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Old Home Town

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  138 ratings  ·  16 reviews
In Old Home Town, Rose Wilder Lane has recreated small-town society of pre-World War I America with a precise feeling for decorum, dress, and kitchen dialogue. Like Sherwood Anderson in Winesburg, Ohio, she describes a community through the stories of certain memorable citizens. The overlay of nostalgia cannot hide some sharp observations about marriage and women's rights.
Paperback, 309 pages
Published November 1st 1985 by Bison Books (first published 1935)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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Mar 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
It was very well written, which is what I have come to expect from this author. It definitely gave me a feeling for how people lived in that era. I wish I could give it 3.5 stars, though. Perhaps because of the format, I felt there was a certain sameness to each of the stories. I think there is a possibility that Let The Hurricane Roar was her masterpiece.
Dana Stabenow
Aug 30, 2011 rated it liked it
Lane really, really didn't like the small town America in which she was raised, and in particular she didn't like the lifestyle it forced upon the women living it.

The first chapter is a beautifully written indictment of the nameless Midwestern town in which the story is set. Parochial, insular, stuffy, middle-brow, Wilder's old home town is obsessed with what is proper and especially what isn't.

The rest of the chapters are stories told by a young girl named Ernestine about other women who live
Mary Jo
May 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a reread and I have to say it was just as enjoyable the second time around. I have learned a little about Rose Wilder Lane and I can say that I wasn't surprised by her acerbic style of writing. She is every bit as good a writer as her mother, but my, what a different attitude toward small town life!!!
Nov 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A fun historical read, but even more so if you are a fan of the Little House books by Rose's mother, Laura Ingalls Wilder. Rose wrote this book before her mother wrote (and Rose heavily edited) the Little House books, so although the book is written about the turn of the century and the styles are more "Gibson Girl" the description of daily life is reminiscent of the Little House books. It also reminds me of the era depicted in "The Music Man" -- we even have the traveling salesman offering ...more
Ann Moody
Jul 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this one, as a good read in and of itself, as well as a good look into Rose's life and impressions.

This is chick-lit and a period piece, really a gift from another time that is still relatable. It's fascinating to see what was and was not considered proper behavior for a young lady around the turn of the century in rural middle America.

But as we learn these cultural nuances, we also observe the many ways people manipulate their social situations in the struggle to get what they
Caroline Herfindahl
Jun 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is the third Lane book I've read in a couple of months and after only marginally liking the first two I have to say I'm so glad I stuck with her! This book made me laugh out loud and think about how far (and yet not) women have come in this country. This was the first time I felt I really heard Rose's voice and HER story reflected in her writing. Although highly fictionalized (or maybe not?). I felt the characters and stories in this book about small town life (and especially the women of ...more
The other John
Jan 07, 2008 rated it liked it
This here's the Little House book that wasn't. Rose Wilder Lane is the daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder and in 1935 she wrote this thinly veiled account of her home town of Mansfield, Missouri. It's not tied in with the Little House series, but knowing readers will realize that "Mother" is no one less than Laura, all grown up. The book is an interesting peek at life in a small town around the turn of the 20th Century. Ms. Wilder doesn't make it sound too inviting--the social conventions were ...more
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book - a collection of short stories about the residents of a small town at the turn of the century. Her book focuses mainly on women, specifically their lack of rights, restrictions placed on women, and their place in society if they did not marry. Her bias against small towns and marriage shows throughout the book. However, her attention to detail gives a picturesque view of small town living. Characters are well developed - including the men. It is worth reading.
Laura Beth
Oct 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Acquired this book on a kick to read anything Laura Ingalls Wilder related.

Took one star off because it wasn't the easiest to read. Basically it's a collection of short stories about women's lives in the late 1800's / early 1900's...which I found fascinating! Women in their early 20's seemed old maids... thankful for the progress that has been made!
Beth Paul
I'm learning now in Prairie Fires that Old Home Town is only thinly disguised Mansfield, Mo & the townsfolk there didn't think too highly of it. I would have liked it more if I could read the chapters / short stories in one sitting, but they bord me too much to slog through.
Dec 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books in the whole world. This is a fun book. I think of it as a book of gossip. It takes me right out of my world and sets me in the little town filled with neighbors and strangers, horse and buggies - told in the eyes of a teenage girl. It's wonderful!
Dec 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Rose's dislike of growing up in a small town with gossiping women pervades this book. The final story looks like a reflection of herself as a " bachelor girl" who loves to travel and finds herself in Albania.
Amy Hemann
Aug 27, 2008 is currently reading it
I'm about to read it... Haven't got there yet
Aug 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Endearing portrait of small town American life pre-WWI.
May 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Funny how small town life hasn't changed much in a 100 years!
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Rose Wilder Lane (December 5, 1886, De Smet, Dakota Territory October 30, 1968, Danbury, Connecticut) was an American journalist, travel writer, novelist, and political theorist. She is noted (with Ayn Rand and Isabel Paterson) as one of the founding mothers of the American libertarian movement. ...more

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