What I’m Reading: Finding Dorothy

I put this book, Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts, on my waitlist, and finally after several months, the book became available.

I will admit, I put the book on my list simply because of the cover.  I didn’t read the synopsis.  I just popped it on my list because it looked like it might take place in the 40s and it looked like it was a story from the Midwest.  Hmm.  All things I found interesting.

Well…I got some things right and lots wrong.

The story was actually about the wife of Frank Baum the author of the book The Wizard of Oz.  UGH.  I am weird but didn’t like The Wizard of Oz at all when I was a kid.  I didn’t like witches or fanciful things.  I didn’t like fantasy at all.  Because I didn’t like any of this so almost didn’t read this book.

I decided to give it a try and also decided the second I didn’t like it, I had complete permission to put the book away and give up on it.

Weirdly, I LOVED this book.  I loved how the author wove pieces of Frank Baum’s life into the writing of The Wizard of Oz.  It was actually a really great book and I highly recommend it.

Here is what Amazon had to say:
Hollywood, 1938: As soon as she learns that M-G-M is adapting her late husband’s masterpiece for the screen, seventy-seven-year-old Maud Gage Baum sets about trying to finagle her way onto the set. Nineteen years after Frank’s passing, Maud is the only person who can help the producers stay true to the spirit of the book—because she’s the only one left who knows its secrets.

But the moment she hears Judy Garland rehearsing the first notes of “Over the Rainbow,” Maud recognizes the yearning that defined her own life story, from her youth as a suffragette’s daughter to her coming of age as one of the first women in the Ivy League, from her blossoming romance with Frank to the hardscrabble prairie years that inspired The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Judy reminds Maud of a young girl she cared for and tried to help in South Dakota, a dreamer who never got her happy ending. Now, with the young actress under pressure from the studio as well as her ambitious stage mother, Maud resolves to protect her—the way she tried so hard to protect the real Dorothy.

The author of two New York Times bestselling nonfiction books, The Eighty-Dollar Champion and The Perfect Horse, Elizabeth Letts is a master at discovering and researching a rich historical story and transforming it into a page-turner. Finding Dorothy is the result of Letts’s journey into the amazing lives of Frank and Maud Baum. Written as fiction but based closely on the truth, Elizabeth Letts’s new book tells a story of love, loss, inspiration, and perseverance, set in America’s heartland.”

Amazon readers gave the book 4.6 stars.  I TOTALLY recommend this book and am going to give it 4.8 stars.  That’s saying a lot being I really am not a fan of the movie The Wizard of Oz.  If you are a fan, I would consider this a must-read book.

You can find the book HERE if you are interested.

10 thoughts on “What I’m Reading: Finding Dorothy

  1. Kathe Howe

    You may enjoy another book by Elizabeth Letts titled The Ride of Her Life. It’s a true story about a 64 year old woman who decides to ride her horse across the entire country in the 1950s, and the adventures she has along the way. I loved it.

    Reply
  2. Kate

    I have never seen the whole movie, but the book sounds interesting. Glad you liked it – so it isn’t too terrible to judge (or pick) a book by its cover!

    Reply
  3. Shirley

    I read this 3-4 years ago for my book club and we all liked it too. Had a bit of history in it and part of The Wizard of Oz was supposedly written near when I live Holland, MI. It definitely is worth reading.

    Reply
  4. Charlotte Wolfe

    Thank you for recommending. I do love the Wizard of Oz movie, (sorry you don’t, and would be interested in a conversation about that sometime. ;) ). I primarily read historical novels with strong women characters set centuries ago. I just read this sample on Amazon and pushed “buy”. Thanks again for the tip.

    Reply
  5. Susan Reinhart

    I recently read this too and enjoyed it very much. I love The Wizard of Oz so it was kind of fun to see the possible behind the scenes.

    Reply
  6. Mary Jeanne Bruce

    Oh I love Wizard of Oz. I grew up in Culver City, CA where MGM was and this movie was made. There have been occasions that the Chamber celebrated the movie and actors, especially the little people. I have met them and they are just terrific humans. Thanks for your sharing of this book, I am going to get it and read it too! Oh and I love your cross stitch stories and what you are working on. I am a newbie at it and love it too as well as quilting. It is tough have two favorite hobbies. Bless you!

    Reply
  7. Cindy in NC

    You’ll probably like The Ride of her Life by the same author. It’s the true story of a cross-country journey. In the mid 50’s, after being given just two years to live, 62-year-old Maine resident Annie Wilkins sets off on horseback with her dog for company to fulfill a dream of seeing the Pacific Ocean. She meets a cross-section of Americans along her way, and her travels reminded me a bit of Dorothy’s quest to reach Oz.

    Reply

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