2019 has not been my favorite book year so far. I’ve been snagging new books through the Amazon first reads program and flipping through a lot of different genres and authors. Some, like The Storyteller’s Secret have been absolutely amazing, others like Rock Needs River have been disappointing. Caroline: Little House, Revisited goes into the disappointing pile. The premise of the story is absolutely irresistible for Little House lovers like me. Caroline takes on the Little House epic through the eyes of Laura’s mother, Caroline Ingalls.
Unfortunately, Caroline is one book I’m giving up on. Miller’s writing is downright boring. She drowns the story in a flood of words and endless descriptions that add nothing to the story but definitely take away from it. There were too many times I had to go back and re-read a paragraph just to figure out what started the endless paragraph in the first place. Miller spends a lot of time on the mundane tasks and unnecessary detail. There were whole paragraphs dedicated to pregnancy nausea, sore breasts after a day jiggling during the wagon ride, Laura and Mary needing to use the “necessary” before bed, someone always needing a chamber pot. At the 30% mark, I decided to give up reading Caroline because the book was only about 4 days into their trip and I just couldn’t imagine following this boring tale through another day.
Miller also includes a lot of historical details that aren’t well known and create odd juxtapositions like a “corduroy bridge” and then fails to provide any context clues to help readers figure out what she’s talking about. Apparently, corduroy bridges are a thing, but unless you’re well versed in early 19th century road history, you’re going to struggle with how a fabric type relates to a bridge.
Boring superfluous writing aside, the worst sin in my opinion is how Miller has taken our beloved Ma, as written by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and depicted her as a boring, insecure, whiny, hyper-Puritan type who dwells on the negative. In one story, Charles (or Pa as we know him) is teasing and flirting with Ma, to which she responds by hiding her braid so Charles can’t get worked up. This was just so absolutely bizarre. Ma, as written by Miller, comes across an angsty emo and it ruins the entire dynamic Laura created of Pa as the wild frontiersman and Ma as his ever ready and capable partner.
Miller has taken the fun and adventure out of the Little House stories. 0 stars.
Until next time, happy reading!