Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder

You can file the Little House books right along side all of the other books that I missed out on as a child because I wasn’t a very good reader.  I spent most of my childhood wanting to read big, thick books with awesome, amazing stories and not being able to because they were above my level.  Actually, I don’t know that I even wanted to read Little House when I was younger but I know that the desire hit me hard in my early 20’s.  A couple of months ago I decided to read children’s literature before bed in an attempt to give up the Kindle light that I suspected was making me sleep poorly.  I checked this out and got started.  Then it took my forever because I fall sleep so quickly and I was getting frustrated because I wanted to read other things.  Finally, last night I realized that I was half way through FOUR books and I needed to do something so I sat down and read the last 100 pages.

How could I not enjoy this?  The Wilder books are like a big game of Trivial Pursuit for me.  I have to look everything up that I haven’t heard of.  I need to know what vinegar pie is, you guys.  I NEED to know.  It’s just so cool to read about how things were done.  Like, there is a chapter about the cobbler and the whole time I was like, “Man!  My family were cobblers in Germany!  This is totally what they did!  Amazing!  I need more shoes!”

Part of the joy of the Little House books is how each chapter reads like a short story.  There are no cliff hangers.  The biggest cliff hanger in this book was whether or not Mother knew about the stain on the parlor wallpaper, which I kept expecting to come back up.  I don’t know how to explain the reading experience.  It’s like narrative nonfiction for me.  I WANT Almonzo to have a colt of his own but it isn’t a driving plot.  The plot is the wheel of the year.

Almonzo is a great character.  He is a little boy who wants to be good but can’t always be.  He doesn’t like school because he likes to be doing things but he is smart.  He looks up to his father and wants to be just like him and is ashamed when he isn’t.  It would be interesting to see an Almonzo in a more modern book.  I wonder how he would carry over?

I expected to return Farmer Boy and feel good that I had one less book checked out.  Instead I picked up On the Banks of Plum Creek while I was at it.


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