Laura Ingalls is ruining my life

Shelley Tougas

Book - 2017

Charlotte struggles to adjust when her mother moves the family to Walnut Grove, Minnesota, the small, boring town where pioneer author Laura Ingalls Wilder grew up, in hopes of finding inspiration for her writing career.

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Subjects
Published
New York : Roaring Brook Press 2017.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
296 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9781626724181
1626724180
Main Author
Shelley Tougas (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Charlotte Lake, 12; her twin brother, Freddy; and her 11-year-old (and annoyingly optimistic) half-sister Rose know all about living on a shoestring. Their mother, a fledgling writer, feels called by the spirit of Laura Ingalls to move the family to Walnut Grove, Minnesota, so she can write a novel set on the prairie. To Charlotte, this move is one in a long series of moves, and she is tired of always being the new kid. Usually, Freddy is in solidarity with her, but this time, to her dismay, Freddy actually makes friends. Over time, Charlotte lets down her guard and warms up to her classmates until she is accused of vandalism and feels all alone again. Charlotte is the first-person narrator, with a lively wit, and most of the time, her narration is funny and on point. The other characters hold their own in the story, and the narrative itself is solid and appealing as Charlotte's narrow life expands to become more inclusive, and she makes herself at home. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Twelve-year-old Charlotte's mother is looking for inspiration to write a pioneer novel for children (and to avoid a debt collector), so she abruptly moves the Lake family from Lexington, Ky., to Walnut Grove, Minn., where Laura Ingalls Wilder spent part of her childhood. This doesn't surprise Charlotte, since they're always moving from place to place, but she and her siblings aren't excited about leaving Lexington to face bitterly cold weather and small-town life. Charlotte is determined not to become attached to anything or anyone in Walnut Grove, but after she gets coerced into volunteering at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum, she's increasingly drawn to the town's history and to a classmate who could be a friend. In a novel about uncomfortable new beginnings and changing attitudes, Tougas (A Patron Saint for Junior Bridesmaids) pays tribute to Wilder and the harsh landscape she knew while delineating a child's gradual assimilation into a tight-knit community. Readers need not be familiar with Wilder's pioneer books to commiserate with Charlotte as she endures social, physical, and emotional hardships, or to understand her longing to feel settled in one place. Ages 9–12. Agent: Susan Hawk, Upstart Crow Literary. (Oct.) Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 4–6—Moving is so routine for 12-year-old Charlotte that she can't keep all the places straight. Her writer mother uproots Charlotte and her siblings once again, this time moving them to Laura Ingalls Wilder's childhood home in Walnut Creek, MN, after her mother claims Wilder's spirit visited her in a dream. Charlotte's life is turned around in unforgettable ways in this sweetly funny book. Smart and observant, Charlotte is also quite pessimistic, unlike her unfailingly optimistic mom and 11-year-old half-sister Rose. Charlotte's closeness with her hearing-impaired, nearly silent twin brother Freddy dissolves after he overcomes his shyness and makes some friends. Charlotte's class is required to write an essay about Laura Ingalls Wilder and describe her influence on their life and community. The book's title is Charlotte's response. To avoid making friends during lunch, Charlotte lies that she cheated on her essay, receives private tutoring from a caring teacher, and is made to work in the Wilder museum with Julia, the essay winner. When the museum is vandalized, Charlotte is blamed. Readers will relate to Charlotte's wariness of making friends, tendency to make snap judgements, and impulsiveness. VERDICT This sharp and quirky story winningly portrays a girl who, in finding herself, finds family, friends, and a place to belong.—Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey State Library, Trenton Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

When her fangirl mother relocates the family to the childhood town of Laura Ingalls Wilder, a reluctant Charlotte is frustrated by the region's cold winters and small-community activities before discovering her own fascination with the famed author's life and writings. By the author of The Graham Cracker Plot. Simultaneous eBook.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A life on the prairie is not all its cracked up to be for one girl whose mom takes her love of the Little House series just a bit too far.Charlotte’s mom has just moved the family across the country to live in Walnut Grove, “childhood home of pioneer author Laura Ingalls Wilder.” Mom’s idea is that the spirit of Laura Ingalls will help her write a bestselling book. But Charlotte knows better: Walnut Grove is just another town where Mom can avoid responsibility. And this place is worse than everywhere else the family has lived—it’s freezing in the winter, it’s small with nothing to do, and the people talk about Laura Ingalls all the time. Charlotte’s convinced her family will not be able to make a life on the prairie—until the spirit of Laura Ingalls starts getting to her, too.