|About the Book|
Discovered in 1971 and posthumously tacked onto the previous eight volumes of the Little House series, its obvious from the first pages that somethings a little amiss here. The tone is different, harder, more grown-up, with many details that ended These Happy Golden Years changed here, and not for the better. After going off to live the life of a farmers wife in the previous book, the same scene is revisited, with Laura telling Manly (she calls Almanzo by his nickname throughout the book) that he should work in a shop, and that she has no interest in being a farmers wife. Jarring! But probably closer to the truth, too.The lack of finesse added to other books by Lauras daughter Rose is noticeably absent here. Also, considering that the manuscript was found after her death, theres a good chance that it was unfinished, and might have been fleshed out at a later date.Its interesting to see just how much hardship the couple endured in their four years of attempting to settle a land claim with the government. At the same time, the atrocities pile up so quickly, its hard not to be come desensitized to them after a while. When the last ten pages is given over to 1) typhoon, 2) temporary blindless, 3) bankruptcy, 4) a fire that wipes out the family house and nearly kills Laura and Rose, it almost turns into some sort of black comedy, where the protagonist puts his foot in a bucket, falls off a cliff, and inadvertently starts World War III.Of course, it wasnt a comedy, and as far as I know, these things actually happened, making it more depressing.If youre following this saga all the way to the bitter end, youll probably want to read this. If you just want to enjoy the fairy-tale tone and ambiance of the previous books, I beg of you to stop with These Happy Golden Years and protect your innocence. Since my girlfriend is writing a book about LIW, you can imagine that Ill riding this runaway train to the end of the line, but that doesnt mean you have to!