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Pioneer Girl is her own work, not co-written by mother and daughter to be for children but more like what the Ingallses' real lives were like, much harsher.  I'm so excited for this.

I've been thinking lately about the family that boarded Laura during her first teaching job, the truly grim one that ate potatoes in gravy three meals a day (Laura swore up and down to Ma that the food there was very good).  Remember the story of the night Laura woke up to find the wife standing over the husband with a knife, complaining about how hard it was to wait on a hoity-toity schoolteacher?  Surely the wife, in her unhappy aggression, intended Laura to hear those words and feel terrorized.  It seems horribly plausible to me that this argument could have concluded with exhibitionistically audible make-up sex.  X-P  What a nightmare.  She was so young and if they had attacked her, nobody would have been around to help.

I wonder if the Director will be interested in the Little House series.  I tried and failed to get Geeklet to read them.  She deemed them "boring."  She also looks faintly repulsed whenever she takes a peek into the Anne of Green Gables series.  Ah well.  The Director is girlier, but she might spurn these, too. 


( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 18th, 2014 11:32 pm (UTC)
I too am excited by this publication! A friend in WI has already promised it to me as my Christmas prezzie!

As you know I used the LIW books in one of my teaching projects as a student.
Aug. 18th, 2014 11:36 pm (UTC)
Yeah, there was such a wide range of families...and probably all of them felt totally normal to the people in them.
Aug. 18th, 2014 11:37 pm (UTC)
I have "On the Banks of Plum Creek" to thank for my lifetime horror of leeches and "Little House in the Big Woods" to thank for knowing what cracklings and head cheese are. I adored the Little House books- perhaps it's because I lived in the big woods that they sucked me in. Knowing that they're stories from someone's life made it that much more immediate for me than simply a piece of historical fiction (though of course, I know the books were ruthlessly edited and characters combined and stories simplified). I also remember being confused by the birth scene, because every birth you see on TV, the mother is suffering through the birth, but in the book, Laura was drugged senseless and voila! Here's Ma presenting Laura with her baby girl!

Very curious about the autobiography- that'll be a fun informative read!

Edited at 2014-08-18 11:37 pm (UTC)
Aug. 19th, 2014 12:34 am (UTC)
Oh God that scene still is really stark, to me - and now I think about it and see an overworked, exhausted, probably depressed woman who was probably at the end of her rope, living out there on the prairie with only her husband and little children for help. She might have had some serious depression issues, or worse.

I read those books so many times the covers started to disintegrate. I should reread them for old times sake, just to see what they read like to adult eyes. But Pioneer Girl is definitely on my list, too.
Aug. 19th, 2014 12:48 am (UTC)
I still have a few of my childhood ones and the pages have flaked off in parts. Some of the writing is gorgeous.

Yes, now that I think of that woman, ugh -- nobody else for miles and miles around. Nobody. The year after the Long Winter. Now I'm recollecting that she wanted to go back east -- I can see how that would drive someone to threaten the dominant spouse with a knife.
Aug. 19th, 2014 12:35 am (UTC)
Thanks for the LIW link. I know the books have various racial and political problems, but. . .I totally adored them as a kid and have reread them many times as an adult. I was shocked when I read an actual biography of Laura and found out how much more difficult their lives were than we see in the books (though that teaching scene was pretty horrific, that's true). As a kid, I just accepted them as 100% true history. I'll look forward to Pioneer Girl.
Aug. 19th, 2014 01:35 am (UTC)
I absolutely adored the Little House books and I wish yourkids did too lol. I am so excited about this! I must preorder it. Eeeeee!
Aug. 19th, 2014 02:07 am (UTC)
Oh, this IS exciting news! I love that series -- I still go back and re-read it occasionally. I read it first as a child in the Midwest so I knew all about the endless prairies :) And when they talked about "back East" and Almanzo being from "York State" I still remember feeling, like Laura, that they were somehow Mysterious and Better Places. Now I live there and it's not mysterious or better at all. And I miss my prairies :/

It's funny that Geeklet thought them "girly" when it always seemed to me that there's so much hard work in them! Maybe skip the first one and start her with the one where they meet the Indians and hear the panther screaming in the night, that always creeped me out :)
Aug. 19th, 2014 02:34 am (UTC)
The thing that shocked me as an adult when I reread them, is the scene in "these happy golden years" where her father participates in a minstrel show-- blackface and all, and it's presented as innocent good fun.
Aug. 19th, 2014 03:05 am (UTC)
There are a lot of elements that jump out at me now as I read the books aloud to my son, but they are great start off discussion points, eg the interactions with the Native Americans in Little House on the Prairie.
Aug. 19th, 2014 03:02 am (UTC)
Oh that's very exciting! I'm currently reading the series to my mister 5 - we've read Big Woods, Prairie, Plum Creek and are now on Farmer Boy. I think we'll stop there, as Plum Creek was getting a bit beyond his interest level - he enjoys the building of things and olden days details but the relationships not so much, and as Laura gets older her interests stretch out of the realm of interest for a 5 yr old boy too. He did dress as Pa for the school Book Week free dress day (and got teased about his beard, sigh, he couldn't understand as no one thought Pa was funny for having a beard). Hopefully we'll be able to visit the rest of the stories in the future. Miss 3 isn't too interested at the moment but she's happy to go off to sleep against me while I read them to Mr 5. I may have used a Little House in the Big Woods quote on my latest fic ;)

Oh and now I am far more sympathetic to Ma (omg, those times she exclaimed 'Charles!' when she probably was biting back far more, and let him drag them around the country with 3 or more small children without even asking her opinion), and I can see why Laura, when making her wedding vows refused to add 'obey' ;)

Edited at 2014-08-19 03:09 am (UTC)
Aug. 19th, 2014 09:22 am (UTC)
For some weird reason, I'm in the same camp as the Geeklet. I never picked up the Little House series, and I still don't want to.

I don't know why, but something about them also strikes me as 'boring', and it has nothing to do with girliness. Maybe it was the covers. Maybe it was the tv show. So strange because I adored Anne of Green Gables, but that had more to do with the fact that I loved Anne's imagination and never perceived of the books as being about life in a remote place/the hardship and adventure of being a pioneer.
Aug. 19th, 2014 09:31 am (UTC)
I'd no idea about this! As someone who grew up reading the Little House books, I'd like to check this autobio out, too, to compare the real thing to the semi-fictionalised series. I'm especially curious about her courtship with Almanzo, since even now I find it "odd" for her to have gain his attention. XD;
Aug. 19th, 2014 10:02 am (UTC)
Don't forget to post when it's out! This sounds like an ideal Christmas present for my mother.
Aug. 19th, 2014 01:17 pm (UTC)
It's scheduled for Sept 1 in the U.S., so soon! \o/
Aug. 19th, 2014 02:05 pm (UTC)
Oh my goodness! I had no idea this was even a thing. I loved the Little House books when I was young. My mother made me a pioneer costume for Halloween once I loved it so much. It even had a bonnet! Anyway, thanks for the heads-up about Pioneer Girl. Much appreciated.
Aug. 19th, 2014 02:24 pm (UTC)
well well. I look forward to reading this. I too read them as a child. (around the same time I was into black beauty) I know there is a whole group of native americans out there who disparage Laura and her books. I feel that while the books were sanitized for a larger audience, they gave a feeling about the history that needed to be put down on paper.

I didn't read the Anne of Green gable series until I met Sue. I never had any interest. Who knows if your kids might swing back around and read them as adults.
Aug. 19th, 2014 02:42 pm (UTC)
OH HEY.. So I went to the Free Library website and found this: http://know.freelibrary.org/vufind/Record/1927590 which is an interesting story about LIW and is almost the same title.... Hmmmm. Now I want to read this too.

Edited at 2014-08-19 03:00 pm (UTC)
Aug. 21st, 2014 03:05 pm (UTC)
REALLY looking forward to this. I loved the books as a child and did a research project in college on Rose Wilder and LIW. (The number of NF books I own on these two is a bit shameful.)

Like a lot of the commenters, my impressions have changed over the years, particularly once I had children of my own. Despite Laura's own willfulness (i.e. feminism), she straddles a line in her writing on idealizing the Angel in the House and pushing back against the expectations. I have a lot more sympathy for Mrs. Brewster as an adult than I did as a child. The isolation, hardship and sheer loneliness of prairie life had a severe impact on women who were expected to bring "civilization" to an unforgiving terrain. And Ma! Patience of a freakin' saint. I'm not so much a fan of Charles Ingalls these days. He comes off as much more a selfish, feckless dreamer than a romantic, dashing hero.

Well, apparently I still have Little House feels. ;-)
Aug. 24th, 2014 06:53 am (UTC)
I'm authentically curious, myself. I read the Little House books in first and second grade, and they were amongst my favorite books for a large part of my early childhood. I'd like to see what this new book contains.
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )


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