The author of The Perfect Horse returns with a novel inspired by the historical meeting between Judy Garland and Maud Gage Baum—the wife of L. Frank Baum, author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz—on the set of the beloved 1939 musical film. In Letts's imagination, Maud becomes a mentor to the teenaged Garland, protecting her from abuse by her mother and Hollywood studio executives.
In some ways reminiscent of Jerry Stahl’s excellent I, Fatty, Letts’ Finding Dorothy combines exhaustive research with expansive imagination, blending history and speculation into a seamless tapestry ... It’s a testament to Letts’ skill that she can capture on the page, without benefit of audio, that same emotion we have all felt sometime over the last 80 years while listening to 'Over the Rainbow'[.]
Letts...once again crafts a tale of fortitude and triumph over adversity. Some may find it leans toward sentimentality, but readers looking for an inspiring true story will be delighted ... Fans of the Oz novels or film will be enchanted. This is a great fit for readers of Christine Baker Kline and Lisa Wingate, and will surely be a popular choice for book clubs.
While some scenes involving Maud and Judy feel implausible, Maud is a fascinating character, and this is a poignant, absorbing tale of the life and love story that led to the creation of a beloved classic.