Her Story: Ladies In Literature with Jenny Bardsley

Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a special, month-long series on Pop! Goes The Reader in which we celebrate the literary female role models whose stories have inspired and empowered us since time immemorial. From Harriet M. Welsch to Anne Shirley, Becky Bloomwood to Hermione Granger, Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a series created for women, by women as thirty-nine authors answer the question: “Who’s your heroine?” You can find a complete list of the participants and their scheduled guest post dates Here!

About Jenny Bardsley

Jennifer Bardsley writes the parenting column “I Brake for Moms” for The Everett Daily Herald. Her debut YA novel, Genesis Girl will be published by Month9Books on June 14, 2016, with the sequel releasing in 2017. Genesis Girl is about a teenager who has never been on the Internet. Jennifer however, is on the web all the time as “The YA Gal” with over 19,800 followers on Facebook, and 12,600 followers on Instagram. On Facebook, she hosts the weekly instant book club called #TakeALookTuesday where YA Gal friends geek out, share pictures of what they are reading, and chat about books

Jennifer is a member of SCBWI, The Sweet Sixteens debut author group, and is founder of Sixteen To Read. An alumna of Stanford University, Jennifer lives near Seattle, WA where she enjoys spending time with her family and her poodle, Merlin.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramFacebookGoodreads

Give some credit to Rose Wilder Lane.

Canadian readers, please excuse me. I know your prairies are just as good as the ones we have in the United States. But when I was little there was only one prairie I cared about and it was the place Laura Ingalls Wilder’s family lived in her iconic Little House On The Prairie series.

Every time I read any of the Little House books I always came away with the feeling that the Ingalls were the ideal family. All they needed was each other. Add a cow and 160 acres, and they were entirely self-sufficient.

I must have read the series at least ten times. I thought I knew all about the Ingalls family, but I didn’t. I thought I knew why they succeeded and why they failed, but I was wrong. I didn’t even know who really crafted the books.

The Ghost In The Little House by William Holtz, claims that Laura’s daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, was the true genius behind the series. He points to primary source documents that show that Laura would write a pretty basic rough draft, and then Rose would heavily rewrite it for publication.

Shock! Gasp! Horror! The tween in me cried when I read Holtz’s book, but I couldn’t explain away the evidence. I wanted to believe that Laura was the one-and-only true author, but the more I learned about Rose, the clearer it became that it was probably a collaborative effort.

Rose Wilder Lane was a genius in her own right. Today with our modern IQ tests, we would probably identify Rose as highly gifted. As a child she suffered through incompetent teachers in a one-room school house. It’s no wonder that as an adult Rose hated the small town in Arkansas where she grew up.

An only child who was reared in poverty, Rose left the Ozarks as soon as possible. She carved out a fabulous life for herself and became famous in her own right. Rose traveled all over the world, wrote best sellers, championed orphans, and became the mother of the Libertarian party along with Ayn Rand. But there was one thing holding Rose back — her parents.

After a lifetime of hard work, Laura and Almanzo Wilder were close to destitute. All they had was their farm and a history of hardship. This was before President Franklin Delano Roosevelt introduced the American Social Security System. It was up to Rose to provide for her parents in retirement.

Rose resented the burden of taking care of her parents. She was bitter about the poverty she suffered as a child, and blamed her poor teeth on lack of proper nutrition when she was little. But she took her duty seriously, and that’s why she encouraged Laura to write up a juvenile fiction story based on her childhood. Rose saw book publishing as an easy way to make money, and hoped that if Laura was successful then the Wilder’s financial problems would be solved.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Kind of…

Rose’s political views had influence. That’s probably why major instances of the Ingalls family receiving government assistance were downplayed. The biggest example of this is in Little Town on the Prairie. In real life Laura’s teaching salary didn’t pay for her sister Mary to go to college for the blind; the government did. Laura helped fund Mary’s transportation and incidental costs. That’s still a meaningful contribution, but it’s not nearly as dramatic.

Sacrifice, love, loss, and family; The Little House on the Prairie series has it all. Does it really matter who wrote the words and who heavily edited them? I’m still not sure. Let me listen to Pa play the fiddle while I think about it.

Title Genesis Girl
Author Jennifer Bardsley
Pages 280 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre & Keywords Science Fiction, Dystopian
To Be Published June 14th, 2016 by Month9Books, LLC
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

Eighteen-year-old Blanca has lived a sheltered life. Her entire childhood has been spent at Tabula Rasa School where she’s been protected from the Internet. Blanca has never been online and doesn’t even know how to text. Her lack of a virtual footprint has made her extremely valuable and upon graduation Blanca, and those like her, are sold to the highest bidders.

Blanca is purchased by Cal McNeal, who uses her to achieve personal gain. But the McNeals are soon horrified by just how obedient and non-defiant Blanca is. All those mind-numbing years locked away from society have made her mind almost impenetrable.

By the time Blanca is ready to think for herself, she is trapped. Her only chance of escape is to go online.

3 Responses

  1. Little House books are problematic in various ways, but oh, how I loved them as a child. Garth Williams’s illustrations are a big part of that too.

    Genesis Girls sounds terrific. Can’t wait to get a copy of it!
    Wendy recently posted…Make Me Read Update #1My Profile

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Hi! I’m Jen! I’m a thirty-something introvert who loves nothing more than the cozy comfort of home and snuggling my two rescue cats, Pepper and Pancakes. I also enjoy running, jigsaw puzzles, baking and everything Disney. Few things bring me more joy than helping a reader find the right book for them!