What a surprise, my friend Willa Cather finds a way to show up on the blog, even in LOST book club month! "O Pioneers!" is the first book of a trilogy, the last book is My Antonia . It's a similar setting and feel but it's not like you are following the same people, they can very easily be read by themselves as stand alones. This book is apparently on a few banned books list though I have no idea why (oh yes, because people who ban books have a tendency to be ridiculous, that's why).
The main focus of the book is the Bergson family. They (of course) live on the prairies of Nebraska, and it's not a good time on the prairie. Several years of poor farming are forcing a lot of people to give up their farms and leave. The father of the Bergson family dies and they find themselves at a crossroads. Do they pack it in now like so many of their friends (including the Linstroms, who come up again later) or do they continue to try to squeak by? The daughter, Alexandra insists that they stay, and that they even mortgage their own farm to buy up the land that people are selling. Her brothers and her mother (somewhat surprisingly) listen to her and they stay. It was a good choice!
16 years later the farm is a booming success. Though of course, as we know, a booming success does not mean personal happiness. Alexandra hasn't married, her main concern being the well being of the farm and her two brothers. The one man that she likes, Carl Linstrom, gets run off by her petty brothers. And she keeps having weird dreams about death. Which there are a fair amount of deaths in this book, some natural some not.
This book has ruptured appendixes, people shot in a jealous rage, the proper care and feeding of hogs, failed gold prospecting and more! I was trying to decide if I liked this book more or less than Antonia. I liked that it focused on a wider range of people. I disliked Alexandra's dumb brothers. But sometimes Antonia was really obnoxious. I liked the Cather writing style in each. So I guess I like them both the same! 3 out of 5 stars!
What does this have to do with LOST?: Well, there's a love triangle. And also people felt pretty isolated out on the prairie, I'm sure it felt like a deserted island at times!