Cheryl Malandrinos's Reviews > My Life as Laura: How I Searched for Laura Ingalls Wilder and Found Myself

My Life as Laura by Kelly Kathleen Ferguson
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's review
Nov 19, 2011

really liked it
Read in November, 2011

In this witty and candid memoir, author Kelly Kathleen Ferguson shares her journey to follow Laura Ingalls Wilder's travels and how she discovers herself. My Life As Laura: How I Searched for Laura Ingalls Wilder and Found Myself is at times funny, at times heartrending, and always a reminder that every Laurafan has a story to tell.

This is the second memoir of a woman following the travels of America's favorite pioneer girl that I've read this year. Both have their strengths: they're funny, well-written, and engaging.

What I feel makes My Life As Laura different is that Ferguson was not just trying to reconnect with a role model from her past. She made a decision to leave her previous life behind, get in her car, and drive across the country to start over in Montana, where her pioneering spirit came alive and encouraged her to drive west from the "Big Woods of Pepin, Wisconsin, to the Great Plains of De Smet, South Dakota," retracing the path where Laura comes of age.

The opening scene is probably one of the funniest in the book. Having decided to make her journey through Lauradom in period clothing, Ferguson ends up at the local Goodwill trying on prairie dresses. That dress gets a lot of mileage throughout the book, and her story of finding it, getting into it, and the mishaps with it along the journey are hilarious.

In what I feel is a brave move by Ferguson, she doesn't leave you with all her ducks suddenly in a row. This is no romantic tale, but like Wilder's classic books the author's story displays the optimism that comes from reconciling the past and holding onto hope for the future. I'm glad I have a copy of My Life As Laura in my Laura Ingalls Wilder library.
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