Wednesday, September 15, 2010

These Happy Golden Years

These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Sweet book, folks :) The cover says it all. But, since that's not much of a review, I'll expound a little bit.

Laura is fifteen years old, and is starting to teach her first school. It's a full twelve miles away, which means she'll have to board with the head of the school board all week, and probably won't be able to come home very often. It's a hard prospect for Laura, who's always loved home better than any other place.
The situation is even worse when she arrives. Mr. Brewster, head of the board, is nice enough, but his wife is determined to be in a sour mood. Their only son, John, cries and pitches fits constantly. Laura is actually glad that she has to teach, because it means she'll be away from the Brewsters. On that first Friday, as she faces the idea of a full weekend with the Brewsters, the outlook is rather depressing. Then, the prairie version of a "knight in shining armor" comes to the rescue! :) Make that, a "homesteader in a jingling sleigh" :P Thanks to Almanzo, Laura is able to spend every weekend at home with her family.

I love Laura's stamina in this book! She's MY AGE!! Fifteen! and already living away from home, teaching strangers in the dead of winter at a prairie school. I wouldn't have liked staying with the Brewsters, either. Y'all remember that chapter, "A Knife in the Dark"? Scary.

Laura's pupils are a hoot, and I think she "manages" them very well. :) I was very impressed when she turned the whole mood of the school around by rewarding the children, instead of "making them mind". Same sort of rules apply to siblings, I'll say :)

Almanzo's a trooper. Laura couldn't have been the most encouraging girl to court. She wasn't rude at all, she just seemed rather expressionless :) Of course, he was growing on her without her knowing it, but he knew it. I can just see the almost "I told you so" look he gave himself in the spring when he took her sleighing down Main Street....after she'd told him not to come again :P She enjoyed herself...in spite of herself :P

Of course, one can't forget Nellie. Her part in this book was just utterly "too-too!" :P *giggle* "Right, Manny?"

FYI: This book covers three years. Laura does NOT marry Almanzo at age fifteen :P She's eighteen by the end of the book :)

There is an objection that many people have to this book, and it happens at the end.

WARNING: ***BIG SPOILER ALERT!!!!!***

When Laura and Almanzo get married, Laura asks that "obey" be taken out of their wedding vows. Personally, I don't let it bother me. If you read The First Four Years, I see no cause for alarm. Their marriage is sound and Laura lets Almanzo be the head of the household; she doesn't try to control him or act obstinately. That's just my opinion, if y'all disagree, please comment and we'll have a discussion :) I love discussions! (right, Gab and Vivi? :P)

*end of spoiler*

Laura and Almanzo's "Little Gray Home in the West" sounds idyllic. And this is what makes me smile: No where in the books does Laura or Almanzo tell the other, "I love you", or anything like that. However, it's written in between the lines pretty much everywhere after the chapter "Barnum Walks". Those of y'all who've read this book know what I mean. Almanzo put SO much effort into making the Little Gray Home perfect for Laura. That tells you how he feels about her needs. Then, Laura goes into such detail about that pantry and that tells you how much she appreciates it :)

This is a sweet book. 

I'll leave the rest (for there's A LOT in the book that I've not covered) for you to read yourself.

Jo's Rating:

Character of Characters: *****
Strength of Plot: *****

Overall Rating: *****

So.....that wraps up the Little House on the Prairie series! I don't count The First Four Years since it was published posthumously. It's still a great book, so read it anyway :)

To top off this series, here's some REAL pictures of the Ingalls/Wilders for y'all:

Ma and Pa Ingalls


Laura and Almanzo in 1885 (the year they were married)
Bit of Trivia: The hat Laura is wearing is actually described in These Happy Golden Years...the dress may be as well)


Laura


Almanzo


Mary Ingalls


Carrie


Grace in 1877 or 1878 (age one, possibly two)

FYI: The next series of reviews, Viking Quest, will begin on Monday and run through Friday. That way, I get the rest of this week, plus this week to do "normal" blog posts, although this series has been VERY fun! :P Keep the comments comin'! Don't feel shy about commenting on past posts, I still read them :)



picture credits from this article and other related articles

7 comments:

  1. I have loved your reviews on the books Jo! :) You have said basically my thoughts on the stories! :) This is probably my very favorite of all the books, although the time spent with the Brewsters is so dreary and bleak! :P Thanks for doing this! :) -Rachel

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  2. Aww, it'll be a bit sad not to visit your blog each day and read a new review. *wipes a tear* But yes, These Happy Golden Years is everything the title explains: happy and golden.

    Ooh, "A Knife in the Dark" was really scary. If I was Laura, I feel like I'd go home to Ma and Pa and say "I'm sorry, but I can't teach school anymore. I know Mary will have to come home from college with me not teaching, but we have no other choice. Either I don't teach, or I get stabbed in the dark!" Of course, I wouldn't exactly say *that* to my parents, but something along the lines of it. Yeah, I know--selfish me. But, still--wouldn't you do the same? :)

    Yes, Laura *would* be a hard person to court, as you said. I was just re-reading this book earlier today, and I noticed that she can be a little... hmm, how do I say this? Expressionless. But still, I love to read about their buggy rides and sleigh rides, and I love Almanzo consistency and devotion--every Friday, rain or shine, he would take Laura home for the weekend. Now, is that a prairie-style knight in shining armor or what? :)

    Nellie? You said it all: she is "utterly too-too." :)

    Love you!

    Elizabeth Rose

    P.S. I sent you an email, involving SoP. I wrote a new post, but it involves Bekah a *lot*, so would you mind reading it over before I publish it? I don't want to change the story, if you had something else in mind. Anyway, that's basically what I said in the email. :)

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  3. I really like the reviews, Jo. It's making me want to read the Little House books. Can't wait for the reviews for Viking Quest!

    Oh, yeah...I do love discussions, I must say. I could re-word that and say I like friendly arguments if I wanted. ;)

    ~Vivi~

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  4. Those pictures are awesome. Isn't it alway so neat to read a book or watch a movie based on someone's life and then actually *see* them? It makes someone from a story just so real.

    One thing I love about the few Little House books I've read is the way the sister interact with each other and support each other with such love. And from your reviews it seems like that doesn't change.

    Love you, dear Jo!

    Nan

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  5. I haven't actually read any of the little house on the Prairie books,
    But I have listened to some of the story tapes.
    Have you watched The Little House on the Prairie Episodes directed by Michael Landon? They are great!
    Love,
    Vellvin.

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  6. This was definitely one of my favorite books in the series - so sweet:) I've enjoyed reading your Little House reviews, dear! It's made me want to re-read the series, as it's been quite a while! Love and Blessings, Hannah

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  7. Mrs is Ingalls is pretty! ButI must rudely say that Carrie and Mary aren't very pretty! I thought Mary would look like her ma!
    I don't think I would every take the "obey" out of my wedding vows!

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