I'm really not lying when I say that this book made me laugh and cry. I started this book before moving and between putting things away and cleaning, I didn't have much time to pick it up. I started it in earnest yesterday and read almost straight through. (Why can I not be moderate in my reading?) Last night, I was hiding my face in the couch pillows and giggling like a little girl, and this morning, I was distressing Lillian to an extreme degree with all my crying.
The book is a fictional diary of a woman named Sarah Agnes Prine whose family moves to Tucson in the 1880's. The fact that I live in Tucson didn't really influence my love for this book, if you were wondering, although it was interesting to have heard of the places that they visit and talk about.
Her diary chronicles her late teens through her twenties, her courting and marriage, and her struggles with small children. This is probably why I like it so much. There's a scene much like the one in Little Women where she's had a heck of a time with her toddler and baby and is standing covered in vomit with two screaming kids trying to cook and clean up a broken jar all at the same time when her husband comes home with company and asks for a haircut. She simply takes off her apron and announces she is going to bed. This scene has played out in my home as well.
Oh, I loved this book.
Another part I thought was wonderful, (maybe read this after you read to book if you don't want me to give too much away) was when after she has a few kids and she sees her brother go off to college and she is beset upon by a longing and a sadness. She feels sort of shackled to her children and home and is conflicted about wanting a bigger life and attend college too and wanting to be a mother to her children. A Yavapai Indian that she's friends with tells her wisdom is not a journey, it is a tree. She can grow up and out in many directions and there are many more ways to increase in intelligence than can be studied in a classroom.
I have never felt closer to a fictional character before. And, I realize it is fiction, but I just love that even though I've never had to shoot anybody to protect my family, or carry my belongings in a covered wagon, or watch my close family members die, I am a mother and that has been the same forever. The struggles I have with my kids not sleeping or crying or driving me crazy or the worries I have over them or how much I love them are the same with every mother from the beginning of time.