I’ve been familiar with the Little House on the Prairie television series for a long time, but it’s only very recently that I finally got around to reading any of the original books. I regret leaving it so long because Little House in the Big Woods is a fantastic read.
Sadly, when I described the book to somebody recently, they said it sounded really boring – and I can kind of see why. If what I describe does sound boring to you, please trust me that it isn’t.
The novel is based on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s own childhood, though she writes about herself in the third person. Basically, it just summarises her day to day life, back in the 1870s, when she lived in a little house deep in the woods of Wisconsin. She was just a little girl back then, living with her mother and father (Charles and Caroline) and her younger and older sisters (Mary and Carrie), one of whom was just a baby.
The Ingalls family lead a very isolated life, far removed from other people and it’s fascinating to read the tales of what they did to pass the time. You find out about games they played, food they ate, stories Laura’s father told, how they made things, their rare encounters with other people etc. I found the whole book wonderfully wholesome.
I think what’s most impressive of all is that despite the fact that Laura’s childhood was so completely different to my own, she manages to convey a nostalgia for her past which is sure to make anybody who reads feel just as nostalgic themselves. The book may not have any real tension in it, but it paints such a beautiful image of her childhood, that it doesn’t matter. It’s also pretty interesting just to learn how people lived back then.
It’s only a short book, but in the small time I spent with it, it left a very positive impact on me and I can heavily recommend it to anyone of any age.