Tuesday, August 23, 2011
By the Shores of Silver Lake, Laura Ingalls Wilder
Title: By the Shores of Silver Lake
Author: Laura Ingalls Wilder
Genre: Fiction, YA
Source: My bookshelf!
What you'll love: Mr. and Mrs. Boast.
What will bug you: Pa trying to explain how "payday" works to the workers.
It occurs to me that my posts on this series have been chock-full of spoilers. Probably should have warned you... so sorry! Consider this your warning. :)
This book always felt a little dangerous to me. At first it's because Laura and her family are living so close to where the railroad men are working - they're rough and you can tell that Ma's worried about them being too close. Then when they move to the surveyor's house, it's a very isolated situation (which has been the case in the past, but this seems to be more isolated for some reason). People come to their house during the spring rush - strangers in the house and the girls have to secure their door shut. At the end there's a murder in town with the claim jumpers. Definitely different than the other books.
I loved the Boasts! They seem like great people, good neighbors, and good to the girls. What more could you ask for? I'm glad they were able to come stay with the Ingalls' for awhile that winter.
I found myself so irritated reading about Pa trying to explain to the works about payday. Of course the exchange of funds takes time, so through my trusty 21st century lens it makes total sense that you will be paid for a two week period, and not up through that day! It's the first experience these men have had working for a business - prior to this they were working for individuals who were paying out of pocket and up-to-the-minute.
How have I not mentioned Mary's eyes yet? I remember reading this as a kid and really being nervous that this would happen to me. I don't really understand it now - scarlet fever settling in your eyes? Is this a real thing? Anyone? If something this tragic had to happen to one of the Ingalls girls, Mary is certainly the right choice. She's so patient and hard working, and willing to sit and work. I'm not surprised in the slightest that she is able to sew, etc. just as beautifully blind. I didn't identify with her much as a kid, but reading these books now, I can appreciate how Mary takes things in stride and is patient and loving.
Loving this series!