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Munchkin Diary, My Personal Yellow Brick Road, The

Bruno, Betty Ann
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Craig Scheiner

It’s true. Betty Ann Bruno is one of the last living Munchkins. She is one of the few who has had an inside look at the legendary Land of Oz, met Dorothy and the Wizard, and has traveled her own Yellow Brick Road, over the rainbow, and well beyond. As a Hawaiian child in Hollywood she was in several movies about the South Seas. When she was five John Ford directed her one and only nude scene in Hurricane. At 12, she was the full-time organist in a Catholic church, where she was mentored by a ex-seminarian who tried repeatedly to molest her. She grew up a brown-skinned girl in America’s great white melting pot, whose mother withheld her true racial and cultural heritage. After graduating from Stanford University with a major in Political Science she went to Washington D.C. with a job for the CIA. She was the first multiracial woman to challenge Oakland’s Old Boy political machine with a run for office. She became Oakland’s first female, Asian-American television reporter, where she talked a notorious drug dealer into letting her film inside his drug organization before he later threatened to kill her. She survived the 1991 Oakland Hills Firestorm that burned 3,000 homes (including hers), and described the scene live on national TV after barely escaping with her life. There’s a lot more, including her exploration of the afterlife and reincarnation she calls “life after life.” Through it all is her struggle with her ethnicity, race relations, sexism, and her ultimate acceptance of herself in her mid 70s by founding Hula Mai, her Hawaiian performing arts troupe. And then, at almost 90, she became a publisher with this book. It’s a wise and honest account of the very eventful life’s journey of an amazing woman. It’s a riveting read.

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