Memphis Reads: FINDING DOROTHY by Elizabeth Letts

Andrea reviews FINDING DOROTHY by Elizabeth Letts. (Ballantine Books, 2019)

I am going to be honest when I tell you I never watched The Wizard of Oz until 6 years ago when my late mother-in-law, Jeri, asked me to go with her to the Orpheum. I had started watching the classic film several times on television but as soon the picture went from black and white to color, I turned off the television. When Jeri asked me to go, I knew I would have to watch it and there would be no turning it off. It turns out that was Jeri’s first time to watch the movie all the way through, also. We had a great time.

FINDING DOROTHY is a fictionalized, historical account of Mrs. Maud Gage Baum. She was not as famous as her husband, L. Frank Baum- especially in their later lives- but she did live quite a life before her marriage and with Frank. Like every family, they had their setbacks, career changes, and household moves, but nothing prepared them for the popularity and success of Frank’s OZ stories. Unfortunately, Frank did not live long enough to see The Wizard of Oz on the big screen. Being a faithful wife and doting widow, Maud made it her mission to see the movie did justice to her late husband’s books. Becoming friendly and protective of young, petite actress Judy Garland, Maud was never shy about taking out her mission while visiting the set and meeting the cast and crew.

This is a delightful story that deftly flips between Maud’s life and behind the scenes of the production of the movie. Either way, this is an exciting story that will (pardon the pun) pull back the curtain of Maud Gage Baum’s life story.