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Simpler Times

I found it fascinating to learn while watching a documentary that discussed the trends of television programming in the 1970s that a surge of shows found success in covering themes and settings of simpler times in American history. Such shows included Little House on the Prairie and The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams that featured the appeal and folksiness of American country life. Other shows, such as The Waltons and Happy Days, allowed viewers to reminisce about time periods only decades earlier that appeared to exude a wholesomeness and set of values absent in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. These shows also contrasted strongly with the new dose of reality presented in classic American sitcoms, such as Good Times and All in the Family, that seem to depict a more realistic telling of life on screen. Fans of shows with a simpler premise were able, in fact, to escape reality where gas prices weren’t yet outrageous and civilian life was peaceful. Many books exude this same concept. Below are some good reads to make as your next “prairie home companion.”

The Photograph
By Beverly Lewis

After the death of their parents, sisters Eva, Frona, and Lily face big changes. Lily runs away from their Amish community, and Eva feels herself drawn to Jed, a buggy maker newly arrived in town. He carries a photograph of a young woman Eva recognizes. 2015.

The Richlands
By Agnes S. Turnbull

Pennsylvania, early 1900s. Love for the Richlands sets Jim Ryall on a different path from the law career his father intended. While Jim farms the land, his life revolves around his brothers, a servant with a secret, Aunt Polly, his wife Peggy, and Phoebe, who cares for his children. 1974.

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