Merry Wanderer of the Night  + [YA]

Memory Monday — The Little House books

One Christmas while growing up, my parents gave my older sister a set of books for Christmas. She had them, which meant that I wanted them. But they weren't mine. (I'm still surprised at the number of times over the years that they have given a gift to one of us that would have been better suited for the other. Like the sewing machine... Seriously...) Anyway. I digress. So, I had to wait for the sister to either finish reading all nine books, or wait for her to get tired of them. I don't think she made it past the first few books before losing interest and then grudgingly allowed me to borrow them. (I'm pretty sure the parents were involved in pushing that...)

And let me tell you... I devoured those books. Seriously inhaled them. The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder was insanely loved by me. I cannot tell you how much I loved these books. There are nine of them, and I was reading them when I was probably about 7 or 8. Nine books. Big books too (at least for a kid that age) But I read them. And I loved them. I loved them so much that I thought they were the greatest books ever. I wanted to be Laura. For real... I begged my mom until she made me a bonnet and then I would run around outside, letting my bonnet flop off my head and stream behind me like Laura's did. (And really people, Laura was right! Bonnets are seriously annoying.)

I remember so many games played by myself that involved me being Laura in some way or another. I loved all of the books, but my very most favorite was These Happy Golden Years because that's when Almanzo proposes to Laura. It's been years since I've read these books, but I've never forgotten that scene. I even looked it up a while ago to make sure I was right, and I totally was. 'That would depend in the ring.' Sigh. It gave me butterflies. I don't even think I was 10 yet when reading this book but I remember thinking how amazing and romantic that scene was.

But then... Book the ninth. I remember starting it, so happy and eager to read about them after they had finally gotten married. But as I started reading, nothing felt right. The writing was different and even as a young kid, the narrative voice felt... off. Somehow awkward and stilted. I remember forcing myself to finish the book, because it was the end to this deeply beloved series but being incredibly disappointed in the final book. It wasn't until later that I learned that Laura had died before writing this book and her daughter (I think...) had compiled the notes she had left behind and written the final book for Laura. Made me feel pretty good that I'd picked up on the differences as a 9 year old.:)

I really want to go back and reread these books because of how much I loved them growing up, but at the same time, I'm very afraid to. I'm afraid that they won't live up to the pedestal I've placed them on in my memories. Maybe I'll wait until I have kids of my own and then try and read them together. I'd love to go back and see how many of the scenes I vividly remember from these books are the same as I remember them, or if they are even in these books (like Laura running through the rain so fast she managed to dodge the raindrops. Do you have any idea how many times I tried that?! I lived near Seattle, WA. We were no stranger to rain and I used to try, so hard to run fast enough to dodge the rain. But alas. I never managed it.)

Any of you have memories of reading about the many adventures of Laura on the prairie?

Complete List of the books:

Little House in the Big Woods
Little House on the Priarie
Farmer Boy
On the Banks of Plum Creek
By the Shores of Silver Lake
The Long Winter
Little Town on the Prairie
These Happy Golden Years
The First Four Years

(Also, I hate the cover art with the real people on it... I loved the Garth Williams illustrated covers, even as a kid. They just fit the books so much better)