Shannon Stacey

My last trip to Borders must have been cursed

I’m having some trouble reading the books I bought. Fortunately, the problem of the messed up pages in Night Echoes has been resolved, but now I’m struggling with The Magic of Christmas.

I started the first story—“A Christmas Child” by Carolyn Davidson”—and I got as far as the second paragraph of chapter one before I was yanked out of the story so hard, I might have whiplash.

The heroine traveled to Walnut Grove.

Now, I’m a fairly intelligent grown woman. I know Walnut Grove is a real town. I could go there now, if I wanted to shell out the gas money. But “Little House on the Prairie” the TV series premiered when I was two and I read the Little House book series when I was six, so for pretty much my entire life, I’ve known the people of Walnut Grove.

Yet I forged on.

So the heroine ends up seeking help at the general store, which in my head became the Mercantile. And when the storekeeper’s wife was so gentle and generous with the heroine, I actually snorted. Then I had to set the book down and remind myself the storekeeper’s wife’s name is Janet, not Harriet.

But I know from the blurb the heroine—who’s only been described as ‘not yet a woman’ so is probably thirteen in my head—finds her hero in the town pastor. Well, you know Reverend Alden entered stage right, and the thought of him with a ‘not yet a woman’ heroine…It made me laugh and feel queasy at the same time.

So I’ve skipped to the second story in the anthology. I hope to find the right frame of mind to go back to the first story, because I like the author’s work. Maybe if I pick it back up where I left off the words ‘Walnut Grove’ won’t be used again.

I feel bad, and I can’t help but wonder if it was meant to trigger the sense of familiarity, but I can’t wrap my head around a town full of people I’ve known my entire life being replaced by strangers.

4 comments to “My last trip to Borders must have been cursed”

  1. Charlene
      · October 19th, 2008 at 10:38 am · Link

    Er. That would’ve thrown me, too.

  2. Charlene
      · October 19th, 2008 at 10:38 am · Link

    Which means…*gasp*…maybe we’re not the target audience? Is it geared at a pre-Little House readership?

  3. Shannon
      · October 19th, 2008 at 10:58 am · Link

    Is there a pre-Little House readership, though? My mom is in her fifties and I think it would throw her, too. I think you’d have a post-Little House readership—younger than my oldest younger sister—twenties, maybe. But I don’t think any of the three authors are writing for that generation—definitely us and our moms.

    I’m glad I’m not the only one it would throw, though. I hate when readers say something belongs to one writer—a group of male vampires, for example—and I don’t believe Walnut Grove belongs to LIW, but…it kinda does, though.

    Interesting choice of setting.

  4. Jewell
      · October 20th, 2008 at 9:33 am · Link

    Wow, that certainly would have thrown me out of the book. That show went on for years and is still shown as reruns almost daily. Plus, it seems to be the way in which the author used the surroundings. Lots of triggers going on.

    Now, if you came across a character named Buffy, you might have a moment of squig, but could get over it. However, if Buffy just happened to be a character in a vampire novel, well…anything similar in any way to the series would have you bopping out of the book constantly.

    I guess that’s why many people say you have to use cultural references wisely.

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