On the Way Home
The Diary of a Trip from South Dakota to Mansfield, Missouri, in 1894
written by Laura Ingalls Wilder & Rose Wilder Lane
120 pages // published in 1962 // historical non-fiction
What many people may not realize is that after you finish reading all 9 of Laura Ingalls Wilder's 'Little House' books, her story still continues. 'On the Way Home' was published posthumously, with help from Laura's daughter, Rose. It was originally written in 1894 on the trail, published decades later in 1962.
Laura kept this diary when she and Almanzo decided to move from South Dakota to Missouri, where they started an apple tree farm. So much good information and background is brought to light. I liked learning the fine details of their life at the time -- for example, Laura would always write down certain bits, like the time they started out each morning, and often a daily temperature. (I thought it was neat that they had a thermometer on their wagon!) They picked up a dog along the way and named it Fido. (I did have higher hopes that Laura's writer-imagination could have prompted another name, but anyways...) Plus, there's the rather interesting story of the $100 bill tucked away in the desk -- but you can find out all about that when you read it.
About half of 'On the Way Home' is Laura's diary notes -- the rest is written by Rose with supplementary information. Included are many photographs taken around the same time as the Wilder's drive to Missouri; I loved all the photographs as it really helped to "set the scene".
'On the Way Home' isn't written in the same style as the beloved 'Little House' books, but that is not to say it shouldn't be cherished too. This is an actual diary, not written in a children's story format. Overall, it is an enjoyable read, and doesn't take too long to get through either. Anyone can enjoy it, from age 9 to adult.
On the Way Home is available on Amazon in paperback format.
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