Katherine Coble's Reviews > Laura: The Life of Laura Ingalls Wilder

Laura by Donald Zochert
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's review
Aug 16, 2009

it was amazing

** spoiler alert ** This is a must-read for anyone who's read the Little House books. Especially if you--like I did for many years--accept the LIW/RWL versions of events as gospel truth. Much of the Little House books were tweaked to make a 'better story'; author Zochert has done the legwork to track down the mundane truth of matters and set the record straight with regard to How Things Really Were.

Some examples:

'Nellie Oleson' was actually a composite character, combining the attributes of 2-3 different little girls in different towns.

'Pa' wasn't necessarily the dashing adventurer, but rather a man with terrible luck at business and one who couldn't hold down a job so he forced his family into repeatedly packing up stakes and moving.

I don't mean to give the impression that this is a sensationalist book. It isn't at all. But it is very useful on several levels. Not only does it tell a less rose-coloured version of events, it also is useful to students of folklore. In reading both the populist versions authored by Laura and Rose and then the dry accounts of same uncovered by Zochert one can see the threads of myth's origin in the truth.
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