Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Review: The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Synopsis: Dorothy Gale is swept up in a cyclone and lands in the magical world of Oz. Here, she meet witches and munckins, china dolls and scarecrows and has many wonderful and frightening adventures in her quest to return home.

Review: Everyone has seen the Judy Garland version of The Wizard of Oz. I hate it, much to my mother's sorrow. I read an article comparing the original story to the Judy Garland version, citing the strong difference between the original Dorothy (courageous) and Garland's Dorothy (weak). I read Wicked by Gregory Maguire, and it was okay, but I didn't much enjoy that either. The musical, of course, is fabulous, but I think the exquisite music has more to do with that than the story. I've also seen the 1985 movie, Return to Oz and 2013 movie Oz, The Great and Powerful. Return to Oz scared the bejeebus out of me. Oz, The Great and Powerful was good, a bit cheesy and the acting was meh, but I enjoyed the origin story of the two Wicked Witches. I've even seen (and rather enjoyed) the sci-fi miniseries, Tin Man, which was a creative, if someone liberal, imagining of Oz and the story.
All that being said, it occurred to me I have never read the actual original story. So, I dug out my copy and set to reading. It was vastly different from any of my previous encounters. There are small bits and pieces that are similar, namely the characters and some of the lands and the barest thread of story. But none, NONE, of the movies even come close to the original book. The book has more depth and more life and more story than any of the movie. I now consider most of them to be  gross bastardization of the original.
As for the book, I can see why children have loved this story for over 100 years. It's just the sort of story that makes sense to child. I would highly recommend to anyone with a child under 10. I think this is the perfect book to read aloud as a bedtime story.

Bookmarks: 7 0f 10

Awards: None

Date Published: 1900
Date of the Read Copy: 1944
Date Finished: 12-7-2013
Pages: 192

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