 34: by Pandora (new)

Pandora I saw the musical then I read the book. I loved the musical and was disappointed in the book. Perhaps, I missed something but, I found the musical to be deeper. I loved the idea of the musical to use Glinda and Elphba as contrast of each other. Not just good and evil but, also innocence vs awareness. I also liked how the muscial explained the orgins of the lion, the tin man, and the scarecrow. The book seemed to have missed the scarecrow.


Ashley I started the book and stopped about halfway through... it was a little to graphic for me and way too slow. I wouldn't say it was bad, just not my type. I havn't seen the musical yet, but I really want to. I've listened to the soundtrack millions of times.


Adria i saw the musical before i read the book, after seeing it i went out and snagged a copy ASAP. i expected the book to elaborate further on the musical and i was sorely disappointed in my expectations. that being said, i think the book is good, but one cannot compare the book and the show. they are completely different.

for a detailed description on what was changed from the book, and how the book became the musical check out the Grimmerie. it explains (very well) why the book didn't work on stage, and why changes had to be made (as a previous poster pointed out).

the depth of the politics in maguire's book make up for the dragging of the storyline. they are glossed over in the show.

read the book. see the musical. love them or hate them, but do so independently of each other


Sherie Yes the book is dark and sometimes the irony is difficult. I didn't like the Wizard of Oz ( flying Monkeys scared the bejezees out of me ), but the musical was great. I have to agree with those of you who say that the book and the musical are not on the same plane, but, hey, that's entertainment.


message 38: by Amy (last edited Jul 09, 2008 07:22PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy I would venture to guess everyone that hated the book, saw the musical first. I loved the book and thought the play was-in addition to being beautiful and entertaining- a clever take...it allowed the characters to come to life without being submerged in the complicated political realm. After being such a fan of the book and Elphaba, I left the theatre wanting more detail and more castle!I thought the adaptation was very smart, and the ending was a tidy and satisfying way to eliminate half the book, but no reason to condemn the original idea! And there is NO way the stage production was "deeper" than the book...if you feel this way, I don't think you wholly understood the author's intent. A wonderful, original, piece of literature that deserves to have it's characters glorified on stage...and as long as you're not expecting anything more than that along with some great songs, I think you can love both.


Silvia I saw the Musical before I read the book and I loved the musical. The book however I found to be very long and extremely boring and I found the musical and the book had many differences.


message 40: by Mia (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mia The book and the musical were both amazing in their own ways and it is not really fair to compare the two. The book is beautifully written and anyone who says its "boring" must have a pretty short attention span. That's what the musical is for. :)


Jessica I loved this book. The first half was hard and I put it down for about six months but when I picked it back up and finished it in a hurry.


message 42: by Mona (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mona I love the book and the musical! I love all things Wizard of Oz really. I just love the different take on the story and seeing characters in a different light!


Kimberly i loved the musical yet, the book gave a much bigger insight which i throughly enjoyed!


message 44: by Sierra (last edited Jul 23, 2008 07:37PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sierra *Spoiler Warning*

Pandora "Kat": Read the last 20 or so pages more carefully -the scarecrow is explained. It's not so much that the scarecrow was a significant person, it's just that Elphaba herself thought he was, which is important to the story.


Waylon Werner Wow...I really don't get how people can HATE this book. I mean...I can see hating the book if you don't like the genre, but I found this book to be wonderful.

Now...as for the musical.

I am a HUGE musical theater buff. It was my profession for several years. I read the book first and even though I enjoyed the musical I don't think it can be compared to the book. It really is a different story in the long run.

It's the age old issue: Seeing the Movie/Musical before reading the book and vise versa. I pretty much think you are doomed to hate the movie if you read the book first and you are doomed to hate the book if you watched the movie first.


message 46: by Pandora (new)

Pandora Sierra thanks for the tip. I had a feeling I had missed the scarecrow. Perhaps, someday I might check it out but, maybe not. There are so many other great books.

Amy as for the musical being deeper it was for me. I had trouble getting through the book and understanding what the author was trying to say. The message of the musical came through loud and clear. After seeing the musical I began to explore its ideas of good and evil/innocence and awareness with the stories of Pandora and Eve. As a result I got an excellent worship service for my church. Which is where the Pandora part of my name comes from. My Mother got a lot of political meaning from the play.

Like reading seeing movies and plays can depend a lot on what you put into them. People don't read or see things through the same lens and sometimes one individual can get more from something then someone else.

Some people enjoy Moby Dick and others do not. Doesn't change the character of Moby Dick just means it is a story that speaks to some people and not others. The musical spoke to me. The book did not.

It is one of best musicals to have come out in a very very long time.



message 47: by Amy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy Kat, Completely understandable that you "got more out of the play". I can understand that...different things speaking to people in different ways. But by "deeper", I think it's indisputable that the book had SO many different layers and hidden meanings and symbolism. From the exorbitant amount of time the book spent on Elphaba's infancy to the time clock dragon to the head mistress at Shiz to the goldfish in the cellar to the political realm that the play didn't even touch on. The musical took ONE of the basic plot points- the most obvious- and made it come to life through beautiful characters and music. Trust me, I was moved to tears during the musical-- Im a big fan, but the fact that there was SO much more to the book makes it undoubtedly deeper in my opinion.


message 48: by Anna (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anna I loved the book and was so eager to pass it round to my book loving mates and out of 4 of them only 1 has said that they loved it as much as me.....very hard to understand.
Have not seen the musical, but it will definitely be one that I will be going to see in the future.
I have to admit though, when I first started it, it did take me a while to get into it, but after the first chapter I was hooked!!!!


message 49: by Pandora (new)

Pandora Amy okey I will grant you that the book is more complex then the musical. That is the nature of book vs any other medium. The book should always win that argument because the book has more room to develop multiple ideas.

My reaction to say the play was deeper was because of two reasons. One if your ideas are so complex and layered that you leave most readers go huh? then your message is not getting through. If your message is not getting through then how effective have you been as a writer?

Two was as a watcher of Broadway and having to seen one throw away musical after I was getting upset with people saying but, it is just a musical. All right maybe it is not the book. But, it is one of best musical to ever hit Broadway in a very long long time.


message 50: by Amy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy Hi Kat. Absolutely no doubt Wicked is one of the best musicals to hit Broadway and beyond...in fact, it's probably my favorite, but I wonder if it's because I loved the book so much. It's interesting to me- as a person who loved the play probably BECAUSE of the book- that alot of people who loved the book hate the play. Oh well, like we said: to each their own. And I will grant you that in order to not be confused by all the different details in the book, you really have to submerge yourself in McGuire's world- you definitely have to think about it. You're right, it's not for everyone. One of my closest friends with whom I share alot in common, hated the book. For the record, I'm not stroking the author...I was not nearly as impressed by his other books- in fact some of them not at all. I guess the bottom line is, the original discussion point was which is better and I stand by my opinion that you can love both.


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