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4.1 out of 5 stars15
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 10 October 2000
For all readers of the little house books, the first four years is the continuation of 'These Happy Golden Years'. Written in a shorter, more concise style than the other books (due to almanzo's death a few years before), the essence of laura's spirit is still clear within the pages of the first four years. It tells of the struggle in the first years of laura and almanzo's early married life, the troubles with the farm, weather destruction of crops, but above all else, the love shared between the two.
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on 27 September 2000
A moving and touching story about the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder now that she is an adult. Characters include Laura's husband Almanzo and their baby daughter Rose. Finding it a constant struggle as her parents before her, Laura and Almanzo strive to do their best for their little girl. It really is a wonderful story I couldn't put it down. Fans of Laura and her life will enjoy every moment of the little house series including the last and final book the first four years.
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"The First Four Years" describes Laura and Almanzo Wilder's wedding and first years of marriage on a Dakota farm in the 1880s. Laura first tells Almanzo that she will never marry a farmer because the life is so hard and offers little financial security, so he makes a deal with her: They will try farming for three years and if it doesn't work out, he'll get a job in town. She agrees, and they begin their life together.

The manuscript for this book was found after Laura's death in 1957. It is very different from her previous Little House books in that there is neither dialogue nor emotion; rather, it is a dispassionate list of events. A lot happens to the Wilders during their first four years including the birth of their daughter, disastrous weather and constant debt, serious illnesses, and a death in the family. Yet never once does Laura describe any emotional reaction to these events; she faces both good and bad times with equal stoicism. Although the book is short, it seemed to drag because it was so dry and repetitive; we get endless descriptions of prairie weather, the condition of their livestock, and their financial troubles, all told by a detached observer. I learned about living conditions at the time, but found it lacked the charm and energy of earlier books.
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on 1 March 2015
Coming from the other ‘Little House’ volumes to this posthumously issued Ingalls Wilder book, I admit to deep disappointment.

Gone are the lively dialogues, the in-depth accounts of memorable happenings (like the visit of the two Indians in Little House on the Prairie, or the spelling bee in Little Town on the Prairie), as well as all the details that make the other books ‘real’.

Here, dialogue is wooden, and events follow one after the other with little reflection or insight. Laura herself emerges only because we know her from the other books; Almanzo/Manly remains a distant figure…. In other words, this is just what the introduction explains it to be: a totally unretouched, unrevised book edition of pencilled notes found, after the author’s death, in a school copybook.

No, I won’t enter into the academic controversy on the extent to which the various other books were heavily edited (if not written) by her daughter Rose, who had impressive literary and other careers – but the fact remains: these are basically unrevised, unedited sketches that never got the final touches that make the other books so memorable this day today.

Am I being petty? I hope not. But there are several scenes here that cry for the deep, lively presentation we find in the other books – like the time a group of Indians comes to the house when Laura is alone; or the episode – mentioned almost in passing – when the Boast family (whom we know from before) hesitatingly suggest that they could take care of Rosa, since they can’t have children themselves, whereas Laura and Almanzo can have others….

Not all posthumously discovered manuscripts have to be published. Sometime it is a better tribute to the memory of the author to let them rest in peace in their cupboards.
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on 15 March 2014
A very adult looking book arrived with a completely different cover than the one advertised. My daughter has been collecting all the Laura Ingalls books and absolutely loves them but was very disappointed with the look of this book. It would have been great if the one I got had looked like the one I supposedly bought, as although the price was amazing and it arrived fairly quickly, I will have to purchase another one anyway...
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on 20 November 2012
Bought the Little House series as a reminder because I remembered reading some of the books as a child and wanted to read them in order. Story was as I remembered and although written in a simplistic style actually stood up well to modern books. I enjoyed revisiting the stories, recommended if you read the stories as a child and wanted to refresh your memory or if you wanted to share them with a child. I don't know if they are available on Kindle but it would be nice if they were as they perhaps would reach a new larger audience. There are elements of the stories that I recognised from the TV series but I don't think the TV series is faithful to the story more perhaps inspired by it. I did find the real life story of the family quite sad in parts when I looked up further information as I was reading the stories.
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on 5 August 2015
This book was in a much better condition that I had anticipates. I already had all the other books in the series and this one was not a disappointment. The style is slightly different to the other books, and its not quite as polished but still a good read.
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on 15 February 2014
Have bought these series of books as I love the TV series, and they have been a fantastic read - a real insight to the way these people lived and the hardships they endured in the late 19th century..great reading for young and old alike.
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on 29 June 2013
Possibly my least favourite of the series but should be included to make the set complete. Relatively short book and tells of a particularly tough few years when Laura was first married. A few happier interludes lightens it a bit!
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on 11 April 2009
very good read nice to find out how laura gets on with her life as amarried woman will treasure these for my girls to read when they are older
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