It's so strange to me because I know that Wicked has been such a popular musical that people really love. Then when I added the book on which it was based to Goodreads, I was surprised to see that the reviews (well, the stars) were middling, leaning between indifference and hatred. (Now, of course, I begin to suspect or realize that, like most musicals, this one must be quite different from its novel.) Still, I approached this book by Gregory Maguire knowing little to nothing about it, and you'd expect that that would give me the benefit of the doubt.
It didn't. The beginning of the book is very odd and felt placed at random. Even once the plot seemed to be moving in the direction I'd been expecting, it suddenly fell flat again. I grew intensely bored with the plot, finding it a tedious rehashing of an equality theme. And I continued being greatly bored with the book, though it also gave interspersed moments of inappropriateness, bordering sometimes on perversion (Not of course to imply that a book can't include anything inappropriate because the world itself contains much that is inappropriate and therefore fiction must, as well--otherwise you couldn't even put death in a book. But that's another topic). Honestly, reading this book made me feel sick.
The best part, for me, was Part IV, "In the Vinkus." Maybe this section was more character-driven, and I felt like I knew this small group of characters enough to have some vague interest in what happened to them. Maybe also the theme of seeking forgiveness and not being able to receive it grew interesting. But even this was very little.
Perhaps I should return to theme. I can name themes in here and I can name the questions it presents (questions that, in the style of John Keats's phrase "negative capability," need not necessarily be answered). But none of that really stands out in my head or strikes me as something that I learned and/or felt because of reading this book. And that's rather disappointing to me. That is, I can see how you would be able to do a thorough reading and make a connection between this and that event or character and another one or how you might interpret this or that symbol. But I have zero inclination to do so, nor would I have any desire to read anything about this book, or to even look at this book again.
It was so boring. Elphaba is, I suppose, an interesting character creation. But I watched her events unfold and now I'm done. It was a boring ride and I'm so glad to have it over. Not just boring, it was too often offensive, too often questionable, too often intrusively random and crude to come together to any sort of meaning for me. This is apparently one of those love-it-or-hate-it books, and I did not love it.