25—Wicked, The Life & Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire

The story of how the Wicked Witch of the West became the Wicked Witch of the West (a prequel to L.Frank Baum's Wizard of Oz).

The story opens with the witch looking down on Dorothy, Toto, Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion. We and the witch listen in to the four's conversation—they are wondering how the witch came to be.

It is in the rest of the story that we learn about The Witch Elphaba and her sister Nessarose, the witch of the East, and of course, Glinda, the Good Witch of the North.

It is an interesting story filled with fun vocabulary (codswallop - a bunch of hooey) and amusing metaphors "These energetic afternoon naps you take—well you always had an eye for the fellow with the decent helping of sausage and hard boiled eggs," says the nanny to Elphaba's philandering mother.

It's an interesting story and one which gives the reader pause to ponder the nature of good and evil. There is a fine line between the two and often the choice is in the eyes of the beholder and not necessarily clear cut. 

And  religion? How does it shape the believer and the non-believer? What is moral, amoral, or immoral.

Was Elphaba the evil one or was Glinda? And Nessarose—was she shaped by her religion or did she shape her religion to suit her circumstances. Are the sins of the father and mother visited on their daughters?

These are questions Maguire's "Wicked" ponders. But don't let the philosophical discussion dissuade you from the story - it's corkin' good and that's no codswallop.

© Surveyor of the Passing Scene