June 5, 2009

The Little House books - Laura Ingalls Wilder

Summer time is a time for re-reading books.  And even though the weather hasn't turned warm yet, the days are getting long and I spent the last week and a half re-reading the Little House books.  While I am not quite as much of a fan of them as my sister is (I don't know if anyone could beat her - I even made a bonnet for her at one point so that she could pretend to be Laura - and she was 20 years old at the time!), I do enjoy revisiting the series every couple of years.

I never did watch the television show, so I can't make any comparisons here.

Some random thoughts that crossed my head this time through...

I wonder what Laura's Pa and Almanzo's father would have thought of each other?  I bet that Almanzo's father would have thought Pa to be a drifter; lazy and uncommitted.  While Pa would have thought that Almanzo's father was stodgy and boring and unadventurous.

How much bad luck can one family have?  Little House in the Big Woods wasn't bad; but then in Little House on the Prairie, they are just getting settled when they are kicked off their land; On the Banks of Plum Creek is one disaster after another; By the Shores of Silver Lake starts out with the family needing to start over again on top of the family being ill; and in The Long Winter the family almost starves to death.  Little Town on the Prairie and These Happy Golden Years are a bit more positive, but then Laura and Almanzo's married life starts out with a four year run of bad luck in The First Four Years.

I wonder what would have happened, had the Ingalls family decided to stay in Wisconsin and become settled farmers, rather than moving out west?  Would they have become prosperous land-owners sooner than they did?

Why are the books so appealing, despite all of this bad luck?  I think that it is the love and the bond of family that shines through all of the stories, through good times and bad.

Anyways, just a few random thoughts as I go into the weekend.  I have no idea what book I am going to pick up next.  I had started the latest Anne Michaels book before diving into the Little House series - I may finish that, or I may pick something else up.


Darlene Koop said...

I absolutely love the Little House Books! So down-to-earth and real are the characters and the situations they face.

Cath said...

Aw, you're totally right about Almanzo's father versus Pa. I always had the idea that he was the kind of father in the Loretta Lynn song, "we were poor, but we had love/that's the one thing my daddy made sure of." And even as a kid, I always wanted to scream at Pa, "Kids can't EAT adventure!"

I took a class on biography writing in college and found out that LIW's family actually had much more tragedy in it...for instance, they had a brother that died...but she left it out of the books...I guess so that we wouldn't slit our wrists from the depression of reading?

Loved reading your thoughts!