Date(s) read: January 11, 2012
Genre: YA Contemporary
Challenge: 2012 Support Your Local Library Challenge
Gen’s family is more comfortable spending time apart than together. Then Gen’s mom signs them up for Camp Frontier—a vacation that promises the “thrill” of living like 1890s pioneers. Forced to give up all of her modern possessions, Gen nevertheless manages to email her friends back home about life at “Little Hell on the Prairie,” as she’s renamed the camp. It turns out frontier life isn’t without its good points—like the cute boy who lives in the next clearing. And when her friends turn her emails into a blog, Gen is happily surprised by the fanbase that springs up. But just when it seems Gen and family might pull through the summer, disaster strikes as a TV crew descends on the camp, intent on discovering the girl behind the nationwide blogging sensation—and perhaps ruining the best vacation Gen has ever had.
I love a simple lifestyle. Making your own butter, keeping chickens for eggs, milking cows, living on the land, and spending evenings with the family playing games or talking instead of watching TV.
Of course, while I enjoy this life, I don’t do it. Sure, I try to be simple in certain things, but I’m not about to abandon everything and live off the land. No matter how freeing it might be.
In Cathleen Davitt Bell’s teen novel, Little Blog on the Prairie, Gen’s family–well, her mom, to be exact–decides that what they need is a bout of the simple life, so she takes the whole family away for the summer to Camp Frontier where they live the simple life, like they did in the year 1890. Now, this might be an easy task for some, but with two adults and two teenagers, not to mention three other families? Families that rely on technology and diet Coke to get by?
Well, now that’s just crazy.
I simply adored this book. I loved how Bell was educational in her writing, yet the story still flowed like it should–like a story. It wasn’t just a story about kids going crazy without technology, but a story about them actually learning something while on vacation, making friends the old-fashioned way, and helping out when you know it’s the right thing to do.
The writing was simple and the story was engaging. I found myself laughing out loud at Gen’s comments and wondering just how this group of people would get by without their cell phones, computers, and grocery store conveniences. While there was intrigue in everything they had to give up, I found myself fascinated with everything they had to learn.
While there were life lessons to be learned when it came to the simple, daily tasks required to get by while living on a farm, there were also life lessons when it come to making friends and also with blogging etiquette. This book is a good way to teach teens that while the internet may be a convenient way of communication, everything they may put out there stays out there. Information can be hurtful or harmful, depending on what’s put out there and at whom it’s aimed.
Full of humour and wisdom, I can only hope that Bell’s next works are just as wonderful. If you’ve ever found yourself longing to go back to an easier time where life was simple, or wondering what it might be like to give up all of the wonderful technology we have nowadays, Little Blog on the Prairie is for you. It’s a light, refreshing read.
© 2012, Reading In Winter. All rights reserved.