Karen Mueller Bryson,
Hey Dorothy, You're
Not in Kansas Anymore

(Booklocker, 2001)

In light of the tragedy which hit the United States this week, I needed something light to get me through the horror which had somehow invaded our safe, secure world -- and I live in Canada! So I turned to this slim volume Tom had sent me to review, one which had me chuckling the first time I looked at the title, and hoped it would be all that I needed. Not that anything could erase these events, but life has to go on for the living, and I was in dire need of a life preserver. Karen Mueller Bryson provided that, with a grace and ease I had not expected.

Hey Dorothy, You're Not in Kansas Anymore is a delightfully hilarious novel of a young woman's attempt at dealing with the tragic loss of her father. Dorothy Gale Robinson, aspiring actress, is the daughter of movie nuts, and her twin brother Jude Garland Robinson is the exact opposite of this warm and wonderful woman: dour, career-minded and extremely anal retentive. He provides the straight man for some wonderful lines, though, so he is very worthwhile having around.

When Dorothy's beloved father is killed in a horrible accident, she must try to find some solid footing for her life again. After all, it isn't everyday one's father is mowed down in "Buckstars" while trying to enjoy a non-fat decaf mocha latte. And I'm certain the driver of the garbage truck really didn't mean to do it -- even though Dorothy insists Buckstars is an evil place.

Returning to a full life after all you have known and loved has been irrevocably changed is a difficult enough process, but if you add in a crackpot mother it can be so much worse! Dorothy's mother decides to sell her house and all her worldly possessions, then disappears to Canada in order to join a new-age cult in Banff. And thus begins a hilarious journey as Dorothy decides to rescue her mother from the clutches of this cult.

Dorothy seeks aid from "cult-buster" Mervyn O'Roy, who looks like Mickey Rooney (as does the psychiatrist her mother has talked her into seeing). And she ends up including her new boyfriend Lahrs on the journey, which enables the pair to learn much about one another. Dorothy has some problems in this area; after all, how can one compete with the supermodel who was Lahrs' last love?

Hijinx abounds in this tongue-in-cheek look at life. You can almost see the movie which could come of this -- it would definitely have Woody Allen or Peter Sellers in on the ground floor! A wonderful comedy -- just what the doctor ordered. The trio endure mishaps and much more in Canada, but eventually love blossoms for all involved, and Dorothy is able to return home with Lahrs comfortable in the choices her mother has made.

Karen, a master's student in creative writing at Warnborough University in London, England, is a produced and award-winning playwright. No surprise, her favorite movie is The Wizard of Oz. If you need a little laughter in your life, give this novel a try, it may just what you need.

[ by Naomi de Bruyn ]
Rambles: 22 September 2001

Buy it from Amazon.com.