The Fairytale Life of Dorothy Gale

Berkley. Dec. 2023. 384p. ISBN 9780593547717. pap. $17. F
Kantra branches out from her reimaginings of Little Women (Meg and Jo; Beth and Amy) with this modernization of The Wizard of Oz. Orphan Dorothy “Dee” Gale, who grew up with her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry in Kansas, is now in a graduate writing program. When her boyfriend, a faculty member, publishes a best-selling novel with Dee thinly disguised as the heroine, she finds herself in a whirlwind of gossip and makes her escape to the Emerald Isle at Trinity College Dublin. There she makes new friends: Reeti, who is struggling to tell her traditional parents that she wants to be a teacher, not just a wife; Tim, their neighbor who had a bad breakup, causing him to retreat into himself and lock out the world; and Sam, a college dropout working in his family’s bodega, unable to commit to anyone or anything. Despite being intimidated by her grad school adviser, Dee grows as a writer and, in the process, realizes that she held the power to change all along.
VERDICT This charming update of a classic should appeal to readers who enjoyed Curtis Sittenfeld’s Eligible or Cathleen Schine’s The Three Weissmanns of Westport.
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