Lions, tigers and Bears, oh my! Just kidding. Given the name of the book, I couldn’t resist. There isn’t a Scarecrow, Tin Man or a cowardly lion. There isn’t even a Toto. I suppose you could call the main character a friend of Dorothy. There is however, a wicked witch and her flying monkey, metaphorically speaking of course.
Wamego, Kansas is a quaint little town where everyone not only knows your name but they know your business as well, which could be good in some instances. Frozen in time, this town holds charm and beauty and a little thing called “we take care of our own.” Its home to the Oz Museum and the Oz Winery and a beautiful park to pass the time away.
This is where Lyle meets Roger. Lyle is a loner of his own doing but used to the fast pace of the city of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. When he is asked to do a job in the “middle of nowhere” Kansas, he buckles. At first he didn’t want to take the job because he didn’t want to leave his life. With coaxing from friends, he realizes he doesn’t have a life and decides to make the move. Not knowing that he just might meet his future there. When he arrives in Wamego, he feels like he’s gone to Heaven and it’s only for a year, so he thinks.
Roger is a recovering alcoholic, dealing with the wicked witch and her flying monkey. I mean his ex-wife and her brother. But he’s managed to stay clean for his twelve year old daughter. In order to have her visit him on her breaks from school , he has to stay sober and he feels he has to deny who he is so he doesn’t lose his daughter to the ex.
Lyle helps Roger see the possibilities and helps Roger grow a backbone by giving him support when he needs it. They both learn to trust another person, something neither one did easily. Lyle helps Roger live again and Roger helps Lyle love again.
Don’t let this review and the name fool you though, it has nothing to do with the Wizard of Oz except for maybe the two tourist traps it has. I have to admit though what pulled me to this book was the mention of Oz, I’m a big Wizard of Oz fan and the fact I am a fan of Andrew’s work. What I liked most about it though was the caring people throughout the book. Alcoholism is not an easy thing to deal with, sometimes it really does take a village.It’s a strong subject to tackle and I think Andrew did an awesome job. I was impressed how Andrew decided to have the town rally around Roger instead of against him. Roger had more true friends than he thought at first even if he was gay, they’d accepted him for the way he’s always been. Roger, “owner of the diner in town”. I also liked how two broken souls were made whole with the love from each other. The characters were well written. I knew who I liked and who I didn’t.
I would highly recommend this book. I give it 5 Blue Roses.