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Old Home Town (Bison Book) Paperback – November 1, 1985

4.9 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Old Home Town is a human document, as real and homely and American as [a] red-checkered table cloth."—New York Times
(New York Times)

"As Booth Tarkington and Eugene O'Neill have given us the small town of the nineties, Mrs. Lane shows us the first decade of the century."—Books
(Books)

"Mrs. Lane has an uncanny knack of knowing what makes the wheels go round and why. She portrays the characters of this village in photographic detail, telling [their] stories . . . with keen wit, biting humor, and a full flavor."—Springfield Republican
(Springfield Republican)

From the Back Cover

In Old Home Town, Rose Wilder Lane has recreated small-town society of pre-World War I America with a precise feeling for decorum, dress, and kitchen dialogue, Like Sherwood Anderson in Winesburg, Ohio, she describes a community through the stories of certain memorable citizens. The overlay of nostalgia cannot hide some sharp observations about marriage and women's rights.
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Product Details

  • Series: Bison Book
  • Paperback: 309 pages
  • Publisher: Bison Books; Reprint edition (November 1, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803279175
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803279179
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #693,387 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on June 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
Lane's collection of short stories centers on a unnamed small town in the American Midwest. Beginning with an introduction that lays out for us geography and social codes, Lane invites us to walk the streets and enter the houses with her, helping us to see how the small town at the end of the 19th century became the foundation for mid-20th-century American life.
Lane brings to life a rich cast of characters, many of them recurring throughtout the book. Each story is filled with telling details, strong character development and plot. Many of the stories detail the traps into which women fall -- marriages of convenience, the struggle against poverty, the subversion of natural desires to social convention.
Without denying the narrowness of small-town life, these stories brim with affection for the small town and its people, with all their genuine concern for one another. Hardship and hilarity, gossip and grace, these small-town characters see and experience it all.
Staying close to her small town while traveling far beyond it, Lane succeeds in setting down the details of a time and place long gone, yet populated with easily-recognized characters. A fine read, filled with the pleasure of nostalgia, yet not in the least soothing. Her view is too sharp for sedation.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a beautifully-written account of small-town life just after the turn of the century. Fascinating stories, many with softly breathtaking twists. Characters are well-developed and believably human. Also, an eye-opener addressing the many limitations placed on the female gender of that era. For any Laura Ingalls Wilder fans hungering for more to read, this is the book for you. ~S.W.
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Format: Paperback
I bought my copy at the museum in Mansfield because I always wanted to read Rose's work. This book is a gem. The essay introducing the book is worth getting the book but each story is a gem on its own. Her voice is fresh and rings well today. You would not know she lived in the first half of the 20th century.
I have loaned this book out to 2 people now and all of us are knocked out at how good Rose was. Purchase it, read it. Rose was well known in the early part of last century for good reason. Let's bring this author back to the audience she richly deserves today.
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By lor369 on December 3, 2004
Format: Paperback
This delightful collection of short stories was based on Rose Wilder Lane's life as she was growing up. She accurately

described the issues women faced at around the turn of a century, especially that of being an old maid! An old maid if

you're not married by your mid-20's? Wow!

The stories in this book was a combination of humorous and some seriousness. The characters were realistic and seem to come to life for that time period.
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Format: Paperback
This book is wonderful, funny and hearwarming. My great aunt was born in the same era and used to tell me similar stories in this fashion. What a life women had in the olden days, there are not many real life accounts in print that are honest and true. This one is. What a fun book to read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First of all, it's worth noting that in her day, Rose Wilder Lane was the true celebrity writer in the Ingalls/Wilder family. She traveled the world crafting a well-received assortment of timely fiction, award-winning short stories, expository essays, and astute political commentary. Most of this writing is polished, shrewd, and overflowing with wry, witty observations. Each one of her works displays a writing talent many would argue is more sophisticated -- if somewhat less endearing -- than that of her mother, Laura Ingalls Wilder (though certain scholars maintain that several of Wilder's manuscripts were heavily edited by her daughter prior to publication).

I love both authors, but these days Rose Wilder Lane's works represent an undiscovered pleasure for many readers. This particular collection of short stories gives us a highly entertaining glimpse into the goings-on of an unnamed small town in turn-of-the-century Mid-America. The author crafts a dynamic cast of characters, focusing on one or two with each vignette but weaving many of them throughout the book. Lane was a noted feminist, and many of these tales include telling commentary on the narrow-mindedness of small town life and the cultural plight of women at that particular point in history.

Through it all, though, Lane manages to convey a sincere affection for her characters and their resilience in the face of hardship.
Brimming with humor, poignancy, and nostalgia, these stories breathe life into a time and place long disappeared, yet in many ways still easily recognizable. If you enjoy movies like "It's a Wonderful Life" or "Meet Me in St. Louis," I highly suggest giving these stories a try. An absorbing testament to Lane's sharp intelligence and formidable writing gifts.
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By Mama Book on April 30, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a hidden jewel in american literature: a detailed portrait of life before women's right to vote was a federal law, before Margaret Sanger, before Rosie the Riveter. The author survived small town life, and lived to tell and in her own way celebrate it. I will be giving this book to all the tweenager girls I know (and my own daughter when she is old enough!).
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