Book Review - Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts
I can distinctly remember watching The Wizard of Oz repeatedly with my friend Robyn when we were kids. We had heard all kinds of legends/rumors about the production of the film and we loved looking for little oddities in the film. We would watch it over and over again discussing what we’d heard or looking for something that was supposed to be a little “off.” I think everyone has a story about when they first watched The Wizard of Oz or read the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz with their kids. It is a story that transcends time.
Elizabeth does a wonderful job jumping back in forth in time telling the story of Maud Gage from the time she was a child through her relationship with author L. Frank Baum. Throughout the story we see characters from the beloved children’s book emerge in their everyday lives and the moment the story comes together in Frank’s mind. There are a lot of academic analyses of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz out there looking at the political messages of the book - there is very little of that in this book. This is the story of a couple deeply in love, immensely creative, and determined to make it in a difficult world. This is also a story of a very strong woman. Although the book was written by Maud’s husband, she is at the center of Finding Dorothy. She is the epitome of the strong woman behind the successful man.
I loved this book. Before reading Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts, I’m not sure I could have named the author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz off the top of my head. I more quickly think of Judy Garland than L. Frank Baum when associating people with the story. Judy Garland does play a rather significant character in Finding Dorothy as Elizabeth Letts tells how Maud met Judy on the set of the movie as she attempted to protect her husband’s most prized and beloved work.