Sunday, March 19, 2023

Okay, I Admit It: I Am Not A Pioneer Woman

It's very, very seldom I don't finish a book. I don't feel it's fair to review a book I don't finish, which is why I have shlogged through some real duds in my life. The older I get, though, the less I'm willing to finish a book I feel is a waste of my precious reading time. 

I managed to get through almost 70% of Laddie: A True Blue Story by Gene Stratton-Porter, but I couldn't make myself finish it. It was one of the books listed as a "classic" (it was published in 1913) that should be read as part of a child's education. My vote is that it should not be. 

If you read my earlier post about Little Britches, I could see where it would appeal to some people. There are parts of Laddie that I also found appealing, even funny (Chapter 3 was my favorite), but the stories just went on and on and on. I couldn't take it anymore.

Laddie is really an autobiographical "fiction" novel written about the author's life and her love of her oldest brother, Laddie, and his long-term courtship with a young lady. It has some sweet and funny anecdotal moments, but when I reached the halfway point of the novel, I felt like it would never end. There were too many detailed descriptions. I tried to make myself finish it by listening to the audio version, but I started dreading my daily commutes to work because if I had to hear one more detailed description of the farm with the geese and the horses and the trees or a wedding dress or a bonnet, I was going to scream.

In all fairness, I should tell you that I am not a fan of the whole "pioneer woman" genre. Don't get me wrong, I greatly admire women who moved to a new country to start a new life or traveled in wagons to move out West, but I don't want to read about them. At least, not in the way this book was written...or the Little House in the Big Woods series...or, if I'm honest, Anne of Green Gables (I only read the first one, enjoyed it okay, but didn't want to read anymore of the series). 

They are all wholesome, good books, but they bore me. And I say this as someone who loves historical fictions. In fact, it is my favorite genre! But the style of writing in this type of "pioneer" story is like watching paint dry. 

I say all this to say, if you ARE the type of person who likes Laura Ingalls Wilder books, you'll probably love Laddie. I do not think, however, that it belongs on a list for today's young people to read as a part of a "classics" list, unless you want them to dislike reading. I would not recommend this book to any of my students, much less make it required reading in class.

I just keeping thinking....

I'll never get the time back I spent on this book. Ugh.

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