Friday, November 11, 2011

Book Review - L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Published by: Everyman's Library
Publication Date: 1900
Format: Hardcover, 240 Pages
Challenge: Victorian Literature 2011
Rating: ★★
To Buy

Everyone knows The Wizard of Oz. Or at least everyone thinks they do. Let me disabuse you of a few notions. There are no ruby slippers. The flying monkeys aren't the creatures of the Wicked Witch, they only answer to her because of a golden cap. The Tin Man cut off his own  limps because of an enchanted ax and has a bit of a problem with wanting to chop off other creatures heads French Revolution style. The Emerald City is only Emerald colored because of a nice little trick with colored glass. Likewise, the Wicked With isn't mentioned as being green, only having the deformity of a single eye. Glinda the good witch doesn't meet Dorthy at the start of the Yellow Brick road, but only till the Wizard is gone and Dorothy journeys to the land of the Quadlings. There are no lions and tigers and bears oh my, or manic singing. There aren't a lot of things that where changed to make cinema magic. And finally, it wasn't all just a dream.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was written in an attempt to create a new class of Fairy Tales distinctly American. I can think of no other literary character so closely connected to America, except perhaps Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. Dorothy is an icon in literature, which is why it's frustrating that not more people have read the book and rely on the film to know about Oz. The story is a cute little voyage of discovery where Dorothy lands in a magical utopia that is very primary color based (all the countries really LOVE their color) and meets a few friends and gives them a better life and then gets her wish to go home. Because, while a fairyland is well and good, the movie did get it right that "there's no place like home." Or at least, not until the depression comes and your whole family moves to Oz to be treated as royalty...


Newer Post Older Post Home