I found out a few days ago that my new book club was reading this book and having a discussion on Thursday. I managed to wrangle a library card from my new library and found quite the oldish large printish copy they carried. But it worked. I sat down and read it in a few hours. I quite liked My Antonia so reading another by Willa Cather was a fine prospect.
Alexandra was a strong woman. She was a strong teenager. The story is set on the prairie, a hard Nebraska prairie that has not yet become profitable to many farmers. Alexandra's parents, Swedish immigrants, are barely scraping by, and that was before her father became ill. Being the most level-headed and business minded of her father's children (Alexandra had two older brothers and a younger brother) she was trusted with holding the homestead together after her father died.
It is the homestead, the land, that is Alexandra's constant focus. She is very capable and independant. She takes care of her younger brother Emil as well as others, including "crazy" Ivar, an old man also living out on the prairie. Also playing a role in Alexandra's life are her long time friend Carl, and Marie, a young Bohemian who is full of life and who is a huge part of Emil's life as well.
O Pioneers portrays the many faces of prairie life. Alexandra loves the land and sees the potential in it -she is she is such a great character. I have to say that I did not see the ending coming which was a nice surprise. Good book club choice.