Books Read in 2019
Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts
The story is told through the eyes of Maud Gage Baum, widow of L. Frank Baum, who wrote the book. It begins with her first visit to MGM during the filming of the movie and switches back and forth tracing Maud's life as the daughter of one of the country's leading suffragettes, Matilda Joslyn Gage, and her friends (like Susan B Anthony). Maud was to be the first woman in her family to attend college, but she left school to marry the charismatic actor, Frank Baum. The book follows Frank's many attempts to support his family, and along the way we see the bits and pieces of his life which become incorporated as big parts of the book (Maud's fear of scarecrows, for example).
If I have any complaints about the book it's that the success of the Oz book seems precipitous, from obscurity to overwhelming success within a couple of pages, but it was probably necessary to condense the story.
Maud's friendship with the young Judy Garland is fun to read, though it's difficult to know how much is based on fact and how much is conjecture. But who cares? It reads well and Maud's main desire is that this young actress get the "Dorothy" that her husband created accurately.
It's a great read for a lifelong Judy Garland fan and even though Wizard of Oz was never my favorite Garland movie, it did make me want to put on my copy of the movie and watch it again
by Sarah Pennypacker