Finding Dorothy

Finding Dorothy

A Novel

Book - 2019
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Maud Gage Baum, widow of the author of the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, met Judy Garland, the young actress playing the role of Dorothy on the set of The Wizard of Oz in 1939. At the time, Maud was seventy-eight and Judy was sixteen. In spite of their age difference, Maud immediately connected to Judy--especially when Maud heard her sing "Over the Rainbow," a song whose yearning brought to mind the tough years in South Dakota when Maud and her husband struggled to make a living--until Frank Baum's book became a national sensation. This wonderfully evocative two-stranded story recreates Maud's youth as the rebellious daughter of a leading suffragette, and the prairie years of Maud and Frank's early days when they lived among the people--especially young Dorothy--who would inspire Frank's masterpiece. Woven into this past story is one set in 1939, describing the high-pressured days on The Wizard of Oz film set where Judy is being badgered by the director, producer, and her ambitious stage mother to lose weight, bind her breasts, and laugh, cry, and act terrified on command. As Maud had promised to protect the original Dorothy back in Aberdeen, she now takes on the job of protecting young Judy.
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, [2019]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780525622109
Branch Call Number: LETTS E
Characteristics: 351 pages ; 25 cm


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IndyPL_AngieL Apr 11, 2019

“Finding Dorothy” is a fictional account of Maud Baum, the wife of L. Frank Baum (author of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” series of books). Told from Maud’s point of view, the book swings back and forth between time periods: from Maud’s girlhood and young womanhood, through her marriage and widowhood, to Hollywood’s MGM studios in the late 1930’s—when Judy Garland and many others were first preparing to film the screen version of “The Wizard of Oz.” Maud feels fiercely protective of her now-deceased husband’s book, and she is determined to see that the movie is properly made based on what her beloved husband envisioned. But Maud can’t help noticing how young Judy is treated on the set, and becomes just as fierce in her protection of the innocent young girl. A great read for anyone looking for a fictionalized version of the events surrounding the making of “The Wizard of Oz,” and the equally interesting story of this quiet but passionate woman.

Mar 14, 2019

Thoroughly enjoyed the movie every spring as a child and I was very interested in the story behind it. The author did not disappoint. I couldn’t put it down.

Mar 08, 2019

You don’t have to be a big fan of the Wizard of Oz to enjoy this; at its heart, it is a story of a resilient and independent woman who forged her own path through education, poverty, her husband’s whimsical but poor business decisions, and family life. Well-researched and readable it brings to life the life the places, people and events that shaped the magical world of Oz.

Feb 27, 2019

Enjoyed it immensely!

DCLadults Feb 13, 2019

A New & Noteworthy pick. The wife of the author of "The Wizard of Oz" befriends a young Judy Garland. If you loved the story and the movie you will be enchanted by this historical fiction.

Chapel_Hill_MarthaW Jan 15, 2019

I enjoyed this considerably more than I thought I would, which sounds like a back-handed compliment, but I think I stand by it. I'm not a huge Wizard of Oz fan, and turn of the century middle America is not really my area of interest, but I thought this was a really interesting portrait of L. Frank Baum's wife, and it motivated me to go look up the real story when I was done reading, which I always think is the marker of a good piece of historical fiction.


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