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Finding Dorothy

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  12,391 ratings  ·  2,393 reviews
A richly imagined novel that tells the story behind The Wonderful Wizard of Oz , the book that inspired the iconic film, through the eyes of author L. Frank Baum's intrepid wife, Maud--from the family's hardscrabble days in South Dakota to the Hollywood film set where she first meets Judy Garland.

Maud Gage Baum, widow of the author of the book The Wonderfu
Hardcover, 351 pages
Published February 12th 2019 by Ballantine Books
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Lisa The book is real. The story does fit the timeline, we have two stories threads, her back story (born in 1861) and her time on the set of Wizard of Oz,…moreThe book is real. The story does fit the timeline, we have two stories threads, her back story (born in 1861) and her time on the set of Wizard of Oz, where she was 77. (1938) and died in 1953 at the age of 92. Letts is an amazing researcher, yes this is a work of fiction (because you are re-imagining the dialogue) but the story is based on a truth. (less)
Elizabeth Thank you so much for noticing this! I'm going to make sure that this is corrected for the paperback edition. You would not believe how many different…moreThank you so much for noticing this! I'm going to make sure that this is corrected for the paperback edition. You would not believe how many different people proofread a manuscript as it's going to press, and yet, these mistakes slip through. Thank goodness for eagle-eyed readers! (and don't ever hesitate to send an email to the author if you spot a typo. I can't speak for all authors, but I definitely appreciate it) and Random House is terrific about trying to fix all mistakes. --Elizabeth Letts(less)

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Average rating 4.13  · 
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 ·  12,391 ratings  ·  2,393 reviews

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Angela M
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars rounded up.

“ The Wizard of Oz “ has been one of my favorite movies for more years than I’m willing to admit. I’ve seen it so many times that I can recite a lot of the dialogue by heart. I have to admit, though, that I have never read the book and having read this novel makes me want to read it. If I had read the book, I would have known that the ruby slippers weren’t red and that Oz is not emerald green, among other things. I just knew that this book would evoke nostalgic feelings and
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)

My 2019 year of reading is off to a wonderful start partly because of this wonderful book! This is such an original story that I couldn’t wait to start reading and I was not disappointed. The fact that I've watched this movie over a dozen times improved my experience because when Maud, our main character, is talking about the scenes that were being filmed, I could remember each and every one of them.

From the blurb you know that t
Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
"Now, almost twenty years after her husband's death, many people didn't recognize his name, but was there anyone, big or small, who didn't know Dorothy and the Scarecrow, the tin man and the Lion?"

Who hasn't seen the Wizard of Oz? Anyone? I know that I still watch it at least once a year! Finding Dorothy tells the story of the making of The Wizard of Oz and the story of Maud Gage Baum (the widow of the Author) and her life with her husband, Frank Baum (L. Frank Baum). The Struggles they faced du
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Elizabeth Letts blends fact and fiction in this fascinating piece of historical fiction that explores the life of Maud Gage Baum, the little known wife of L Frank Baum, the famous author of the The Wizard of Oz. The narrative has two timelines, that of Maud and her family from the 1870s onwards, and the 78 year old Maud's presence on the Hollywood film set of The Wizard of Oz in 1939 where she aims to ensure that the movie stays true to her husband's vision. Maud is the daughter of Matilda, a we ...more
May 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts is a 2019 Ballantine Books publication.

A different and captivating perspective on the magical,’ Wonderful Wizard of Oz’, L. Frank Baum, and his exceptional partner in life- the irrepressible Maud Baum!!

I had no idea what to expect when I began reading this book, but I must say it was surprising. For the most part this is a fictionalized account of Maud Baum’s life. However, the story alternates between Maud’s background and the Wizard of Oz movie set in 1939,
Nov 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

When Maud Gage began her first year of Cornell University, her focus was only on higher learning, and certainly not the boys of Cornell. Her roommate is Josie, Josie Baum, and it is through Josie that Maud meets the man that was foretold by a somewhat silly group of young women, Josie’s brother – L. Frank Baum. A man who, one day, will write one of those beloved childhood books The Wizard of Oz.

This is the story that is behind the making of both the book, and the now clas
Diane S ☔
Feb 03, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 I still remember when I first saw The wizard of Oz. I was fairly young and it was a little bit scary, and alot magical. I deliver it again through my children, and now it's the turn of my grandchildren. In fact my two grandaunts and i played make believe, reenacting the witches I'm melting scene. Great fun.

Anyway this story starts with a 77 year old Maude, coming to MGM studios to insist on assisting in the making of the movie. The movie of course written by her husband Frank, now dead for o
Elyse  Walters
Aug 05, 2019 rated it liked it
I’m off to follow the yellow brick road to drop off my negativity... pick up new marbles for my brain, give my heart a bath...and as for courage goes - well, it’s not an issue. ( as you can see)
It must be sacrilegious, to say anything less than ‘aw’, when it comes to “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”.

But this book was just ‘ok’ for me.
Given that I’ve read some heavy books recently with another 700+ page book I’m reading filled with war- ( again) - drugs and violence ....
I thought there couldn’t be
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
The story behind the story of the classic book and movie. ♥️

Finding Dorothy is the story behind one of the most beloved books (and movies) of all time, The Wizard of Oz. The story is told through the voice of L. Frank Baum’s wife, Maud.

Finding Dorothy covers the time that Maud and Frank live in South Dakota, barely making ends meet. It was during this time that the couple meets a real life Dorothy who inspired Frank to write the novel. The book also covers Maud’s early years as the daughter of
Jan 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley

This is a sweet story of the widow of L. Frank Baum, the writer of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. It’s told both during the making of the movie (years after Mr. Baum has passed on) and the years of their lives together. Mrs. Maud Baum, the daughter of a suffragette, is one of the first women to go to Cornell as a coed. There, she is introduced to her future husband, the cousin of her roommate. She defies her mother to marry this theatre man.

This isn’t a deep tale or an overly impressive story. But
This is a charming and very original story based on the making of the movie "The Wizard of Oz" in 1939. The author says her inspiration came from seeing a photo taken of Judy Garland with Maud Baum, the widow of L.Frank Baum, author of the fourteen books about Oz.

Although the author says she re-imagined the lives of Frank and Maud, she has researched her topic well and included many details about their lives and the making of the film. Maud was an interesting woman in her own right. Born in 186
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have many pleasant memories from my childhood. However, there is one that is confusing. I was not a fan of The Wizard of Oz movie, yet I regularly watched it on TV. I think that a comfy seat on the sofa next to my grandmother, a bowl of freshly popped popcorn and an extension to my bedtime made watching a wicked witch, flying monkeys, and a tornado, okay.
I never read the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. All I knew came from the 1939 movie. It surprised me that my interest in Oz was piqued by t
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
Well, I have sat on my feelings for a few days about this book and realize that I just needed to come right out and say I disliked the book. I know it's hard for us book lovers and especially those who adored the movie The Wizard of Oz as a child, as a parent, and as a grandparent, but pushing that love aside and the fond memories it engendered, I found the book to be dull and pedantic.

While I did really like the parts that dealt with Judy Garland, Hollywood, the studio, and Maud, the other sect
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received a free e-copy of Finding Dorothy: A Novel by Elizabeth Letts from NetGalley for my honest review.

Who didn't love The Wonderful Wizard of Oz? A fascinating and adventurous classic MGM movie starring Judy Garland. Now years later,Elizabeth Letts introduces us to the author (L. Frank Baum) behind the book and movie. We also get to learn about his wife, (Maud). This story is told through Maud's voice. It is a story of her life.

Maud Baum, f/k/a Maud Gage, was the daughter of a shopkeeper,
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, netgalley
In 1939, Maud Gage Baum met with Judy Garland on the set of the now classic The Wizard of Oz. The seventy-eight year old widow of the Oz author immediately felt drawn to the young star, particularly after hearing her rendition of the iconic “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. From that bit of music, their stories unfold as Maud recounts growing up as the daughter of a major suffragette and her eventual marriage to and life with the man behind the curtain all while Judy balances her blooming career on ...more
May 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was wonderful it was beautifully written . It’s about the wife of L. Frank Baum’s wife Maude. Now I love all things old Hollywood and I love Judy Garland and I especially love wizard of oz but this book is told in 2 parts part the making of the Oz movie and Maude’s past, and I found myself loving the old parts of her past it was a captivating story. I can’t recommend this book enough it’s wonderful like the wonderful wizard of Oz.
Whispering Stories
Mar 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Book Reviewed by Stacey on

The 1939 film The Wizard of Oz is one of my all-time favourite classic movies. I’ve always been in awe at how a film from the era it was made in was done so spectacular and with a great cast, including Judy Garland.

With this in mind when I heard about the book ‘Finding Dorothy’ I just had to read it. The book reads like part biography and part story, although all the book is fictionalised, Elizabeth Letts has stuck to the facts when it came to
Joe Krakovsky
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was ok
Like many of my generation, I grew up with "The Wizard of Oz." No, I don't mean the book, that was an earlier generation. What I remember was once a year it would be on TV preceded by much fanfare. People couldn't record it and watch it at their leisure. That capability was some thirty years in the future. What we did was gather around the black-and-white with bowls of popcorn that Mom made on the stove, and Kool Aid for the kids. And unlike "A Christmas Story" it was only shown once and not all ...more
Jonathan K
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Without doubt the movie, The Wizard of Oz, is legendary. Adapted from the book by Frank Baum written at the turn of the 20th century, "Finding Dorothy" is a remarkable, well researched, engaging story about how the story came to be. Told through the eyes of Frank's wife, Maud when she appears at the MGM lot, the story flips back and forth from the filming to her life. Her mother was one of the first women's suffrage advocates and Maud inherits her strength of character. Introduced to her college ...more
As every other review will tell you, this is an historical fiction detailing the background of The Wizard of Oz, both the writing of the book and the making of the movie. There were parts of this book I was a bit bored with, but there were more things I found really fascinating. Wasn't a fan of the early marriage days of Frank Baum and Maud Gage; it was occasionally too long winded, although Frank (author of the Wizard of Oz books) was very charming. Maud's mother, a free thinking suffragist and ...more
Jan 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
L. Frank Baum wrote a book that would prove to be one of the most beloved books of all times, “The Wizard of Oz”. What child doesn’t know this magical story? This new book by Dorothy Letts tells the story behind the story of the Land of Oz. The book centers on Maud Gage Baum, Frank’s wife, and fluctuates between the childhood and life of Maud starting when she was 10 years old in 1871 and the time period when the movie with Judy Garland was filmed and released.

Not only was Maud the daughter of a
Donna Davis
“Don’t let anybody steal your marbles.”

Maud Gage Baum is one of a kind. The godchild of Susan B. Anthony, child of first-wave feminist Matilda Joslyn Gage and an indulgent, progressively inclined father, she is unhampered by many of the traditional expectations that shackle women born during the American Civil War. But though her parents encourage her to develop her mind and talents, they have little prepared her for the wider world that greets her, and when she arrives at the women’s dormitory
Fantastic! If you love Oz (any of the books), Dorothy, Judy Garland, early Hollywood, or even early California. . . you outta give this a try. I enjoyed it immensely.

A few years ago I read the bio done by an author who, we come to find out was not exactly informed by the family member most in the know. It presented a Frank Baum that was way out of line with the one my head could see writing those stories. . . .I couldn't reconcile it. I'd read all those books and loved them - they are clever an
"Finding Dorothy" tells the irresistible story of L. Frank Baum and his wife Maud Gage Baum. Frank Baum is the author of the OZ Series of Books.

This book alternates between the life that Frank and Maud lived and the making of the movie The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in 1939. Maud fights for the accuracy and attention to detail that she wants to see reflected in the movie and she knows Frank would want her to. Frank had died in 1919 and left her the legacy and protection of the intent of the stories.
Lindsey Gandhi
Do you believe in magic? I think you just might after reading this book. The story The Wizard of Oz is a mystical childhood story that takes us on a journey only our imaginations could understand. Reading the story behind the story is equally as enchanting and magical. Elizabeth Letts writes a beautiful story that pulls you in and takes you on that mystical journey just the way The Wizard of Oz does. She artfully mixes fact and fiction to bring Dorothy completely to life. I really enjoyed the al ...more
Renee Rosen
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Full review coming but in the meantime, add this to your shelf! It's just amazing!!!! Fans of The Wizard of Oz will be blown away!
Cindy Burnett
Nov 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

Finding Dorothy is an entertaining read that reimagines the creation of the book The Wizard of Oz and subsequently the filming of the movie. By the time the movie was being made in 1938, L. Frank Baum had passed away, and his wife Maud Gage Baum wanted to ensure that the director and others involved in the film stayed true to the book. She offered her services and spent some time on the set. The story is a dual timeline tale, alternating between Maud’s younger years and the period durin
Karen R
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
This story brought me back into the world of Oz and thoughtful of the numerous times I watched this classic and yearned for a pair of those magic shoes. Written from the perspective of Frank Baum’s wife Maud, Elizabeth Letts artfully connects the dots between meticulous historical research and imagination. I was drawn in from the beginning and loved the smallest details and her respectful peek into the lives of this influential couple. There is also much to learn about Judy Garland and her tragi ...more
Rating: 5 Glorious Yellow Brick Road Stars

Okay, I think that this is my favorite book so far in 2019. It’s Historical Fiction which I normally really enjoy, and it features dual timeline stories. We get to meet Maud Gage Baum at both the beginning and towards the end of her life. Who knew that the wife of L. Frank Baum was so interesting? Certainly not I before I read this book, but the author, Elizabeth Letts, captivated me with Maud.

The story starts with tomboy Maud’s growing up years in upsta
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
First I must confess to being a lifelong Wizard of Oz and Judy Garland fan. I don’t think I had even turned 4-years-old when I remember watching it in my Tante’s TV room in 1969. It was my first foray into movie musicals which led me to my adoration of Broadway. So I was a tad skeptical of this book. So much so that it took several months between the first chapter and reading the rest of the book.

The strength of this book is discovering the origins of L. Frank Baum’s classic modern fairytale. L
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ELIZABETH LETTS is an award winning and bestselling author of both fiction and non-fiction. The Perfect Horse was the winner of the 2017 PEN USA Award for Research Non-fiction and a #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller. The Eighty-Dollar Champion was a #1 New York Times bestseller and winner of the 2012 Daniel P Lenehan Award for Media Excellence from the United States Equestrian Foundation. She is a ...more

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