Book Review: The Real Wizard of Oz: The Life and Times of L. Frank Baum

The Real Wizard of Oz: The Life and Times of L. Frank Baum
The Real Wizard of Oz: The Life and Times of L. Frank Baum by Rebecca Loncraine

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book was too long-winded for me, and every little thing seemed to be drawn out unnecessarily. Some bits about Baum’s history and his writing career were interesting, but mostly I skimmed a lot of a descriptive passages. There was a lot about the history of the times that had nothing to do with Baum, but I guess it was nice to see the historic events and trends that shaped his world. It just made the book longer though.

I wasn’t particularly impressed with Baum as a person. He seems to have been rather childish and irresponsible, and stressed about money a lot; but all that could be said of almost every author ever.
He wrote a lot pot-boiler novels under various pseudonyms, but always was dragged back to Oz for more novels about Dorothy and her friends.

I didn’t like that the author conjectured and guessed a lot about the origins of Baum’s literary ideas. Some of it was a little far-fetched, but other times it seemed pretty obvious. For instance, I can certainly believe that since Baum lived through a drought out on the Mid-West prairie, then that influenced his writing Dorothy on a grey farm in Kansas. That’s fine.
But some of the other “influences” on Baum’s writing were complete guesswork.

I was mostly bored with this book, but there were a few interesting bits. Then again, biographies usually bore me, so it might just be me. I don’t enjoy biographies that much.

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