Earlier this summer I made it my goal to re-read all of the Little House books and with this entry, my dear readers, I met that challenge. The First Four Years, as you may expect chronicles the first four years of Laura’s life as a young married woman on the prairie. It is a book that was not in the original Little House series but a rough manuscript found long after Laura and her daughter Rose’ deaths and published so as not to deny Little House fans additional material about their favorite character. To put it in today’s terms, it would be like finding Harry Potter notes from JK Rowling and publishing them as Book 8. Or kind of like Go Set a Watchman…but that’s another story for another time.
There are a number of incidents in this book that will ring familiar for fans of the TV series. If you remember an episode called “Days of Sunshine/Days of Shadow” everything imaginable happens to the Wilders in this two-hour epic. They over extend themselves financially, Almanzo has a stroke, Laura gives birth, they lose their home, there is a hail storm that causes the crops to fail, etc…(Melissa Gilbert often said this episode should have been called “Go get Doc Baker.”) This book also has a mention about the birth of Laura and Almanzo’s nameless son but that is a different episode of the show of course. Ultimately the book is a hodge-podge of episodes that might have eventually become a full-length book (or several books) but I can only imagine how that might have seemed like a treat for a mega fan when it first came out all those years ago.
Now, I suggested that I may have a surprise for you all when I finished reading the Little House series and I am pleased to tell you that I do. A few weeks into this, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dean Butler (Almanzo Wilder from the TV series) and I will be bringing you some of our chat as a special blog post. I don’t want to give everything away but I can tell you that he told me he could tell I was a big fan of the show and how much those fans meant to the cast. He even said how much it would mean to Michael Landon, which was the BIGGEST thrill. So anyway…stay tuned to this blog and I will bring you the excerpt from my conversation with Dean Butler very soon!
Until next time, keep reading!