Saturday, October 04, 2008

Laddie By Gene Stratton Porter

There was some talk a while back about children's literature. If you don't know Gene Stratton Porter you have much delight ahead from reading her books. I must warn you that there is an odd one among them, Daughter of the Land, with some racist attitudes we wouldn't print today.

But please do not let this rob you of the experience of reading her other books. Laddie is by far the best in my opinion with a lively family of 10 children, in a strong Christian family, a mother who trusts God and a father who leads the prayer meeting. Told through the eyes of the youngest girl, little sister, it is humourous and delightful. She follows the romantic adventures of her older siblings, especially her older brother Laddie. The book has everything in it from godly Christian parents and a Bible thumping church, true Christian love, tender romance, and how to deal with the secret shame of spousal abuse.

It is entirely suitable to read aloud to the youngest child and will be reread often by anyone who has read it once. It is full of references to good literature, Bible passages, hymns and songs. Here is an example of the songs this family might be singing at any time,

"I think when I read that sweet story of old,
When Jesus was here among men
How He called little children as lambs to His fold,
I should like to have been with Him then."

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"They wrapped him in his uniform,
They laid him in the tomb,
My aching heart I thought 'twould break,
But such was my sad doom."

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"Open the door of thy heart,
And open thy chamber door,
And my kisses shall teach thy lips
The love that shall fade no more
Till the sun grows cold,
And the Stars are old,
And the leaves of the Judgment
Book unfold!"

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"A life on the ocean wave,
A home on the rolling deep,
Where codfish waggle their tails
'Mid tadpoles two feet deep."

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"Come ye that love the Lord,
And let your joys be known,
Join in a song of sweet accord,
And thus surround the throne."

Hilarious humour, hot love, tenderness and piety all rolled into one.

Gene Stratton Porter is better known for Freckles and Girl of the Limberlost, but I love Laddie as well as the Harvester. It is books like these that help people to not be afraid to express their emotions.

2 comments:

eclexia said...

Suzanne, I followed your link right to the book and thoroughly enjoyed myself the whole way through the first chapter. It's hard for me to read books online, so I think I'm heading over to Amazon to see if I can find a reasonably priced copy to read with my children.

About an hour ago, I was reading a book on South Africa's history, and the roots behind each of the strands of militant nationalism. The book was written in 1986, so of course, much of South Africa's history has changed dramatically since then. The author writes in a way that seeks to really understand the depth of real and justified intense emotion on each side, even while his heart cry is somehow for people to connect and love each other across racial and nationalistic lines.

Princess' speech in chapter 1 sweetly filled out some of my thoughts and feelings, stirred initially by what I was reading on South Africa. Thank you for reviewing this book and pointing us to it here on your blog. I look forward to enjoying the whole thing with my children.

(P.S. I saw where the website you linked to invites people to submit an introduction to the book. Your post here would be a great introduction, in my opinion).

Singing Owl said...

I remember I read the book "Freckles" about a dozen times. I'll have to give this one a look when I have a bit of time for fun reading. I used to read constantly, some for sermons, some of general education, some for escape, some for fun...and for the last year have found it difficult. I don't understand and don't like it! Things are bound to go back to normal for me eventually....right?
;-)