Book Review: From the Mouth of Ma by Robynne Elizabeth Miller
One chapter at a time, author Robynne Elizabeth Miller seeks to learn more about Caroline Quiner Ingalls--Ma from the Little House books.
In From the Mouth of Ma, Miller indicates that readers didn't get a chance to know Caroline Ingalls very well. Much of the close relationship Laura Ingalls Wilder had with her Pa (Charles) is written into the pages of her Little House series, but Ma remained a bit elusive.
Each chapter--except the first two, which are dedicated to outlining the purpose of the book and providing a bit of background on Caroline Quiner Ingalls--shares a little piece of Ma with readers: how practical and traditional Ma was in her daily life, her matter-of-fact opinions, how she valued honesty and forthrightness, what a devout Christian she was, how pragmatic she was while holding onto a dose of optimism, and more.
Miller discusses some things that bothered her about Ma from the Little House books--like her seeming lack of compassion for her children after the prairie fire that threatened their home in Kansas. She also dives into the many platitudes that Ma's character used in the books to help her--and readers-- understand more about who Ma was.
We end up with a well-rounded portrait of Ma with her unwavering love and devotion to her family and her desire to teach her children important and valuable lessons. Caroline Quiner Ingalls did not live an easy life out on the prairie, but as the author states, she navigated through it with grace and strength. For me, this book served to grow my admiration for a woman who embodied those characteristics and a pioneering spirit that helped create the country we know today.