Wednesday, October 12, 2016

On the Way Home by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder Lane

On the Way Home
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Published 1962
Little House RAL

This book is 120 pages short.  It is the diary of the 650-mile journey that Manny, Laura and Rose (7-years old) made from DeSmet, South Dakota, beginning on July 17, 1894, to their arrival at Mansfield, Missouri, on August 30, 1894.  Laura wrote her entries in a little notebook, and Rose -later, as an adult - added the setting before they left DeSmet and filled in the details of what happened after they arrived at Mansfield.  

Farms were devastated by seven years of drought back in DeSmet, and Manny and Laura lost everything.  They decided to move their little family to the land of the Big Red Apple, which I thought was New York City, but that is the Big Apple; Missouri is the Big Red Apple.  They worked at odd jobs and saved all their money until they had $100.  Then they packed up what they had and left with another family, in covered wagons.  

Laura wrote every day but one, keeping record of what she saw and who they met along the way. They passed through Nebraska and Kansas, of which Laura had not much good to say about the land.  It suffered from the drought, and it was rocky and dusty.  However, the people leaving Missouri that they met and talked to did not always have positive things to say about that state either.  

Nonetheless, when they arrived in Missouri, Laura seemed very pleased with Mansfield.  That is where her record ended and Rose continued.  The family remained in a camp until Manny and Laura could find land to purchase with their $100 bill.  When they found the perfect place, they were overjoyed, until something awful happened (again, I won't say), as Rose relives the nightmare.   But it only curtailed their plans a short time, and eventually they bought the farm.  Yay!

This was Rocky Ridge, the place they made their home.

Rocky Ridge Farm today
What I liked at all about this book is Rose's voice.  I thought she seemed a little bratty and sarcastic describing her childhood experience, but I get the feeling she was a lot like her mother: independent, feisty, and mature beyond her years.  I also love how she illustrated Laura - in her beauty, in her joyful moments, and in her disappointments, as well.  It is a lovely perspective.  Maybe I would like to read more from Rose Wilder Lane, someday.  : )


  1. I've read "Let the Hurricane Roar" by Rose Wilder Lane. It was pretty good. Lacks the Laura charm. :)

    1. Mine is Young Pioneers, which is a reissue of Let the Hurricane Roar. But I think I would really love to read her non-fiction by Rose.

    2. Ugh, remove "her." I don't know why Blogger doesn't have an edit button. That would be so nice.