Charity's Reviews > By the Shores of Silver Lake

By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder
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Nov 21, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: kids
Read from November 21 to December 06, 2011

The Ingalls kids are getting older and are taking on more responsibility as the hardships get more difficult. Laura's becoming a young woman and her reflections and perception is changing to match that transition.

There was one part that really struck a chord with me. It's when the Ingalls are moving from the surveyors' house to the unfinished store building in town at the end of the winter. Laura reflects that she was "alone and happy" on the prairie throughout the winter, but now in town with so many people around, she's lonely. While I'm not certain how I would handle the level of isolation the family experienced during a South Dakota winter hundreds of miles from any other people, I can relate to her sentiment. I'm rarely lonely when I'm alone. It's when I'm surrounded by people I don't know that I feel most isolated.

My feelings about this book are a little more nuanced than they are about the previous books, but I'm still quite enjoying them. We're going back and reading Farmer Boy before moving on the The Long Winter. I figured we ought to get a sense for who Almanzo is before he starts playing a larger role in the stories. And on the positive side, I'm fairly certain that I can now, if necessary, build a railroad, thanks to Wilder's detailed description of the process.

It's still not at all clear to me, though, what the privy situation was. Did they have to trudge through the snow to the outhouse or go in a chamber pot every time they did their business? Was the privy in the lean-to? How far did they have to walk? And if the well was only 6 feet deep, how deep did they need to dig their privy?
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