Friday, February 21, 2014

Reread #8 The Long Winter

The Long Winter. Laura Ingalls Wilder. 1940. 334 pages. [Source: Library]

While I enjoy almost all of the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, I must admit that The Long Winter is probably my favorite and best. (I still have never read Farmer Boy.) I think one of the reasons why I love it so much is that it's one of the books that you experience. When Pa, Ma, Mary, Laura, Carrie, and Grace are hungry and cold, YOU feel hungry and cold alongside them. This is also the novel that introduces Almanzo.

The Long Winter is set in 1880/1881. It is a fictional account of one of the hardest (longest) winters. It is definitely a book about hardship and survival and the human spirit. It's very intense in places.

I first reviewed it in February 2008.

The first chapter is called "Make Hay While the Sun Shines" and if it's found within a book called THE LONG WINTER, the reader knows what to expect even if the characters don't. The book opens with Ma and Pa and family getting ready for harvest and winter. Laura is helping out Pa. Mary and Carrie are helping out Ma. Laura is especially pleased that she's old enough (around 14 now) to help Pa and do outdoor chores.

The Ingalls family is living in their claim shanty. This would be the first fall/winter they've been there. And they know it will be tough, but when the first blizzard comes in October, they know that it wouldn't only be tough to survive but impossible to survive if they were to try to stay on their homestead. Fortunately, Pa owns property in town. A place where they can be nice and warm and cozy for the winter. Or so they think.

What no one could know is just how hard, how long, how tough this winter was going to be. Some folks are prepared--the Wilder boys for instance--but most are not. Most are relying on the train making regular stops in town. The trains are essential for stocking the stores of supplies. But when almost every day brings a blizzard--with clear days coming only one at a time and never on a predictable schedule--it soon becomes clear that the trains will not be saving the day. Not til spring. The town's survival, the Ingalls' family survival, is a big if at this point.

Cold. Hunger. Starvation. No supplies. What's not to love?

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Ms. Yingling said...

Not surprisingly, this is my favorite, too. My favorite Haywood? Snowbound with Betsy!

Kailana said...

I have been thinking about rereading this series this year, but I haven't got there.

Becky said...

Ms. Yingling. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED Snowbound with Betsy as a kid. I haven't been able to find a copy as an adult so I could reread though.

Ms. Yingling said...

That's what interlibrary loan is for. Can 't tell you the number of books I've had to get from there after you've mentioned them!

Anonymous said...

One of my most favorite books EVER. Just finished rereading it, during this "long winter" we're having. The only problem is after I read it, I have to read "Little Town on the Prairie" and "These Happy Golden Years" too! :)


Suko said...

Stories about pioneers and survivors are truly terrific, and I adore this series as well! You're right, you experience the long winter along with the characters--although you fortunately might be wrapped in a blanket inside where it's warm.

Meredith said...

I know just what you mean! Once you reread one in the series you almost "have" to reread them all. Fortunately, no matter how many times through, they don't disappoint.

Meredith said...

So glad Suko told me you'd posted on this which I just reread last night. There is so much glory in their courage I feel I can face anything after turning the last page. Laura never leaves without adventure topped with hope. And, don't you love all the subtle Christian references?!