Farmer Boy is the one Little House book that doesn’t seem like it should BE a Little House book because…when you think about it…it’s not. It’s the second book of the series and yet, goes out in left field to tell the story of Almanzo’s upbringing in New York, a lifestyle far more comfortable than Laura’s was in the Big Woods or on the prairie. Almanzo’s family is for all intents and purposes an affluent bunch and as I read through the subsequent books of the series, I am a little confused as to how they went from living pretty well in Burke, New York to making their life out in DeSmet where Almanzo met and married Laura.
Of course chronological representation is not the point of the book and I suspect that when she wrote Farmer Boy, Laura wasn’t thinking of her stories as a series quite yet. If Little House in the Big Woods was written from a little girl’s perspective, then Farmer Boy was written from a boy’s. This makes sense to me as a writer and as a reader. As a historian…not so much. However, I do feel that this is the point of the Little House books. They are designed to illustrate a historical period, but they are not designed to be a history lesson.
I liked Farmer Boy a lot, even though I am a girl. It was neat to see how a well functioning farm ran in those days and I admit I love the romantic way Laura writes about Almanzo’s rearing. It’s all so warm and cozy. There are no flies buzzing around the food in the hot summer. There is plenty to eat. Money to take care of the expenses, and there is not quite the hardship that the Ingalls family will endure in future titles. Somehow though, I don’t think life was all that rosy and if I were to go back in time, I might not look at the period as fondly as Laura does. Still, I highly recommend the book and think it is a great story for readers of all genders and generations.
By the Way, Little House On The Prairie Season 6 re-release in Blu Ray happens on July 14! This is the season where Laura Meets Amanzo for the first time!