I just finished reading Wicked by Gregory Maguire. It's a stylized narrative of the birth, life and ultimate melting of the Wicked Witch of the West. It's an astounding book, and the musical based on the book was up for several Tonys this year.
The Witch, called "Elphaba" here (based on L Frank Baum's initials, I'm told), is cast as a, well not actually sympathetic character but her actions are much more understandable in light of the circumstances of her life. She is roommate of Glinda, the Good Witch of the North in a college in northern Oz as a teen and their relationship reverberates through Ozian history and politics for many years.
This is by no means a children's book, especially the idea that the humanized "Animals" (those like the Cowardly Lion) function in Ozian society as outcasts and second-class citizens. They even fulfill some of society's...baser functions as well.
I hope to write a nice, detailed review soon but for now has anyone else read this?