Monday, June 24, 2019

"The Selected Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder" edited by William Anderson

Oh.  My.  Word.

So, my mom picked up this book at the Wall Drug bookstore in Wall, SD, a couple months ago.  She showed it to me when I was visiting her last week, and I ended up reading the whole thing over the course of about three days.  It was fascinating and encouraging and wonderful.

It was fascinating because of how well I feel like I got to know the woman behind the books I've loved basically all my life.  These letters start in 1894 and go 1956, and they are staggeringly varied.  Some are to friends, some to her husband Almanzo, some to her daughter Rose, some to perfect strangers who sent her fan mail.  The ones I liked best were the ones to children who wrote her about her books.

It was encouraging because she struggled so hard with writing By the Shores of Silver Lake, which is my favorite of her books.  I'm struggling with the book I'm writing right now, and knowing that I'm not the first writer to struggle with a book that's a ways into a series is a comfort.

It was wonderful because Laura Ingalls Wilder was such a sweet, tart, friendly, shy, intelligent, obstinate, REAL person, and you get that sense of her from these letters.  I'm so happy I read this book.  I might have to get a copy of my own.

Particularly Good Bits:

As you read my books of long ago I hope you will remember that the things that will give you happiness are the same now as they were then.  Courage and kindness, loyalty, truth and helpfulness are always the same and always needed.  (1950 letter to the Pomona Public Library) (p. 323)

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  PG.  There's a very light smattering of strong language.

8 comments:

  1. yup, I need this. I like to think Laura and I could be friends but I suppose everyone who has ever loved her books like to think that.

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    1. Jennifer, yup, you do. And yes, I think that is a common reaction. I know a lot of the letters from fans said things like they felt they were friends with her. She answered a lot of her replies with "Your friend, Laura Ingalls Wilder." So neat.

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  2. I haven't read the Little House books in so long, but I keep meaning to revisit them. This sounds like it would be an intriguing read!

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    1. RM, I hadn't read them in years, but I started reading them aloud to my family on long trips, and man, I still love them so much. And remember them really well. Definitely worth a revisit!

      And yes, this book was really cool.

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  3. I love Laura Ingalls Wilder and all her books. Can't wait to get my hands on this one! :)

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    1. Lark, I hope you can find this soon, then! I love her books too :-)

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  4. Hamlette, put it on your Christmas list and I'll get it for you! So glad you enjoyed it!

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