Just a warning, there be spoilers below. Those who love musicals and/or witch stories should take careful note of this.
Last night I finished reading Wicked by Gregory Maguire. It's what the musical of the same name is based on. And....I devoured it. I finished in about 3 days. Although I can't say that it was fantastic or amazing. It was enjoyable read, but I found myself constantly comparing it to the musical, and it's been two years since I've seen that. So I found myself constantly comparing the two.
And I realized why I read it so fast.
There is no theme of LOVE in the book. Themes of loyalty, good vs. evil, and family are prevalent. But the main character, Elphaba, lives a life fairly devoid of love. Since she is born green (yes, really), her parents don't give her the love she deserves, because she is seen as a curse, a punishment from God. Then, she is respected by her college friends, but never is she told that she is loved. It isn't until later in her life, when she has a love affair with a married man, that she seems to have found it. But lasts a few months, and her political efforts come first. The love affair ends, and until the end of the book, Elphie is alone, unloved, unloving.
I need love. A story with a character who is driven by political ambition or greed is interesting, but I can't empathize with them. And if I can't empathize, I don't get as wrapped up in the story. But a character driven by love, that's a character I can understand, empathize with. A character becomes so much more interesting. So I ended up reading through it so fast, because I figured that there must be love somewhere along the story, right? Its a common story element, and I wanted it. And there wasn't. And, as soon as I finished it, I found myself trying to re-write it. And I was glad for the musical , which doesn't follow the book line for line. The musical makes Elphaba a more empathetic character, and ends in a way that I wish the book had.
Plus, the music is fantastic.
I learned something about myself. Something I haven't been sure that I want to admit. I love love stories. That's what I want to write. Now, don't get excited. I don't mean rom com's, or sappy stories. But stories where love is a driving theme. And not just romantic love. Love between friends, plationic love, family love. I need it.