Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder

1351703Fiction — print. Scholastic, 1953. Originally published 1933. 372 pgs. Purchased.

The back cover of this book says that this is the story of Almanzo Wilder, future husband of Laura, as a little boy living on a big farm in New York State while Laura Ingalls grows up in a little house on the western prairie. That claim is not entirely true — the book is set in 1866 – 1867, the year before the birth of Laura and long before she and her family move from Wisconsin to the prairie.

Although this book was published as the second book, it’s typically read as the third book in the series. It stands out from the rest of the series because we don’t meet Almanzo again until the second to last book in this nine-part series. Call it an interlude; call it an interruption. The first time I read the book I fell into the second camp, but upon my umpteenth reread I think I fall into the first camp.

I’ve come to expect and look forward to this interlude because, unlike many people, this was always one of my favorite books in the series. I love Almanzo’s quiet determination, and the stories shared here illuminate how Almanzo became the man and husband he was. The respect and admiration he shows to his parents coupled with his work ethic (waking up at 5 am and working before and after school at the age of eight!) are much to be admired.

However, this is not the book to read while driving across the state for surgery. Not thing major; just had my wisdom teeth removed. But I wasn’t allowed to eat anything after midnight the night before my surgery and all the descriptions of food were just torturous.

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