The Wisdom of Oz by Gita Dorothy Morena–not a classic

The Wisdom of Oz by Gita Dorothy Morena–not a classic

By Molly Fleming

By Molly Fleming

Staff Writer

L. Frank Baum’s famous fantasy tale The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, is known to nearly every American over the age of five as that colorful that taught us “There’s no place like home.”

The American proverb, “Home is where the heart is,” is a re-statement of this well-known theme. The simple message is all too familiar as we recall the ruby heels clicking together and Dorothy’s innocent mantra repeating her patriotic message. The sentiment; (i.e. no matter where your fantasies take you, you’ll find your dreams at home) is truly as American as Auntie Em’s apple pie.

The affection we all have for The Wonderful Wizard of Oz perhaps makes one fairly sensitive to analytical interpretations of the story from anyone other than L. Frank Baum. Before one reads Gita Dorothy Morena’s The Wisdom of Oz, one could presume that the book might bear some merit as it was written by L. Frank Baum’s great granddaughter. But it proved itself to be a disappointment.

The back of the book promises a “unique and personal way to explore America’s quintessential Fairy Tale.” If by “unique” and “personal,” one means trite and self- absorbed, then yes, this book is all that, and more. Instead of learning how to “stimulate, provoke and enrich” your life, you learn how Morena feels about herself.

She describes what the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion and the Scarecrow meant to her. More often than not, tales of childhood grievances supplement for actual enlightening content. The word “me” is used more than any other pronoun in The Wisdom of Oz. As the subtitle promises the reader a clearer understanding of self, one can suppose Morena’s self is as good as one’s own.

Selling herself as L. Frank Baum’s great granddaughter, a psychotherapist and meditation leader, Morena’s book verges on hokey spiritualism that idolizes a relative whom she has never met. Her words make her seem as if she is trying to convince the reader that she really knew what Baum meant by “there’s no place like home” more than he did.

Unfortunately, as much of a fountain of wisdom and truth that The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is, Morena’s book teaches us nothing new about our beloved fairy tale. One can however, learn quite a bit about Baum’s actual life which is not commonly known. Baum’s biography filled in a gap where more pop-psychiatric guidance could have been dribbled . For this reason, does The Wisdom of Oz hold any merit? The concept of Morena’s book is a good one with bright intentions, but the execution falls a little flat and rises a little pretentiously.

Recently, a revival of the movie and book have hit Rockford with a theater rendition, Oz-themed specials at downtown restaurants, and an activity series entitled “Dorothy’s Way: A Personal Journey,” Carried on at Studio 4 Art, Health and Wellness, LLC, these meetings use Morena’s book as guidance for discussion and activities. Art Therapist and licensed counselor, Lisa Kay guided these group sessions and has collaborated with Morena in the past. The series ran until Dec. 15.

Although Morena seems to be attempting to create a classic book with new ideas about self-perspective on par with the works of Gore Vidal or Ayn Rand (books that are not so much read as frequently bought for ostentatious shelf display), The Wisdom of Oz is not even up to muster. Not quite interesting enough to be novel, this book is still too obvious to be a classic.

Unfortunately, Morena can almost ruin one’s traditional connotations behind “there’s no place like home,” disassociating the sentiment from the truly American proverb “Home is where the heart is.” She takes away all wholesome and simple connotations and analyzes it into the ground.

One can purchase a paperback copy of The Wisdom of Oz for $15.95 from Inner Connections Press, P.O. Box 84206-1, San Diego, Calif.

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