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Books Read in 2016: ‘Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography’ by Laura Ingalls Wilder | Part 2

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Pioneer GirlPioneer Girl
by Laura Ingalls Wilder
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Summary from Goodreads:
Pioneer Girl follows the Ingalls family’s journey through Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, back to Minnesota, and on to Dakota Territory sixteen years of travels, unforgettable experiences, and the everyday people who became immortal through Wilder’s fiction. Using additional manuscripts, letters, photographs, newspapers, and other sources, award-winning Wilder biographer Pamela Smith Hill adds valuable context and leads readers through Wilder’s growth as a writer. Do you think you know Laura? Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography will re-introduce you to the woman who defined the pioneer experience for millions.

Read Part 1 of my reading recap here.

Part 2 (covering By the Shores of Silver Lake and The Long Winter):

      05/07 By the Shores of Silver Lake marked as: currently-reading
      05/07 at 4.0% of By the Shores of Silver Lake: I’d forgotten how the beginning of this book makes me bawl my eyes out for good, faithful, loyal Jack, the brindle bulldog.

      05/08 at 40.0% of By the Shores of Silver Lake: There was a lot of skipping over of the many pages of explanation/description of the work in the railroad camp that just happened.”


05/09 on page 201 of Pioneer Girl (50.0%): While I don’t think the section of this book that coincides with By the Shores of Silver Lake was actually any shorter than those that came before it because, just as with the novel, I found myself skimming over a bunch of the descriptions of the railroad camp and the process of building the RR track. Which, in this book also means I was also skipping many of the annotations, which add to the reading time.


05/09 on page 201 of Pioneer Girl (50.0%): This autobiographical picture of Laura’s life growing up also is much more honest when it comes to realistically portraying the family’s bleak (many times dire) financial problems—so much so that Pa would leave the table after eating just a little bit to go back out to the fields to work just to leave more food for his wife and daughters. Laura noticed, so she started doing the same.





      05/10 By the Shores of Silver Lake marked as: read
      05/10 The Long Winter marked as: currently-reading


Apparently I don’t have many thoughts about Silver Lake or The Long Winter as I didn’t really post many text updates while reading these two. In fact, Silver Lake is my least favorite of the series (not counting Farmer Boy, which I don’t even really think of as being part of this series), so I read it mainly to see how things changed from the memoir to the novel . . . and to be honest about saying I’d re-read all of the books. But for me, like them, it’s just a quick stop while waiting for the best part of the story to come along.

PG17 PG22

PG21 PG18

An interesting thing that LIW did in the novels (possibly at her publishers’ request???) was to make Almanzo younger—closer to her own age. IRL, he was 10 years older than she and already old enough to file his own claim by the time he came to De Smet. In the novels, she shaved about five or six years off and had him lie about his age so he could file a claim. This makes sense for the audience she ended up writing for—by the time the novels in which he features as the romantic interest came out in the early 1940s, society had already moved away from the idea that it would be appropriate for a 25-year-old man to be paying romantic interest to a 15-year-old schoolgirl.

PG19 PG20

05/11 on page 227 of Pioneer Girl: (56.0%): Whew! The long winter is over—at least this version of it. In this memoir, LIW did not commit to nearly as much detail or description to remembering the hard winter as she did with any other section that became its own novel. It’s obvious, even without the annotations, that Laura really had a hard time writing about it.

      05/12 The Long Winter marked as: read

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