October 07, 2011

These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder

I think this might be my favorite book of the Little House on the Prairie series. For those of you that haven't read the series, it is author Laura Ingalls Wilder's telling of her childhood and growing up as a pioneer. With her Ma, Pa, and sisters they travel and live from the big woods of Wisconsin, to Indian Territory, on to Minnesota, and then finally settle in the west in the town of DeSmet. They have many hardships, but ultimately pull together as a family and enjoy life.

This book starts with Laura having just gotten her teaching certificate and teaching her first term of school. The people she stays with are miserable and at some points Laura fears for her safety, however, she finds relaxation in her weekends with the handsome Almanzo Wilder comes to get her to take her back to her family over the weekend. Each week she looks forward to his arrival despite not being sure how she feels about him. When that school term ends she looks forward to being back with her family and to her surprise, finds that she still enjoys going riding with Almanzo and they grow closer. She teaches two more full terms of school and all the while wonders where her relationship with Almanzo is headed. She loves his horses, but she must ask herself if she loves him as well.

I always call the people in these books characters as they seem to be somewhat embellished. Noone can be that perfect and cheerful all the time. Laura does describe her family well and even her sisters get a larger part in this book and more description. Of course Almanzo also takes center stage as he starts courting her and while not much is said, I always enjoy reading about their relationship. There probably could have been more description about their relationship as we never see the transition of Laura enjoying being with him to actually loving him, but I suppose its always fun to picture the back story in your head.

Wilder does a great job of providing expansive descriptions of pioneer life yet still making the book easy for children to read. It would have been nice to make this book longer, as there were a lot of events fit into the pages that could have been marvelous with expansion, however, the book was still greatly interesting. She especially explained the intricacies of women's dress in this book and I could only read with part horror and gladness that its not required to have petticoats, corsets, and other constricting clothing anymore. I do often wonder how a bikini would have been met in those times (well I know but I'd still like to see the reaction).

While this book marks the end of Laura's childhood I do enjoy reading about her as an adult. The book is wonderful and softly romantic and I feel that it appeals more to the adult side of readers than kids, but still remains appropriate for any age. Its such a wonderful series that everyone should have the chance to read.

These Happy Golden Years
Copyright 1943
289 pages

No comments:

Post a Comment