So sudden and new? I felt the moment I laid eyes on you.
Musical geeks will recognize that as the intro line to “Loathing” from the musical ‘Wicked’. Strangely the musical I didn’t loathe, compared to the book which I utterly detest.
Aren’t they the same story?
Execution, my friends. The book feels like the Oz setting is shoe-horned in to the political and societal statement Maguire wanted to make in his story. The voices of the characters all speak with Maguire’s voice, and it can be hard to tell who is actually talking as a result. This dialogue with the same voice is one of the primary reasons I don’t write fiction, I can’t make the characters speak with their own voices. Maguire had no such self-awareness.
In fact, because the musical was rooted in the book, I refused to see it for years. This means I missed my chance to see Kirsten Chenoweth and Idina Menzel perform it. All because I had read the book, and even after I realized the musical was, in many ways, it’s own take, I refused to contribute to the idea that Maguire had been successful in any way.
Slowly, over time, exposure to the songs, the revisions in the story, and the amazing acting got under my skin. I began to want to, then need to, see it. I got the soundtrack as a Christmas gift and I’d leave it on repeat. Since then I’ve seen it twice, and still love the depth they breathe into Glinda and Elphaba, a point the book felt hollow on.
So maybe it comes down to the details, the way the songs give a distinct style to the characters that was missing in the novel for me.
But you still can’t make me read Son of a Witch. It is not happening.