On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder

My first really good audiobook experience was with a series.  After struggling to find something I could stand listening to while driving, I came across some mysteries that were unlike anything I was ever interested in reading.  I found it easier to follow the story.  Even though each book was different, it was easier to get back to the story if I was lost based simply on the fact that I knew the characters.  I just listened to all of the Sookie Stackhouse books and then the next library available audiobook series on my list was Little House.

And, holy geez, you guys, I just realized that I completely skipped over Little House on the Prairie.  I have no idea how.  I guess that I’ll go back, as my little reading in order OCD heart begins to panic.

This is the only Little House book that I previously read.  We read it as a class in fourth grade and there were things that I vividly remembered about it for 23 years.  Even though I never read the other Little House books, it has to say something that it stuck with me.  I remembered the leeches and I remembered the rope to go from the house to the stable in the blizzards, random little bits that I’ve carried with me over the years.

I never really got into these books (even though, like any good little girl, I owned the box set) because they were too boring and precious for me.  And they were big.  I wasn’t a good reader until I was well past Little House.  I always bemoaned the fact that I missed them but now I’m glad I did.  Reading them as an adult is kind of fun.  I see a whole new level that I probably wouldn’t have as a kid.

Like, that Ma is a bad ass.  A total bad ass.  Pa is off in a snow storm and she manages to do his chores and care for three little girls who are worried about their father.  She plays games with them and finds a way to give them lessons that are distracting and deals with f*cking fireballs, you all.  Even when things are looking bleak for the family, she manages to distract the kids from it and she has a kind way with them that accomplishes more anger would.

I’ve seen people talking about Pa being kind of a crappy guy but I didn’t really think so.  Sometimes he makes a bad decision but he always does his best to keep the family afloat.  He works hard and when he is downtrodden he doesn’t take it out on the kids or his wife.  He is always trying to find a better way for them and to me that is admirable.  Plus, he loves his family, makes times for them, plays his fiddle for them.

In fourth grade I remember thinking of Mary as being super proper, kind of like Meg March in Little Women, and thinking of Laura as the tomboy.  But, really, they’re both just little girls.  Mary is a little older, a little calmer, the older sibling left in charge.  Laura is just spirited.  We’re all a lot more like Laura, I think, and I spent half of my time thinking she was a pretty good kid and the other half thinking that she was a little shit.  Still, she’s just a kid.

Well, Silver Lake is sitting in my car and I planned on starting it next week but I suppose I’ll collect Little House on the Prairie first.  Pft.  How unlike me…

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