finding dororthy by elizabeth letts
biographical HISTORICAL FICTION, 368 PP
Finding Dorothy could have been titled, Finding Maud, but no one would have known who Maud was, or cared enough to pick up the book off a shelf. (Hence, the importance of selecting a book title – What’s in a Name?) The main character is Maud Baum, wife of the original Wizard of Oz book series author, Frank L. Baum. In an adept use of a dual timeline approach, Elizabeth Letts presents the backstory of Frank and Maud in the late 1800s/early 1900s so we can understand the inspirations for his books and Maud’s desire to protect the heart and meaning of the Dorothy character as the movie is filmed in 1938/1939.
There was a good amount of research and historical detail which powered the story to make it an easy, yet informative read. From the workings of Maud’s mother as a preeminent suffragist in upstate NY to pioneer-styled living in North Dakota, to the World’s Fair in Chicago forward to the early days of Hollywood, complete with the issues of drug use by actors and actresses – knowingly or unknowingly – to the consistent abuse of directorial powers and influence of stage mothers, the story weaves the two time periods together in a seamless manner.
Another excellent book club choice to provide endless opportunities for themed food and drink, and even costumes! Related blog post: Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.Jhumpa Lahiri
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