Title: Little House on the Prairie (Little House #2)
Author: Laura Ingalls Wilder
Published: Originally 1935
Published by: HarperCollins
Format Read: eBook, Kobo
Genre: Middle Grade, Historical Fiction, Classics
Date Read: May 25, 2016
In search of a new adventure, Pa (Charles Ingalls) packs up his family into a covered wagon and sets out for a new life on the Kansas prairies. Like in the first book, readers follow middle child Laura as they make the long and tiring journey from their home in the big woods of Wisconsin. Once on the prairie they must all work together to build a home and stable, while living in fear of an unknown place in Indian Territory.
As I re-read this classic series I am reminded of my original impression of the Little House books, from my early childhood. I remember my teacher reading this book to my class, introducing me to the pioneers and how they lived all those years ago. I remember having such strong emotions, as the Ingalls family faced danger on the open prairie. If only I could go back and re-live that experience of reading these books for the first time.
After all these years I am sad to say that I didn’t quite have the same reaction as I once had about Little House on the Prairie. I attribute this to maturity and a better knowledge of historical time periods. Although some parts were still disturbing, I felt desensitized because I have since read books that were so much more graphic. It also made me look at certain aspects of the story differently. Another reason why my thoughts on this series has change is due to the fact that I now know how edited Laura Ingalls Wilder’s stories were compared to her real childhood experiences. This is to be expected though considering the audience these books are directed towards.
I love how Laura and Mary looked up to their father. He was their hero even if he put their family in danger. They always found comfort that he would protect them from any harm. I always liked his character but I find that I mostly remember him from Michael Landon’s portrayal on the television series.
Unfortunately this time around I also saw Pa in a different light. He decided that he would pack up his whole family and try their luck in Kansas, even though Ma didn’t want to leave her home and family. During that time period a woman was expected to listen to her husband and do as he says. This really made me think about the life women led then and how they differ in our present day.
I tried not to read too far into the realities of their circumstances though as I really did want to enjoy the story. I still found it fascinating how they built their home and lived off the land, just like I did as a child. And I also still believe that this is a classic series that should be passed down for many more generations to come.