Mercy on Earth am I glad to be done with this book...FINALLY. It took forever to read and by the time I realized that the payoff would be nothing compared to the effort of reading the tome, I was too far to stop.
Wicked was recommended by several friends, and even if it hadn't been it was still on my reading list. Everyone said that this was the Wicked Witch's story, that it would explain "why" she tortured Dorothy so much, and that it gave interesting insight into the nature of good and evil.
The witch, Elphaba, is 38 at the end of the novel, and it started awhile before she was born. While the story of Elphaba's family was interesting, I'm not sure I needed as much of it as I got. And as for Dorothy....it seemed to me that she was thrown into the last section so that the author could say "Yeah, here's Dorothy." Very little in Elphaba's past made sense in regards to Dorothy; in fact the events surrounding the Ruby Red Slippers seemed contrived at best.
As for the nature of good and evil, MaGuire definitely hit it out of the park on this one (no pun intended). The book is largely philosophical (which may be part of the reason I found it such a snoozer at times), and it does offer, through Elphaba's actions and thoughts, a unique view on what evil is and how it is created.
I'm glad I read Wicked. I won't read it again. It is an interesting novel, with humorous and dark moments both, characters that changed and evolved as people do, and though the tie in to Dorothy was, in my opinion, completely unnecessary, it did allow for the Wicked Witch of the West to meet her demise as we all have known she did since childhood.