Friday, July 07, 2006

These Happy Golden Years

Laura Ingalls Wilder
Memoir, Children's

This book has a particularly apt name. While it starts with Laura going off to teach school twelve miles away from home in the wintertime, and she has to lodge with a miserable household, she gains some measure of success, and gets a ride home every weekend with Almanzo Wilder. As spring comes and her term ends, she finds all manner of new delights at home, and gets to help with Almanzo's horses.

One gets the feeling that Laura was very happy during this time of her life, and only cut the length of the book down in fears of being repetetive. She describes the simple pleasures of home in glowing terms, and it is sad that at least one Amazon reviewer found her happy family improbable. Even the perils of Dakota life seem less pressing than before - while there are blizzards and tornados where people are killed, tragedy seems to pass the Ingalls by, and they are able to send Mary to college and start adding rooms to their house, even adding an organ. (For some reason, I always remember this as a piano. Maybe it's because the concept of a frontier family purchasing a pipe organ - used - just seems strange.)

This volume ends with Laura's marriage, and the reader gets a sense that the little girl from the Big Woods has finally grown up.


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