Little Town on the Prairie

Every summer, on my first days of holiday, I read a Little House novel to decompress.


This year’s is Little Town in the Prairie, where Laura is fifteen and awkardly rebellious, while Nellie Oleson is particularly mean and Almanzo is sweet. It surprised me because when I was fifteen everyone insisted that the teenage years were a recent discover actually, while on the good old days respectful kids used to transition swiftly into serious, hard-working and well-adjusted young adults, with no romance whatsoever going on before marriage age. They used to say we could call ourselves lucky to be born into a world where teens don’t work and still they can complain all day. They nearly convinced me so I was teaching maths to earn myself the right to complain. Teaching maths is hard, but you’re paid good money, for maths is hard.

Well, I was told a lie, since Laura Ingalls Wilder apparently went through her teenage years fighting against awful teachers, being some sort of a tomboy, being obsessed with silly stationery, having a boyfriend, and still being able to teach maths all right, while her parents seem only mildly surprised in the face of it, so it was clearly all pretty normal even in the pioneer era.

Laura’s name card, a Victorian trend that somehow reached the West because we all love our silly stationery when we’re fifteen (as drawn by Garth Williams).