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The First Four Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder

>> Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The First Four Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The First Four Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Series: #9 in the Little House series
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: 1971
Pages: 135
Source: library

The Short Version:
Laura and Almanzo Wilder’s first four years of marriage are filled with plenty of tragedy and a bit of joy

Why I Read It:
I started my re-read of this series due to a Read-along but I’m finishing it up on my own because I can’t leave my re-read unfinished.

The Book:
From the publisher:

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.

My Thoughts:
I am not going to worry about spoilers with this series.

As I’ve done with previous books in the series I’m just going to post a few random thoughts that ran through my head as I read this.

This book was published based on an unfinished manuscript found after both Laura’s death and her daughters.

It clearly has a different feel and tone than previous books in the series. This adds credibility to the popular theory that the earlier books were heavily edited by Laura’s daughter. The writing in this one is both simpler and at the same time more adult feeling. Again I think it gives credence to the idea that Rose played a large role in the editing and/or writing of the earlier books.

The opening chapter is a recap of the end of the previous book but with a bit of a different feel. Laura tells Almanzo that she doesn’t want to be a farmer’s wife and they agree to give it three years and it it’s not a success then he’ll get a job in town. Well obviously that doesn’t exactly happen. Their early years are tough ones. Weather, financial troubles, a birth, a death, the loss of a home are all bad enough one at a time but Laura and Almanzo really get it all piled on them.

There’s a sadness to this book because of all the troubles but there are still the small joys and simple pleasures that make this series endure.

Rereading this series several decades after I enjoyed them multiple times as a kid was interesting. It was a mix of nostalgia and remembering why I loved these books so much and at the same time a bit of realization of how much times have changed. Part of that comes from the difference in ways of life from when Laura grew up to now and also the vast differences in social attitudes and norms. What seemed slightly out of date when these books were published are often now excellent teaching moments for children of today.

4 stars Rating 4/5


Charlie (The Worm Hole) 11/13/2013 9:17 AM  

I read a couple of House books as a child, but now I'm interested to get back to Wilder's work in big part due to the revelations. I like the sound of this book, it seems like it gives a firm context for the fiction.

Sherry 11/22/2013 8:38 PM  

Have ou read A Wilder Rose by Susan Wittig Albert? I wrote about it here:
It's an interesting recapitulation of the relationship between Rose and her mother Laura and their books.

SuziQoregon 12/09/2013 9:25 PM  

Charlie; It's really a different experience reading them as an adult as opposed to how I experienced them as a kid

Sherry: I've heard of that but haven't read it yet.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment. I read and respond them here although not always right away. If you would prefer an email response let me know.

I do moderate comments on posts older than 14 days in order to control spam. I will approve your legitimate comments as soon as I can.

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