Jennifer's Reviews > The Annotated Wizard of Oz (Centennial Edition)

The Annotated Wizard of Oz (Centennial Edition) by L. Frank Baum
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Aug 15, 10

bookshelves: children, fiction, movie, personal-read, short-stories, fantasy
Read from January 27 to August 15, 2010

Michael Patrick Hearn maybe a well educated man who knows his Victorian children stories, but sometimes his writing can be exhausting. When I first picked up this book, I probably spent a good month try to finish up the biography of L. Frank Baum.

Hearn's need to over explain things doesn't let up in the annotations. In fact at some points I would only get through one page a night because there were so much "to be said." Sometimes things were interesting, sometimes they were not, and a lot of the times, seemed to be irrelevant to the actual novel. Many of the notes were about the expanded universe of the Wizard of Oz, such as musicals and future stories in the series. Sometimes the notes were interesting, but most of the time, I didn't care.

Some of the annotations were about Baum's background and how it might of affected the story. For example the first few annotations revolved around the characters make up. Probably two pages worth of text were about Dorothy and how the name might of possibly came to be. To me this was a waste of space since it didn't really have to do with the context of the story.

Putting these aside, I thought Hearn's comment on the context of the story were great. And it was nice to hear comments about textual influences on Baum's writing. I was sad to see there was nothing about the tin man representing the industrial revolution, and the such since it seemed to be a common allegory for the book.

At the end of the book, there was a short book that uses the Wizard of Oz characters. It was a nice addition to put the story into context of the time. It makes the reader aware that Children stories were more commonly written in a stylized manner, and that "The Wizard of Oz" is fairly gender neutral, keeping it very modern. And it really makes you aware of how often the characters were used outside of Baum's serials.

All in all, I would say this is a nice annotation of the story. Even though some of the comments seemed uninteresting, I wouldn't say there were too many far-fetched connections. But I do highly suggest reading the book ahead of time, since there is more written about the book, than the story itself.
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