So my first book of 2018 was a kids book, and I didn’t even read it to one of my kids! My oldest read it on her own and I decided to give it a quick read last night for myself. I’ve been a big fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books ever since I read them in second grade. I still remember my second-grade teacher taking me to the bookcase in the school library and suggesting I read the series. (I also continue to be irked that she did not recommend them to me in chronological order but rather had me start with Little House on the Prairie.)
So, I went my entire childhood and most of my adult life thus far believing the Little House books were nonfiction. And then. I found them for my daughter in the “JFIC” section of the library. MY WORLD WAS UPENDED. Ok, not really, but I was disappointed. I felt like I had been lied to, which is kind of ridiculous, but I felt unsettled knowing the books were partly/mostly true but not knowing which parts! This was obviously not a pressing priority in my life, but I did kind of have in the back of my mind the desire to read more about Laura’s actual life and about the writing of the books. I happened upon Prairie Girl in the library one day, and so I checked it out — more for me than for my daughter, though she did read it first 🙂
On its own, the book isn’t amazing, but I did enjoy it. It’s nowhere near as engaging as Laura Ingalls Wilder’s own writing, but it is a very simple and approachable biography for a child and a great introduction to her biography for an adult. It very straightforwardly addresses tragic events (like the deaths of Laura’s infant brother and later her infant son), which seemed to go over well for my daughter. It helped put the fiction books into context for me and understand how Laura herself could say the “stories” were “true” without being works of nonfiction, and I learned a lot about her adult life. It seems strange, in a way, to think of adult Laura owing a car — in my mind she’s always the little girl in the covered wagon or the teen in a buggy with Almanzo, her suitor.
In any case, this is a lot of rambling today but I wanted to share my first book of the year! I got an overall positive feeling from the book and now I’m interested in reading a biography of hers written for adults rather than children.