Book Review: Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography

Book Review: Pioneer Girl: The Annotated AutobiographyPioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Pamela Smith Hill
Pages: 400
Goodreads
four-stars
Reading Challenges: #LittleHouseRAL

Pioneer Girl follows the Ingalls family's journey through Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, back to Minnesota, and on to Dakota Territory sixteen years of travels, unforgettable experiences, and the everyday people who became immortal through Wilder's fiction. Using additional manuscripts, letters, photographs, newspapers, and other sources, award-winning Wilder biographer Pamela Smith Hill adds valuable context and leads readers through Wilder's growth as a writer. Do you think you know Laura? Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography will re-introduce you to the woman who defined the pioneer experience for millions.

When Laura Ingalls Wilder was in her sixties it is suspected that some event (one of her sister’s death, if I remember correctly) triggered her to want to write her life story for her daughter Rose, most likely. After completing this task (via multiple writing tablets) she handed it over to Rose to type up for her. After completing the first couple of pages, Rose thought it was an interesting story and passed it along to her writing agent and a publisher. She continued typing up the pages while waiting to hear back from her agent. Eventually she heard back and they pretty much passed on it. Eventually Rose was able to get someone interested in her mother’s life story and was willing to publish it…under one condition…that it become a children’s story. Thus, the Little House series was created.

OK, so that’s a little simpler than it actually was, but that was close enough.

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Book Review: A Wilder Rose

Book Review: A Wilder RoseA Wilder Rose by Susan Wittig Albert
Goodreads
four-stars
Reading Challenges: #LittleHouseRAL

In 1928, Rose Wilder Lane—world traveler, journalist, much-published magazine writer—returned from an Albanian sojourn to her parents’ Ozark farm. Almanzo Wilder was 71, Laura 61, and Rose felt obligated to stay and help. To make life easier, she built them a new home, while she and Helen Boylston transformed the farmhouse into a rural writing retreat and filled it with visiting New Yorkers. Rose sold magazine stories to pay the bills for both households, and despite the subterranean tension between mother and daughter, life seemed good.
Then came the Crash. Rose’s money vanished, the magazine market dried up, and the Depression darkened the nation. That’s when Laura wrote her autobiography, “Pioneer Girl,” the story of growing up in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, on the Kansas prairie, and by the shores of Silver Lake. The rest—the eight remarkable books that followed—is literary history.
But it isn’t the history we thought we knew. For the surprising truth is that Laura’s stories were publishable only with Rose’s expert rewriting. Based on Rose’s unpublished diaries and Laura’s letters, A Wilder Rose tells the true story of the decade-long, intensive, and often troubled collaboration that produced the Little House books—the collaboration that Rose and Laura deliberately hid from their agent, editors, reviewers, and readers.
Why did the two women conceal their writing partnership? What made them commit what amounts to one of the longest-running deceptions in American literature? And what happened in those years to change Rose from a left-leaning liberal to a passionate Libertarian?
In this impeccably researched novel and with a deep insight into the book-writing business gained from her own experience as an author and coauthor, Susan Wittig Albert follows the clues that take us straight to the heart of this fascinating literary mystery.

When I first added this book to the books I wanted to read for the #LittleHouseRAL I was unsure what it was about. At first I was under the impression that it was the biography of both the Wilder women (Laura Ingalls Wilder and her daughter Rose Wilder Lane), however I soon realized I was wrong. It is in fact a fictionalized portrayal of them. The author, Susan Wittig Albert, took real events from both women, combined them together and added what she saw happening or felt things happened or might have actually happened.

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Book Review: West From Home: Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder, San Francisco, 1915

Book Review: West From Home: Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder, San Francisco, 1915West from Home: Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder, San Francisco, 1915 by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Goodreads
four-stars
Reading Challenges: #LittleHouseRAL

In 1915, Laura Ingalls Wilder traveled by train from her home in Missouri to San Francisco. Laura's westward journey to visit her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, coincided with a spectacular event taking place in that city - the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. It was a great world's fair celebrating the completion of the Panama Canal, and Laura was amazed by the attractions that had been gathered there from all over the world. Her husband, Almanzo, was unable to leave their farm, and it was Laura's daily letters that gave him the chance to see what she saw on her magnificent visit to California. These letters allow the reader to experience Laura's adventures and her intimate thoughts as she shared with her husband the events of her exciting sojourn. It's a fascinating insight into the heart and mind of the author who would later go on to write the classic Little House books.

In this book, Laura and Almanzo are asked to visit Rose, her daughter, in San Francisco. To keep the farm running and taken care of, and due to his declining health, Almanzo stays behind as Laura finally agrees to the visit. The
letters and the trip across country begins August 21, 1915 and continues through her two-month visit in San Francisco with Rose and Gillette (Rose’s husband). The entries end October 22, 1915 and soon after Laura returns home to Missouri with Manly.

I enjoyed reading this. It was interesting to see San Francisco not only through Laura’s eyes but also through the eyes of someone living in 1915 especially since I’ve been there before. It may have been over ten years ago, I still remember a handful of things so it was interesting and it was reminiscence just in a different way, if that made any sense at all. The pictures included in the book were also really interesting to view.

I would recommend this book to most people.

 

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Book Review: On The Way Home: The Diary of a Trip from South Dakota to Mansfield, Missouri, in 1894

Book Review: On The Way Home: The Diary of a Trip from South Dakota to Mansfield, Missouri, in 1894On the Way Home: The Diary of a Trip from South Dakota to Mansfield, Missouri, in 1894 (Little House #10) by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Rose Wilder Lane
Pages: 101
Goodreads
four-stars
Reading Challenges: #LittleHouseRAL

In 1894, Laura Ingalls Wilder, her husband, Almanzo, and their daughter, Rose, packed their belongings into their covered wagon and set out on a journey from De Smet, South Dakota, to Mansfield, Missouri. They heard that the soil there was rich and the crops were bountiful -- it was even called "the Land of the Big Red Apple." With hopes of beginning a new life, the Wilders made their way to the Ozarks of Missouri.
During their journey, Laura kept a detailed diary of events: the cities they passed through, the travelers they encountered on the way, the changing countryside and the trials of an often difficult voyage. Laura's words, preserved in this book, reveal her inner thoughts as she traveled with her family in search of a new home in Mansfield, where Rose would spend her childhood, where Laura would write her Little House books, and where she and Almanzo would remain all the rest of their happy days together.

On the Way Home: The Diary of a Trip from South Dakota to Mansfield, Missouri, in 1894 is the diary of Laura Ingalls Wilder as Almanzo, daughter Rose, Laura and the Cooley family travel in covered wagons from their South Dakota home to Mansfield, Missouri to settle and spend the rest of their life. The traveling take place from July 17 to August 30, 1984 and is documented by sometimes often little snippets of what happened that day. The book first opens with daughter Rose talking her family and what was happening before they left and introduces her mother’s diary. It ends with Rose once again. This time she tells the stories of how to finally settled in Mansfield.

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Book Review: The First Four Years

Book Review: The First Four YearsThe First Four Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Garth Williams
Series: Little House #9
Goodreads
one-star
Reading Challenges: #20BooksOfSummer, #LittleHouseRAL

Laura Ingalls Wilder is beginning life with her new husband, Almanzo, in their own little house. Laura is a young pioneer wife now, and must work hard with Almanzo, farming the land around their home on the South Dakota prairie. Soon their baby daughter, Rose, is born, and the young family must face the hardships and triumphs encountered by so many American pioneers.
And so Laura Ingalls Wilder's adventure as a little pioneer girl ends, and her new life as a pioneer wife and mother begins. The nine Little House books have been cherished by generations of readers as both a unique glimpse into America's frontier past and a heartwarming, unforgettable story.

The final book in the Little House series takes place immediately after These Happy Golden Years. In fact, the story of their wedding is repeated at the beginning of the book as a reference to the title of this book. Laura does not want to be a farmer’s wife. She thinks it is too hard and there is so much work to be done. Almanzo tries to convince her otherwise and it takes some time, but he is able to sway her.

“If you’ll try it for three years and I haven’t made a success in farmer by that time, I’ll quit and do anything you want me to do…”

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Book Review: These Happy Golden Years

Book Review: These Happy Golden YearsThese Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Garth Williams
Series: Little House #8
Goodreads
four-stars
Reading Challenges: #20BooksOfSummer, #LittleHouseRAL

Fifteen-year-old Laura lives apart from her family for the first time, teaching school in a claim shanty twelve miles from home. She is very homesick, but keeps at it so that she can help pay for her sister Mary's tuition at the college for the blind. During school vacations Laura has fun with her singing lessons, going on sleigh rides, and best of all, helping Almanzo Wilder drive his new buggy. Friendship soon turns to love for Laura and Almanzo in the romantic conclusion of this Little House book.

These Happy Golden Years opens with Laura, still 15, on her way to the Brewster settlement to be her eight weeks term of teaching in which she’ll learn $40 total. She wishes to use the money to help fund Mary a trip home for the summer. As he father is driving the sleigh, she is coming to grips with the facts that not only will this be her first time away from home but she will also be teaching for the very first time. Both facts seem to frazzle Laura.

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Book Review: Little Town on the Prairie

Book Review: Little Town on the PrairieLittle Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Garth Williams
Series: Little House #7
Goodreads
five-stars
Reading Challenges: #20BooksOfSummer, #LittleHouseRAL

The long winter is finally over, and with spring comes a new job for Laura, town parties, and more time to spend with Almanzo Wilder. Laura also tries to help Pa and Ma save money for Mary to go to college.

This seventh book in the Little House series takes place the spring after the The Long Winter. Laura is now 15-years-old and not looking forward to the possibility of working, but that is not an option since the family wants to send Mary to a college for the blind. Pa manages to get her a job working with Mr. Clancy, whose mother-in-law makes shirts for the ever expanding towns people. Laura’s job consist of cutting, sewing and placing buttons (on) shirts. She does not like the job because not only is it hard work, but she is sitting in one place for an extended period of time and her body aches. She doesn’t make much after the job is finished, but it’s enough for not only her but Mary to be proud of. However, it may not even be enough to to help.

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Sunday Post #9

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme

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Summer Reading Challenges!!!

So you know how I keep mentioning I don’t make much progress on my reading challenges week after week for the past month or so … And you know how I said I was thinking about NOT doing reading challenges next year… Well it appears I’m doing an additional TWO this summer. Yeah! I know! LOL

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