Content Note: Physical Abuse
So here's the thing: I've read these books.
I did. I read them when I was a little kid, all the way through, straight through to the middle of "The First Four Years" at which point the drastic change in tone and the new names to remember alienated me enough that I put them down and moved on to Nancy Drew or whatever. But I did read them.
Given that I loved books and we didn't own very many (though we frequented the library often) and these had been given as a present, it was odd that I never read them through much after that. Every so often I'd pick up Big Woods and tear through that, but then when I'd start Farmer Boy, I'd hit a stall and couldn't go on. If you'd asked me why that was, I would have ventured that maybe Farmer Boy was kind of boring? There was something about it that also made me sad, but I couldn't put my finger on what.
With that in mind, here are the first two chapters of Farmer Boy:
Big boys who beat little boys.
Big boys who force little boys to beat other little boys.
Teachers who beat little boys.
Fathers who beat little boys.
Fathers who beat little boys after they are beaten by their teachers.
Big boys who beat teachers.
Big boys who beat teachers so badly that they die from it.
WTF. OMG. BBQ.
I wish I was exaggerating or making that up. I'm not.
Somewhere on the internets, there is an emoticon that I cannot find. But it was a standard yellow emoticon ball, traversing a circular path. On either side of the emoticon face, two smaller balls -- its arms -- were windmilling wildly around. The impression was of an emoticon running in a tight, panicky circle while flapping its arms in panic.
That is what my brain is doing now. Not in a triggered way, mind you, just in a ... WTFOMGBBQ way.
It was fun while it lasted, but I think I'm going to have the put the Little House books down now and go watch more "Blade" or something, because I can already see that any further Let's Reads on this topic are going to end with me being all CAPSRAGEY and cordially inviting everyone in rural nineteenth century New York to GO DIE IN A FIRE or something similarly over-stated and inappropriate and no one wants that.
The weirdest thing to me is that I frankly didn't remember these books having such a heavy focus on physical punishment. I just ... yeah. Brain wipe, I guess?