Saturday, November 5, 2011

Book Project: Laddie

My book project is alive and well! I am happy to report that I have finished my second book: Laddie, by Gene Stratton-Porter. It took me awhile because I read it in spurts
and bursts while reading other things at the same time, but nevertheless, I loved it! I highly recommend it to anyone
wanting to fill their souls with wholesome, georgic goodness.
It's got the warm-fuzzy feeling of Little Women with the
fascinating descriptive power of My Antonia. I learned so much
from the beautiful, captivating characters! Allow me to share
a few epiphanies I had. But first, a synopsis:

"Laddie is the story of Little Sister, the twelfth and youngest Stanton child, and her special relationship with her older brother Laddie, a paragon of virtue and intellectual and physical attainments. The story is about Little Sister, the "unwanted child" who becomes the joy of the Stanton family, and about the triumph of true love. Little Sister plays a key role in brining together the Princess--their mysterious neighbor, Pamela Pryor--and her beloved brother, Laddie. Love conquers all as the Pryors are revealed to be troubled but good people, and the Princess and her family are accepted by Laddie's proud but charitable family. Little Sister is finally recognized as a truly blessed child, a special gift to the Stantons."

(This synopsis was taken from the back of my book, which is the edition you see pictured above.)
I was surprised at how effortlessly this book captivated me. Not in a Hunger Games/Harry Potter way, but in a gentle way--the way one might be captivated watching a brook or a fire. I felt that I was bypassing thousands of deep, thought-provoking ideas and lessons, but I was so interested in what was going to happen on the next page, I didn't take much time to stop and think. Despite my eagerness to devour the plot, a few life-changing ideas leaped out at me from the page and would not let me pass until I had at least marked them.

At one point in the book, Little Sister becomes very sick with lung fever, setting the whole family at work to heal her. Her brother sent her a book of poetry, and in it she read a poem that stuck with her. It was something about the buttercups and daisies in the springtime. On page 239, she says:
"That piece helped me out of bed...It was funny about it too. I don't know why it worked on me that way; it just kept singing in my heart all day, and I could shut my eyes and go to sleep seeing buttercups in a gold sheet all over our Big Hill, although there never was a single one there; and the meadows full of daisies, which were things father said were a pest he couldn't tolerate, because they spread so, and he grubbed up every one he found...Between the buttercups and the daisies I lef the bed with a light head and wobbly legs...The person who wrote the piece was an idiot. It sang and sounded pretty, and it pulled you up and pushed you out, but really it was a fool thing, as I very well knew." She goes on to say on page 241: "There was nothing in the silly, untrue lines: the pull and tug was in what they made you think of."

That made me realize that we all need some sort of literature in our lives that makes us feel that way. We all need something--a favorite poem, book, painting or piece of music--that gets inside our souls so that we can hardly sit still until we do something that makes us feel alive!

At another part in the book, the family is traveling home from church. Mother has Father stop the carriage so she can look out and see where they first looked at their land and decided where to build their home. This is a family who has spent years laboring with all their might to beautify their land and make it a true Eden. Surveying the fruits of their labor, Mother exclaims, "The Home Feeling!...It is in my heart so big this morning I am filled with worship. Just filled with the spirit of worship." (pg. 278)

When I read this, I stopped to think for a minute. What does it take to create that "Home Feeling"? What does it take to create a home so beautiful, you sometimes have to step back, look at it with wonder, and say to yourself, "I created this?" What does it take to produce fruits so pure and good, you can't help but be "filled with the spirit of worship"? I'm not going to venture an answer just yet; I think it deserves pondering for awhile. I only know that, whatever it is, I want that "Home Feeling" for my family.

There are several things I could devote another couple thousand words to, but this post is already long enough. Suffice it to say, I love this book, I will be revisiting it many times in years to come, and I highly, glowingly recommend it!

1 comment:

  1. I was introduced to this book by a "highly effective" Zone Leader, who referenced it during a mission conference. Soon after I was at an LDS bookstore outside Washington D.C., clutching an audio book of "7 Habits", wishing I could buy it, but knowing full well that I could not on my very tight mission budget. I reluctantly returned it to the shelf and was heading out the door when a member stopped me and purchased the audio tapes she saw me holding. I was so surprised by the generous act, and appreciative of the gift, I hope to never forget it. What an inspiring book and exemplary author!