wJun 5, 2009

On the Way Home

This slim 100-page volume details the journey of the Wilder family from De Smet, South Dakota [where the last few Little House books take place] to Mansfield, Missouri: the place where Almanzo and Laura bought a farm and mostly stayed there until they died.

The majority of the book is a minimalist journal kept by Laura during their trip. Her notes mostly include details about the weather, what the crops are like, and camping conditions.

The Wilders made the trip with the Cooleys, a family with two boys who are about Rose's age, who are pretty frequent characters in Roger Lea MacBride's Rose books.

There are a few light-hearted notes, such as this one:
Mrs. Cooley and I went to a house to buy milk. It was swarming with children and pigs; they looked a great deal alike.

Speaking of Roger Lea MacBride, On the Way Home basically serves as an outline for his first book in the Rose series, Little House on Rocky Ridge. I was surprised by how many events in his fictionalized book were taken from On the Way Home, even down to the Wilders' finding of a dog and naming it Fido.

Rose adds in a few footnotes for clarity, but her main contribution is framing the journal by describing the events that led up to it, and what happened once her family reached Mansfield, Missouri.

The books also includes many pictures of the places traveled in this book, Rocky Ridge Farm, and Laura and Almanzo themselves.

Essentially, this book gets the Wilders from South Dakota to Missouri, with not much description, aside from Rose's narrative book-ends. To find out what happens next, one must resort to MacBride's Rose books [or those very slim Anderson books I read].

Speaking of Roger Lea MacBride....while I'm pretty skeptical to read other books about the Little House family, I do have a healthy amount of respect for his account, and he was essentially Rose's "adopted grandson," knew her quite well, and became the executor of her estate (and therefore Laura's).

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scribbled mystickeeper at 11:27 PM

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