Saturday, 14 September 2019

Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts - A Magical Novel About the Making of The Wizard of Oz



If you are of a certain age, you probably looked forward to watching The Wizard of Oz on Christmas afternoon. It used to be on every year and we think we know it so well, but in Finding Dorothy, Elizabeth Letts looks at the true story behind L Frank Baum's magical book.
To do this, she follows the life of of his wife, Maud, daughter of the famous American suffragist, Matilda Joslyn Gage, who was sent to Cornell to get an education, but who gave it up when she fell in love with an itinerant actor called Frank.
Finding Dorothy is a magical novel in that it is set not only in the late nineteenth century, but also in 1939 Hollywood when Maud Baum, now seventy-eight years old, attempts to enter MGM Studios to talk to Louis B Mayer to ensure that the film stays true to Frank's work.
Through Elizabeth Letts' narration, we meet the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Lion, and we meet Dorothy - Judy Garland, of course - and find out about her difficult life too. This is all the more interesting this year, eighty years after the film was released, and also in the light of the new film, Judy, starring Reneé Zellweger which comes out in the UK on October 2nd.
Finding Dorothy isn't just about the character Judy portrays, it goes much deeper but you will have to read the book to find out how!
I'm off now to watch The Wizard of Oz and marvel at the beautiful voice of Judy Garland singing Over the Rainbow, knowing so much more about the story of Judy and Dorothy, thanks to Finding Dorothy and Elizabeth Letts.




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