Tag Archives: Book review

Book Opinion: Caroline Little House, Revisited by Sarah Miller

My 1970’s era copy of Little House on the Prairie, a hardcover version bought for my daughter, and the new version, Caroline, bought recently.

As a long time Laura Ingalls Wilder fan, imagine my delight at discovering Caroline Little House, Revisted, a reimagining of Laura’s book Little House on the Prairie, told from the perspective of Caroline Ingalls, mother of the Ingalls brood. I was not disappointed.

This retelling of the tale delves into Caroline’s emotions, snippets of her history that Laura’s books didn’t address, her fears, her relationship with her husband, her love for her children, and the intestinal fortitude required of the pioneer generation. It includes stories that my fellow prairie-ties will recognize. The leaving of home and family, crossing the frozen Lake Pepin, fording a flooded river in the wagon, arriving in Independence, wolves, prairie fires, Indians, and best of all, MR. EDWARDS. It also clears up a few things, including the fact that the Osage war dance described by Laura didn’t happen. The Ingalls’ were likely frightened by the mourning songs sung by the Osage women after the Osage leaders met with federal Indian agents and agreed to peaceably sell their lands and relocate to Oklahoma. We also learn that the Ingalls family were not removed from their land by the government. Rather, Gustav Gustafson who bought the house in the Big Woods, reneged on the deal, the property reverted to the Ingalls and since they did not yet own their Kansas claim, they had to go back.

The emotions in Laura’s books were the emotions of a child, in this book, we get insight on what the pioneering experience must’ve been like to the women who gave up their entire lives to go west. The fear of giving birth alone, surviving sickness without family, worry for the children, long stretches of time alone on the claim with children while the husband went to town or went out hunting.

This book probably has a very specific audience, people like me who grew up on Laura’s books or the television show. Honestly though, anyone with interest in history or the pioneer era would enjoy this book. By the way, if you’ve never read Laura’s books, and your knowledge of the Little House universe is limited to the Micheal Landon show, I beg you to read the books, and read them to your kids. You’ll never look at that tv show the same way.

Have a great weekend everybody. Spend some of it with a good book, and spread kindness. ❤️

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Book Opinion:Faithful by Alice Hoffman

alice-hoffman

Alice Hoffman is one of my favorite authors. She’s the one who brought us Practical Magic, which delights my soul in both book and movie form. Her latest, Faithful, is equally satisfying.

High school students Shelby Richmond and her best friend Helene were in a terrible car accident.  Shelby was driving and almost died, Helene was injured so badly she remains in that twilight area between life and death where so many find themselves. Confined permanently to her bed and machines, Helene becomes something of a celebrity in their town because she was the beautiful, popular girl who is now in a coma and the tragedy of it all attracts exactly the kind of attention that tragedy always attracts in our society.  Shelby meanwhile is paralyzed by guilt and depression and suffers through her own physical injuries, followed by emotional breakdown, mental hospital confinement, rescue by her mother and self-imposed isolation at home.

The book takes us through the story of Shelby’s return to life. It is a long, convoluted path that involves boys from high school, love, dogs (the best people and saviors of many), work, education, heart-break and happiness, mysterious postcards designed to keep her from the edge and the guardian angel who sends them to her.

This is a great book for anyone who has experienced overwhelming tragedy and/or mental illness of any kind. Shelby is a survivor even though she doesn’t really know it. She shows the reader that you can come back from just about anything and create a life that while different from what you expect, can be better than what you dreamed it would ever be again. It is possible to come to terms with your life.

As usual with Alice Hoffman, the writing is clean and flows well. She writes at a high, lyrical level and it’s dense with feeling and subtlety, but she does it with such skill that it’s a very easy read. I was on a five-hour flight from Seattle to Fairbanks AK and read the entire thing on the plane.

If you’re looking for a good book to keep you company on these chilly winter days, this one might be a good choice.

Have a wonderful week, read a good book, and be kind to people. We need that now more than ever. Be the change you want to see in the world, and make it positive. 😊