My Life as Laura: How I Searched for Laura Ingalls Wilder and Found Myselfby Kelly Kathleen Ferguson
Kelly Kathleen Ferguson needed to know-was connecting with her lifelong heroine the key to knowing herself? She decided to find out. Kelly donned a prairie dress and retraced the pioneer journey of Laura Ingalls Wilder. From Wisconsin to Minnesota, South Dakota to Missouri, she explored Laura's past and her own. Part travelogue, part memoir and part social commentary, My Life as Laura shows how a relationship with a pioneer girl who lived in little houses long ago can give a sense of purpose for today. Judy Blunt, author of the national best seller Breaking Clean, says My Life as Laura is "Hilarious, perceptive and true, a homespun story as genuine as the ones that inspired it."
- Press 53
- Publication date:
- Sales rank:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.46(d)
- Age Range:
- 12 Years
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I thought the author would do more than just drive around the country in an ugly prairie style dress. It was somewhat witty at points but. I was a little disappointed. Just not what I expected.
The cover of My Life as Laura is striking. It features the author, Kelly Kathleen Ferguson, wearing her prairie dress and a smile, to show her dedication to Laura Ingalls Wilder. Yet, what may not be so obvious at first glance is the author's lifelong passion for all things Laura. Ferguson's about the author photo is more telling. The picture is of a young girl in her yearly elementary school photo, but, unlike the usual school photos, Ferguson smiles down in delight as she reads These Happy Golden Years. In her writing, she describes the story behind this photo in a way that would make any book lover grin. Ferguson's childhood love for Laura is absolutely individual, while completely relatable. She recounts her allegiance to Laura at a young age, as well as her return to the books as an adult. Restless in her own life, Ferguson dons a thrift shop dress and begins to travel across the country, following in the footsteps of her hero Laura. At times Ferguson treks across the plains with Laura's brave demeanor, while at other times she feels the draw of modern distractions and concerns, like the embarrassment of being seen in the dress and the cocaine-like draw of the television show Law and Order. I was constantly reminded of my own favorite moments from the Laura Ingalls Wilder books: the building of the little house, wolves circling at night, Laura finding beads on the ground, and a neighbor's dangerous trek through the snow to deliver Christmas presents. For a Laura lover, moments like these are too numerous to count. Ferguson adds new Laura stories, describing what Laura locations look and feel like today. Even for those who are not die hard Laura fans, Ferguson's journey to find direction would be hard to resist. The writing here is honest and witty, divulging character flaws and apprehensions. Overall, the solitary journey helps Ferguson to connect with Laura, as well as reevaluate her connections with everyone from casual acquaintances, to a love interest, to family, and to friends. Ferguson simply shows that she's got character, just like Laura.
As a book nerd and a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan, of course I was going to be drawn to this book. As the author visits Wilder's various home sites across the west, her high regard for Wilder and her books is both expected and evident on every page. But what really impressed me is how she was able to weave this well-loved story of a pioneer girl's coming of age into her own story as a Gen-X feminist, over-educated and under-employed a century later. Her tale of a childhood longing for purpose and an adulthood overwhelmed by angst and indecision resonates against the backdrop of her plucky childhood hero. Ferguson is an insightful cultural commentator who makes the landscape of her travels come alive with both warmth and wicked humor.
A great book road-trip book that's actually about how a woman--cool, rock-and-rolly, bitingly funny, philosophical, and somewhat adrift--tries to journey back toward the kind of bald sincerity she'd encountered as a child reading Laura Ingalls Wilder. Breezy, funny, surprisingly touching.