Finding Oz

Fri Aug 7 2009

As with most books I never finish, this one started with a promising review. I can’t find the review now, so I can’t tell what it was that drew me to Finding Oz: How L. Frank Baum Discovered the Great American Story.

I was never that big a fan of The Wizard of Oz. I liked the movie well enough, and, because it’s out of copyright, it was one of the first books I downloaded and read on my old Palm. I read it to the boy when he was in first grade, though I’d be surprised if he remembers much of it. I don’t.

Finding Oz begins with the story of L. Frank Baum. He worried that his first name, Lyman, made him sound untrustworthy and chose instead to use his “more honest sounding” middle name. The book mentions that a plank road ran in front of the Baum house, foreshadowing, perhaps, the Yellow Brick Road. I don’t know. I never got that far.

Ultimately what dissuaded me from finishing the book were three things:

  • Baum framed the pencil with which he “wrote The Emerald City”
  • He was a sickly child with dreams of greatness
  • I just didn’t care that much about The Wizard of Oz