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10 Works 2,590 Membros 212 Reviews 1 Favorited

About the Author

Image credit: Mothering

Obras de Elizabeth Letts


Conhecimento Comum

Outros nomes
Alalou, Elizabeth
Data de nascimento
Local de nascimento
Houston, Texas, USA
Locais de residência
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Alalou, Ali (husband)
Peace Corps



I didn’t love this book. In fact, I barely liked it. I had trouble with the clunky and trite writing, the huge segments of parroted researched facts of US history inserted within the narrative, and the naivete of Annie Wilkins, the 63-year-old woman who decides to travel from Maine to California in 1954-56. It’s a unique road trip, as Annie travels on horseback, all of her possessions tied to her newly purchased horse, and with only her little dog for company.

Inserting US history into Annie’s story was intended to give perspective to the period, the culture and attitudes of the time. But it took me out of the story, slowed down any dramatic issues, and these segments were often overly wordy and dry. While some of the facts were interesting, they sometimes rambled and were not always necessary. For instance, I had trouble being patient while reading about the invention of Lincoln logs. (Did this really belong in Annie’s story?). And if you’re going to go to all the trouble to research and describe the toy that was a 1950s children’s favorite, at least give credit to the inventor by mentioning his name, instead of only referring to him as “Frank Lloyd Wright’s son.” His name - John Lloyd Wright - is in Wikipedia, for Pete’s sake! (There you go, John).

The maps printed in the book for the reader would have been more useful if they were at the beginning of each segment and showed Annie’s path from the start of that area along to the next, instead of ending her path when the chapter is just beginning to tell where she’s going.

And speaking of maps – who goes on a cross-country trip, on a horse – without a plan, without a real map (from beginning to end of trip), without geographical knowledge of each area i.e. mountains, weather, rivers (snow, floods, heat), and with barely any cash? Well, this is a true story, so we know Annie did this, and survived on the kindness of strangers. Good for her. And one point the author is making is that in the mid-1950s people treated “saddle tramps” more generously than they would today.

Another of the author’s messages was that Annie “had the courage to take her destiny into her own hands.” I felt that she was extremely lucky, as so many times she (or her horses/dog) barely escaped tragic consequences due to her carelessness, ignorance, or stubbornness. Now I’m not rating the book based on the actual behavior of Annie. My annoyance with her grew as I read about her adventures and her decisions along the route.

Nonetheless, this could have been a much better book. Editing the trite writing, focusing on Annie and reducing the US history information, organizing the information including regular maps showing Annie’s routes. And with all that research there must have been photos available, as the author mentions how many newspapers and magazines covered Annie’s travels. And there are plenty of internet resources.

One thing I can praise the book for is the index. Yay! If you want to go back and look up Lincoln logs (for instance), the Rose Parade, the various states she rode through and many of the people Annie met on her trek, or even all the times her dog Depeche Toi is mentioned, it’s quite the resource.
… (mais)
PhyllisReads | outras 27 resenhas | Jul 16, 2024 |
What a pleasant listen!! I grew up on The Wizard of Oz. My brother LOVED it and the sub plans for any music teacher being out was to watch it, so the movie is like putting on a ratty old beloved hoodie in terms of comfort level!

This book was based off a lot of historical evidence but also had the magic of a storyteller and of Hollywood mixed in to make it gleam! Maud Gage Balm was an amazing woman who lived to be 91 years old. She married a man that believed in magic and brought joy to all. She got to meet Dorothy (Judy Garland) and see her late husband’s story brought to technicolor. What a ride, with so many ups and downs in the middle!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I had picked it up in hard copy a few months back but that wasn’t meant to be. The reader brought Maud to life and I am glad I listened to it instead.

For the lovers of OZ out there, this one’s for you!!!
… (mais)
snewell2 | outras 54 resenhas | Jun 24, 2024 |
This is a well researched historical fiction novel that deserves more attention. The book is for anyone who loved The Wizard of Oz movie or is interested in learning more about Maud Baum, wife of L. Frank Baum and daughter of suffragist Matilda Joslyn Gage. I absolutely loved this book and didn't want to put it down.
Ann_R | outras 54 resenhas | May 16, 2024 |
This is one of those amazing true stories that brought tears to my eyes. There are many books about this horse. This is a recent one and quite engaging although I confess I skimmed over many of the descriptions of the competition environment. I was interested in this horse.

Harry de Leyer had a rapport with this horse. He had complete integrity with this horse after the horse demonstrated that it really wanted to be on his farm and not anywhere else.

Other horses are mentioned as being in competitions, but the book was about this one. It was a very unlikely champion.

This horse is even on Find-a-Grave!
I thought Find-a-Grave just listed graves of humans.

… (mais)
bread2u | outras 85 resenhas | May 15, 2024 |



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