Laura Ingalls Is Ruining My Life

Laura Ingalls Is Ruining My Life

Book - 2017 | First edition
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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.
Publisher: New York : Roaring Brook Press, 2017
Edition: First edition
Branch Call Number: FICTION TOU
Characteristics: 296 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN: 9781626724181


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“Laura Ingalls Is Ruining My Life” by Shelley Tougas is a book that immediately catches
the reader’s attention. Why would a novel be named “Laura Ingalls Is Ruining My Life”?
How would Laura Ingalls ruin a person’s life when she is dead? These questions prompt
those who know the Little House series to pick up the book and begin to read.
The reader is pulled into a situation where a family of twins, a stepsister, and a mom are
moving to Walnut Grove because their mom wants to receive “Laura Ingalls’ spirit” as she
writes her bestseller novel. The protagonist, Charlotte hates the fact that her family is
moving. She also hates that her once inseparable twin brother Fred is making friends at the
new school while she spends lunch in the classroom with her teacher. Plot wise, “Laura
Ingalls Is Ruining My Life” is all about Charlotte’s journey in unravelling herself from a
cocoon and becoming a butterfly. This is a great theme, but then it is also a theme that is
inherent in almost every single modern tween book. However, there are unexpected
character and plot twists that makes the reader engaged, such as Charlotte becoming more
positive and finding true friends.
Where does Laura Ingalls Wilder come in? Tougas parallels many aspects that happens
within the Little House characters to hers - an example being families in both books
keeping a dog named Jack. She also offers a critical eye to Laura Ingall’s writing, pointing
out her bias towards Natives. Most importantly, “Laura Ingalls’ spirit” is inherent in her
characters in a sense that they all harbour the need to literally move to west or figuratively
move out of their comfort zone. Tougas does Wilder’s work justice, and “Laura Ingalls Is
Ruining My Life” is also a good book. However, the novel does not resonate with the
universal preteen audience.
Those who do not know Laura Ingalls may not pick up “Laura Ingalls Is Ruining My Life"
to read it. Writing a book about another book might not have been the best thing to do,
because it hinders one from creating a wider scope of audience with one’s own style and
uniqueness. In conclusion, I would give this book 3.5 stars in rating. One for the unexpected
character and plot twists, two for doing offering the critical eye to Wilder’s work, three for
writing a book that is 300 pages long, and a half for the catchy title. The book is certainly an
interesting read, and those who have read the Little House series will like it. The only catch
with “Laura Ingalls Is Ruining My Life” is that it is not very different from other tween
novels. It lacks originality.
(Reviewed by Christina P. for the CloverdaleTeenBookReviewProject)

Mar 25, 2018

Charlotte Lake is blaming all the current upheavals in her life on Laura Ingalls. After all, if her mother had not been inspired to write a book about a pioneer girl then they would not be moving to Walnut Grove.
This is a great book for middle grade girls and boys who loved the Little House series. It critically examines some of the national issues that were occurring during Westward Expansion like Indian resettlement, Chinese migrant workers, railroads, etc. Without pointing fingers, the book shows the reader the facts about history alongside the story of Laura Ingalls. It also shows the train wreck that occurs when you heap lie upon lie. A cautionary tale and worth reading.


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Oct 30, 2017

blue_dolphin_7071 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 8 and 99


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