I cannot begin to say how much I love this book. I no longer call it my favorite book; I call it "the book I read." When in doubt, tired, seeking comfI cannot begin to say how much I love this book. I no longer call it my favorite book; I call it "the book I read." When in doubt, tired, seeking comfort, happy, whatever, I reach for To Kill a Mockingbird.
I had been attempting to read it for several years before finally finishing it for the first time when I was about 12. Since then, I've read it countless times and still read it several times a year. The characters are like old friends at this point, yet each time I read it, I notice something that I had overlooked before.
My best friend once said that when she wants to read a novel, she often just rereads To Kill a Mockingbird instead. That's the way I feel too. I read a lot and have read plenty of other novels, but for me, nothing compares with this one. ...more
It really is hard to describe just how bad this book is. Between the caricatured characters and the stiff writing, reading it is like chewing wood. AnIt really is hard to describe just how bad this book is. Between the caricatured characters and the stiff writing, reading it is like chewing wood. And the plot? Can you say "contrived?"
Here's an example. Sophie, the main female character, is a cryptographer who has been trained by her grandfather since childhood to understand and break astoundingly complex codes. So when she and the other main character, whose names escapes me at the moment, stumble upon a clue in which they have to figure out a five-letter Greek word meaning wisdom, it seems like a no-brainer that they would both yell out, "AHA! Sofia?" Alas,no. They went on for pages and pages trying to figure out the answer to the clue. I, meanwhile, kept wondering, "Is there another five-letter Greek work for wisdom?"
I read this book because I wanted to find out what the fuss was about, but I guess that's one mystery that I'll just have to leave unsolved.
This book was the first of the Little House books that I read. The last shall be first. I liked it, and all the Little House books (my favorites are LThis book was the first of the Little House books that I read. The last shall be first. I liked it, and all the Little House books (my favorites are Little Town on the Prairie and The Long Winter). While I have to say that I enjoyed them as a child, that's nothing to what I thought of them when I reread them as an adult.
As a child, I loved the innocence of Laura's existence and her rebellious nature. Now, what comes through much more strongly is the constant danger that the Ingalls Family lived with. Living through a brutal South Dakota winter with no central heat, in a house made of flimsy boards? Um, no thank you.
I am not now, nor have I ever been, particularly wild about Laura's style of writing (or Rose's, if you will, but more about that later). However, what Laura conveys very well is the hard work that went into western settlement, the difficulties that were part and parcel of that effort, and the confident attitude that made it all possible.
Reading these books also reveals that human nature never changes. Laura, despite what we would now see as poverty, wanted always to look good and the books devote much attention to buying material, designing clothes and making them. And her feelings for Nellie Oleson? Well, don't we all want to be popular and resent people who lord their wealth over us?
She also has a great ability to evoke mind-numbing cold, as happens a few times in These Happy Golden Years and on just about ever page of The Long Winter.
A few years ago, while on vacation, I stayed overnight in DeSmet. For anyone who has an interest in the Little House books, this is a great experience. I came away feeling that I had gotten to know the Ingalls family in a way I wouldn't have otherwise.
Reading these books as a child, and knowing they were based on actual events, was a wonderful experience. Going to DeSmet as an adult helped put flesh on the bones of people whose lives jump off the pages of Laura's books.