Lately, it’s been difficult for me to find a novel which piques my interest enough to keep the pages turning. Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts is one I couldn’t put down.
I gravitate toward novels which keep the plot moving, but also have a tremendous character growth throughout the story. I find it more compelling when it’s based on factual historical accounts, which this novel utilizes.
We’ve all heard of the movie Wizard of Oz, but I wonder how many of us have read the book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum, complete with original illustrations. Mr. Baum’s book was first published in 1900 and became an instant bestseller and timeless classic with more than 300,000,000 copies sold to date. In 1939, the blockbuster Technicolor movie catapulted Judy Garland’s career and iconic song, Somewhere Over The Rainbow into legendary status. The song has been remade and performed by hundreds of artists since the movie debuted. How did the story come to be? What was the true meaning behind the rainbow lyrics?
This is where Finding Dorothy completes the backstory. Told from the point of view of Maud Gage Baum, the author’s wife. Throughout the story, Maud’s life experiences with her husband and family reveal an intriguing parallel with the movement and experience of the Wizard of Oz plot. The book subtly unravels how an ordinary life is turned into magic of the imagination. It gives clues on how the story worked its way out of Mr. Baum’s fantastical mind and brought hope and color into the lives of millions of people over the years.
The book is not an Old Hollywood tell-all gossip story, although there are moments when the secrets of movie producers and directors would nowadays make infamous headlines for the #metoo movement. It also a reveals a poignant understanding into the sadness of Judy Garland. It’s not a syrupy, everything’s-hunky-dory type of story, either. To say what it IS about–without giving away too much–is a gutsy story about taking chances, trying to keep grounded in practicality while soaring in a world of dreams and chasing sparkly magic. It’s about a woman who followed her heart, raised a family, lived through financial hardships, and strived to complete the important mission to find and protect Dorothy–and honor the spirit of the story her husband created.
This book is extremely well-written, heartwarming, and inspiring. It’s full of secrets behind the story and provides another layer of delicious richness in the tale of Oz.
It’s on my book rack as a favorite. If you choose to add it to your book collection, I hope you enjoy it, also. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Finding Dorothy can be found on Amazon by clicking: HERE
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the movie came out in 1939 (I’m a bit of a gone with the wind/wizard of oz nut – they came out the same year)
Thank you so much for catching the incorrect date! I’m a fan of both movies, too–I should have caught the error. Thanks so much for the heads up. Dawn
so welcome! and I also have Finding Dorothy on my Goodreads “to read” list 🙂
I’m curious to know your thoughts once you’ve read it. Thanks, again for the assistance–I’m always horrified when I find an error in my post after I hit the ‘publish’ button. 🙂
I’d love to connect on Goodreads if you’re on there. Also, I never really stress about what I publish – I don’t pre-write anything and just let my thoughts go wherever. If I find an error, I just go back and fix it. I’ve gotten to the point in my life where I just have to let the small stuff go.
Sounds like a great book. Thanks for the recommendation!
Dawn, what a beautifully written book review! I think there is another “career” out there if you are interested! 😉. I’m sure you are perfectly content with life as it is now…full of wonder and discovery! So happy for you. Hugs. 💖
Thanks Dawn for the recommendation. It looks like you and I have similar taste in my all time favorite pastime! That said, I have a book recommendation that I think you will enjoy if you haven’t already and that is “Water for Elephants” written by Sara Gruen. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Sounds like a fantastic read! Will click link!
I love to read, everything except romance novels. Your honest critique of the book makes me want to pick up a copy. Thank you. Hope all is well. Happy manatee hugs.
I may need to read this since Judy Garland grew up in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Or maybe she was born there, just. In any case, Judy is a big deal in that community.
She was a very talented lady, and her sadness has always haunted me. While Judy is mentioned in the book quite often and part of the storyline, it doesn’t delve too much into her life as much as how it intersected with the main character. As a fan of the book and movie, I loved learning some of the backstory. I’m curious to hear your thoughts after reading it.