Little Blog on the Prairie by Cathleen Davitt Bell: A Fresh, Modern Take on Little House on the Prairie

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.

This book was really interesting, actually. It had an original idea that I thought was really cool and I really enjoyed. I think that fans of the Little House on the Prairie series will really enjoy this book. I know that I loved that series growing up, and that really helped for this book to grow on me.

But there were a lot of small things I thought were…annoying, I guess. For the majority of the beginning of the book, I had a really shaky relationship with Genevieve. It was a lot like love/hate. One second she was really annoying and then the next second I could totally sympathize with what she was saying, and then at other times I actually genuinely enjoyed reading her narration. I really liked Gavin, Caleb, Genevieve’s dad and a lot of the other characters. The characters I didn’t notably like weren’t good, weren’t bad. I didn’t understand why Cathleen Davitt Bell had to through a mini love triangle in there though.

Another thing–some adults think that kids just have this burning desire to be on their phone all the time, but not kids are like that. I love my phone because

  1. I can contact people.
  2. My notes for stories, scribbed down reminders, my alarm clock, all of that is on there.
  3. Games.
  4. Apps.

Geneiev–UGH. I’m getting tired of spelling this girl’s name. I’m going to call her Gen. There’s a lot of things that bothered me about Gen’s phone thing. First of all, it would’ve been great if Cathleen Davitt Bell had just cleared up what kind of phone it was. In my mind, I was picturing iPhone or Galaxy S. Mostly because of the apps. See, cause there’s two ways this can go, and there’s problems for each way. If Gen’s phone is an iPhone or a touch screen of the sort, then this the chain reaction:

  • We don’t know if Gen has an Apple ID or whatever you need to download apps on other phones. (I’m using iPhone as an example because I’m an Apple person). If she doesn’t have an Apple ID, which she probably doesn’t, then she can’t download other apps.
  • I’m just saying that if I didn’t have Instagram, Google+, my music, my games, WordPress, Flixster and all my other apps that don’t automatically come with the phone, I wouldn’t spend most of the time that I do on my phone. But apparently, Gen is just dying to whip out her phone all the time, for no apparent reason other than to text her friends. Hmm. Let’s build on that.
  • Believe it or not, not all teens text whenever they’re bored. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, I’m just saying most of the time, my friends and I aren’t texting. Then I have those friends that always have their phones with them. I know that if I text them, they’ll respond within a matter of seconds. And we all have those friends that take days to respond… Anyway, I can count on one hand how many of those I-will-text-you-right-away friends I have. My point is that texting isn’t something I usually do for fun. And texting isn’t fun at all when it’s a one-sided conversation. And throughout the book, I just get this vibe that a one sided conversation is typically what Gen is taking part in while she’s texting. And yet it’s so fun for her. Seems legit.
  • Then there’s the matter of Gen plugging in her friend’s phone numbers into her phone right before she left. She didn’t tell her friends that she got a phone, she didn’t call them, didn’t do anything. Wow. See, when some random person texts me or my friends just acting all friendly, the first thing we ask is, Who is this? And what follows is a bunch of really personal questions from our past that ONLY they would know, testing to see if they’re actually who they say they are. My point is, I find it hard to believe that those kids would’ve just trusted Gen so easily. I dunno. Maybe they did, I just find it that their parents would’ve warned them to be more careful.

So that’s my rant on technology. I didn’t have any other issues with this book, other than the fact that there were a few passages where the book could’ve survived another run-through.

I actually really loved the ending to this story. It was a light touch, but a great finish. I thought that Cathleen Davitt Bell left just enough room for a sequel if she ever wanted to, but she provided a satisfactory, well-written ending with a changed Gen and a refreshed outlook into the world.

Seriously, I thought this book was really cool. About halfway through the book, I started to really like Gen and her personality. The camp was cool too, but it’s not something I would try. I’m with Gen’s dad with his analogy of sharecropping… Anyway, this was a really cool, light, nice, awesome read that I honestly think was great. It may seem like I hated the book because of Gen’s name and the fact that her phone problems bugged me, but this story was great, original and I was throughly impressed. I’ll be looking for a copy of Cathleen Davitt Bell’s first novel, Slipping, at my local library!

pg count for the hardback: 288

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