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This week’s review: Finding Dorothy
Finding Dorothy | Elizabeth Letts | 2019, 351 pages | Fiction
This creative novel is centered on the fascinating character of Maud Baum. Maud was the wife of L. Frank Baum, the man who wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. This famous book was made into the beloved film, The Wizard of Oz. It starts in Hollywood in 1938 when 77-year-old Maud, now a widow, visits the MGM set. She wants to see how they are turning her husband’s book into a film. She is shocked by some of the changes that are being made, and she is worried about the treatment of Dorothy, played by Judy Garland. When Maud hears Judy singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” she realizes that she must step in – to help them be true to the story, and also to try to protect Dorothy.
The novel also covers Maud’s childhood, growing up as a famous suffragette’s daughter and being one of the first women to attend an Ivy League college. She met L. Frank Baum, the actor (and dreamer), and they fell in love. Frank had many ideas about business and show business and their marriage was full of ups and downs. They had four sons, but never had a daughter. This wonderful imagined story is based on careful research by the author. Elizabeth Letts was reading the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to her son when she realized that she didn’t know much about the author, the author who created the unforgettable character of a brave young girl named Dorothy.
Dorothy gives us hope, hope that (with the help of our friends) we can find the things that really matter.