Listened to on BOCD. Second in a trilogy; I didn't read the first. The only Meg Cabot I have read is the Allie Finkle series (for YA), which I find hi...moreListened to on BOCD. Second in a trilogy; I didn't read the first. The only Meg Cabot I have read is the Allie Finkle series (for YA), which I find hilarious, but this book was just meh. It ends on a cliffhanger, but I think I'll just track down a synopsis online rather than read the next book.
The idea is that the main character, Lizzie, gets in trouble because she can't keep her mouth shut, but I didn't really see that as a problem for her more so than it is for anyone else. Anytime another character would say "oh, you and your big mouth again", I would be taken aback, because Lizzie just seemed normal to me, and not particularly gossipy.
I found all the relationship stuff in this really boring, and was more intrigued by her interest in vintage gowns and refurbishing wedding dresses. I liked the scenes in the wedding gown shop; the rest was a snooze.
Also, potential spoiler here: when her boyfriend gives her a sewing machine for Christmas instead of the engagement ring she thinks she is going to get, I understand her sadness over it, but I was puzzled when everyone else told her he is a jerk for giving her a sewing machine. She wants to have a career in fashion and wedding gown design--a sewing machine as a gift seems really thoughtful to me!
I, along with countless other women my age, first read this book as an adolescent in the 1970s. The first time I read it, I borrowed it from a friend...moreI, along with countless other women my age, first read this book as an adolescent in the 1970s. The first time I read it, I borrowed it from a friend to read on a car trip. Thirty minutes into our ride, the sun began to set, and I remember holding the book closer and closer to my face as it got darker and darker, and feeling incredibly frustrated that I didn't have a flashlight with me!
Margaret's story is compelling. She gives voice to every insecurity that most girls have when it comes to maturing. What I remembered about this story was her desperate desire to fill our her bra and to start her period, as well as the famous party with the cotton balls and Two Minutes in the Closet. Upon this re-read, I was shocked at how few pages of the book are devoted to the party. It seemed so much more when I was a kid!
What I didn't remember was her quest for a religion, but her relationship with God and where to find Him take up as much of her thoughts as does the titillating girl stuff. As an adult, I found that part of the story very meaningful. Those questions may not have been answered for Margaret as easily as the physical ones. I found myself wanting to know about the adult Margaret (who would be in her 50s now!)--what religion is she? Does she still talk to God?
I really like Margaret as a character. When I was a kid she scared me a bit with her cotton balls and her desperation for her period, but now I think she's pretty neat.
One question: why is poor Margaret pictured wearing knee socks on this edition of the book? NOT wearing socks with her loafers is one of the things she does to fit in at school!(less)
I finished this book with a lump in my throat, feeling sad for the end of Laura's childhood as well as the end of my own. I find it impossible to crit...moreI finished this book with a lump in my throat, feeling sad for the end of Laura's childhood as well as the end of my own. I find it impossible to critique these books objectively because they are part of my childhood; I'm too close to them. So, I give them all 5 stars (except Farmer Boy, because I don't have the nostalgia factor with that one and can be a bit more objective).
These Happy Golden Years starts immediately where Little Town on the Prairie ends. Fifteen-year-old Laura has a job as a school teacher 12 miles from town. She is sad and homesick, but Almanzo comes to her rescue by driving out in the Dakota winter weather to bring her home every Friday. The story covers the next three years of Laura's life, showing her growing into full womanhood as she takes on more jobs, spends more time away from Pa and Ma's Little House, and falls in love with and marries her beau. There isn't a melancholy tone to this book, even though Laura thinks about and talks about growing up and what that means, but it still makes me a little bit sad.
A note about Mrs. Brewster: when I was a kid I thought that woman was crazy, but now I feel nothing but sympathy for her. That homesteading life wasn't for the faint of heart. Poor thing. I wonder what happened to her?(less)
I think this book would hold little appeal to young readers. Older or more mature readers are more likely to appreciate the four separate points of vi...moreI think this book would hold little appeal to young readers. Older or more mature readers are more likely to appreciate the four separate points of view that come together to form the complete story.(less)
I read this book when I was a child and was shocked and disappointed by it. The tone is very flat and Laura and Almanzo seem like different people. It...moreI read this book when I was a child and was shocked and disappointed by it. The tone is very flat and Laura and Almanzo seem like different people. It seems more of an outline than a full-fledged Little House book. I almost didn't re-read it this time to finish out my re-reading of the entire series, but I decided to steel myself to the task, and I'm actually glad I did. I knew what I was getting into, so it wasn't so shocking and disappointing this time around.
This book begins by re-telling the end of These Happy Golden Years, but this time before they are married, Laura tells Almanzo she doesn't want to be a farmer's wife. How's that now? She feels farming is too difficult and they will always be poor, but Almanzo convinces her to try it out for three years. The couple starts out happily enough, racing their ponies on the prairie and enjoying being newlyweds, but even before the first year is over the tragedies start piling up right along with the growing debt. The first four years were pretty awful.
Almanzo, who seemed so smart and prosperous throughout the entire series, makes horrible financial decisions, and Laura, who doubts the wisdom of what he's doing, lets him do it because "that's his business." (Granted, she's writing about these first four years 60 years after they happened, so she might be turning her hindsight into foresight...) When hail destroys their first wheat crop before it is harvested, he suggests they use the hail to make ice cream, and Laura is thoroughly disgusted with him.
Also, it is revealed here that Almanzo did not build her that fabulous pantry in their house. He hired a carpenter to do it for him. And twice in the first year of marriage Laura orders things from the Montgomery Ward catalog, which just seems downright weird. It's as if this book showcases the reality of the pioneer/settlers life much more so than the first 8 books in the series do. This book lets you see that the first 8 books were idealized and sanitized, which doesn't make me love them any less, but it's kind of like finding out there's no such thing as Santa.(less)
A page-turner about Alice, a 15-year-old girl, who is falsely accused of murdering her father. She runs away from the authorities--and from the real k...moreA page-turner about Alice, a 15-year-old girl, who is falsely accused of murdering her father. She runs away from the authorities--and from the real killer--as she tries to figure out how to solve her father's death. The story is very dated, being set in the early days of the Internet before cell phones were ubiquitous, although car phones are mentioned. The Internet, computer discs, caller ID, phone calling cards, and pay phones are prominent plot devices in this story. I'm not sure if kids today would enjoy this book when the technology driving the plot is so foreign to them.
I got a little frustrated with Alice. It seemed obvious to me she should just go home to her mother, but then the story would have ended right there and she couldn't have solved the problem on her own.
One thing that bugged me: Alice's last name is Robie, and her father's brother's name is Robbie. Robbie Robie? (less)
The story is thin, the characters do not develop and are one dimensional, but still the book is cute and funny with an entertaining format. Hopefully...moreThe story is thin, the characters do not develop and are one dimensional, but still the book is cute and funny with an entertaining format. Hopefully kids today will understand what letters and telegrams are! (less)
Betty Macdonald (author of the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books) humorously remembers the days when she was a divorced mother of two, living with her mother a...moreBetty Macdonald (author of the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books) humorously remembers the days when she was a divorced mother of two, living with her mother and sisters in Seattle, during the Depression. The title comes from the positive attitude of Betty's sister, Mary, who believed that Anybody (especially Betty) Can Do Anything. Mary spends her time finding jobs and vocations for her sisters (especially Betty), and Betty often winds up in uncomfortable, and sometimes dangerous, work situations. This was a good book to read during a road trip, as each chapter stands alone and there is no story arc. My only discomfort with the book comes from Macdonald's descriptions of the physical features of people, which are usually not very flattering. This is meant to be funny, but with 21st century sensibilities, it sometimes seems cruel.(less)
Susan E's review of this book made me want to read it myself. I've read other books by Lois Duncan and enjoyed them, but never this one, and it seemed...moreSusan E's review of this book made me want to read it myself. I've read other books by Lois Duncan and enjoyed them, but never this one, and it seemed appropriate for a Halloween read. The version I read had not been updated, so there was no mention of cell phones or Internet. I do not think there is any need to update the technology in old books, and I wish authors and publishers would stop doing it. Kids today can understand that certain technology did not exist 30 years ago and appreciate the "historical value" of reading the book in its original form.
This story was nicely creepy and spooky without being gory or sickening. I read this while the outer reaches of Hurricane Sandy had cold winds howling around my house--sound effects to match the mood of the story! The ending was a little too abrupt. (less)
The culprit was less obvious in this story than in previous Needlecraft Mysteries, so it was fun from that standpoint, but Betsy and the other usual c...moreThe culprit was less obvious in this story than in previous Needlecraft Mysteries, so it was fun from that standpoint, but Betsy and the other usual characters are almost non-existent in this installment. Editing seems to be lacking, too, as there are some head-scratching mistakes (eg: one character saying her father had given her a 49 star flag, but she threw it away when Hawaii became a state. Impossible, as she was born in the 1960s!!) There were also too many characters to keep track of, and dialogue that didn't ring true. (less)
Not my first reading of this, but it hasn't lost its charm over the years. Parts of it are a little dated, but overall it has aged well and is still e...moreNot my first reading of this, but it hasn't lost its charm over the years. Parts of it are a little dated, but overall it has aged well and is still entertaining and relevant. I hope the publishers don't try to update it to be more modern. It's okay if today's kids have to ask what a news reel is!
I think the guppy chapter is my favorite, although the fact that Mrs. Huggins is going to use those fruit jars to store fruit in again after the guppies have lived in them really grosses me out.
I love that the children in this book are left to their own devices, even as far as 3rd-grader Henry riding the city bus by himself (!). The children come up with solutions on their own when problems present themselves. And there are true laugh-out-loud moments in every chapter.
This book does not have any hint of being someone's first published story, but it was indeed Ms. Cleary's first book. She was a natural story teller!
Sweet story about a king and a princess and the princess's three suitors who must bring the king something AMAZING from the forest to win the princess...moreSweet story about a king and a princess and the princess's three suitors who must bring the king something AMAZING from the forest to win the princess's hand in marriage. Each prince finds some truly amazing things--that forest is full of wonderful creatures! What amazing thing will the king like best?(less)