ローラ・インガルス・ワイルダー伝―『大草原の小さな家』が生まれるまで 単行本 – 2000/8
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One other note: I learned a lot of new information about facts that were left out of the Little House books or changed to make the story flow better for children. John Miller even goes so far as to call her Little House books fiction. I don't completely agree with him on that point, but I did learn a lot and wanted to know more about the actual accurate early life of Laura. Miller makes reference in this book to Laura's first attempt at novel writing; an unpublished manuscript called "Pioneer Girl." I did a little research and found that copies are available from the Herbert Hoover Library in West Branch, Iowa. It is costly, but worth it for the biggest fan. It is definetly an adult read, though, don't plan on reading this to your children as a bedtime story.
Hope this review was helpful - enjoy!
It's also important to remember that the "Little House" books only cover Laura's life up to her marriage, and that she in fact lived less than 15 years in DeSmet. She spent the remaining 63 years of her life in Missouri. I always thought that Missouri was an odd choice of destinations, but there in fact were compelling reasons for the move, and Miller does explain them.
Some have criticized this book because they feel that it almost becomes a biography of Rose Wilder Lane about halfway through. A more careful reading gives an explanation for why this seems to be the case; Rose left massive amounts of personal archives, letters, and other documents when she died. On the other hand, Laura ("Mama Bess")left very little of this kind of information behind, and were it not for Rose's archives there would be even bigger gaps in the narrative. Miller does mention that a roomfull of possessions left behind in Laura's parents' home in DeSmet was discarded by the new owners of the house, and it's just possible that some of her letters were lost there.
If some people wish the book provided more in-depth detail about Laura's life in Missouri, then they should also wish for even more information about Almanzo. At the end of this book we know only a little more about him than we did at the end of "The First Four Years." He was apparently a man of few words, either spoken or written, so he largely remains an enigma. What little we do know about him comes from either Laura or Roses's writings.
One thing we do learn is that Laura never lost her pioneering spirit. In 1925 she, Rose, and a good friend of Rose's drove all the way to the West Coast from Missouri. A transcontinental auto trip in 1925 was still a major adventure, and even more remarkable when undertaken by three women. An account of this adventure surely would have made for good reading, but apparently neither Laura nor Rose thought of it.
This has been something of a rambling review, so I will conclude that Miller did very good work, and that any true fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder or her daughter would do well to read it.