The film of The Wizard of Oz, made in 1939 and which starred Judy Garland, was a magical film for me as a kid. I loved the yellow brick road, the songs, the scarecrow and the evil witch. I also enjoyed its (unofficial) 1985 sequel Return to Oz. That film terrified me more so than the first. It had rocks with faces, The Wheelers, Pumpkinhead, and a headless witch. When I read the books I felt the 1985 sequel was a lot more closer to its author L. Frank Baum original stories. As I grew up I became interested in how the movies were made, Judy Garland and her life and in the writer of these magical books.
Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts is a fictional story of a young Maud with her mother Matilda Joselyn Gage, an advocate of women’s rights, who first and foremost wants her daughter to get her diploma before engaging with the playwright actor and creator of Oz L. Frank Baum and the then elderly Maud on the filmset of the film of The Wizard of Oz. Maud meets the actors (normally whilst on a cigarette break) and tries to ensure the film script is in keeping to her late husband’s books, whilst protecting the welfare of a young Judy Garland.
What is as engaging is what happens in the intervening years between these two points. The story is written within the framework of what we know about the life of Maud and Frank, as well as their families.
Finding Dorothy has several different women characters in various circumstances. It demonstrates the hardships during the turn of the century and the growth of industry and land in America in the late 1800s. There is a lot in the book to think about. None more so than the question of rights that women had in the eighteenth century and later on in the nineteenth century. Were women any better off, did they have more autonomy of their choices? Are the societal, the family values and traditions pressures any different? I felt I had fallen right into a story of another time and era that had me enthralled and emotionally invested in its characters. I whizzed through this book.
I don’t have as many young adults, or books from my childhood, as I did have, but my Harry Potter books have been with me everywhere. The spines are falling off, they are that well read. I remember being up and out of the door before the supermarket had even been opened to get my book every time a new one came out. I know it doesn’t seem a favourite among Potter readers, but my favourite book is The Order of the Phoenix.
Meg Rosoff How I live Now was a book I didn’t really understand when I was younger, and haven’t read it since, so I really should, shouldn’t I?
The Wind in the Willows is, obviously, a classic, but I do prefer the film Terry Jones made in the 90s with Steve Coogan and Eric Idle, probably because my memories are a lot stronger of the film than the book. I think once you have seen a film adaptation you can never un-see it. So you really have to be careful which ones you watch! I was so disappointed by the Harry Potter films.
The Outsiders is a book I previously didn’t like, but the book only cost me 35p in a charity shop and it was in awesome condition and it looked so good I had to have it. I read it, and I enjoyed the book a lot more on that occasion.
Cheesus was Here by J.C. Davis is a gorgeous hardback the publisher kindly sent me to review. While the whole idea of the book was great, plenty of comedy, grief and religion are the two key themes in this young adult book and they were written sensitively. It really reminded me of Hope was here by Joan Bauer.
Akea the Power of Destiny by Elizabeth Jade is a new children’s story of family and friendship. It’s a short read, but very good at packing in a lot of action and adventure.
This challenge is courtesy of Cathy at 746 Books The 20 Books of Summer is a reading challenge from the first of June to the third of September. It is encouraging us to make a start on those books on our towering TBR piles. Whether that be ten, fifteen, or twenty books.
I’m late to this (usual thing) but I want to try reading some books that aren’t poetry this summer, so I’m jumping aboard. Here are my twenty books.
The Unexpected joy of being Sober Catherine Gray
The Little Book of Feminist Saints Julia Pierpont
The Cruel Prince Holly Black
A Restricted View from under the Hedge
Furiously Happy Jenny Lawson
The Waves Virgina Woolf
Reasons to Stay Alive Matt Haig
The Collected Short Stories Jean Rhys
Shockaholic Carrie Fisher
Things a Bright Girl can do Sally Nicholls
Dandy Gilver & A Spot of Toil & Trouble Catriona McPherson
The Whole a Novel John Reed
I Swear to tell the Tooth Carroll James
Tikopia Rachel Wright
Understanding the Alacran Jonathan LaPoma
Redeemable A memoir of Darkness and Hope Erwin James
Rabbit Patricia Williams
Mad Diet Suzanne Lockhart
A Normal Family Everyday adventures with our Autistic Son Henry Normal with Angela Pell