The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure

[Caveat: I’m trying to make good on my New Year’s Resolution and get caught up to speed on this blog. That means I’m writing about books I read months ago, my memory might be spotty, and I’m just going to jot down a few sentences.]

As a big fan of the tv show and, to a lesser extent, the books, I was pretty excited about this book (and it got loads of publicity.)  The author is a strict fan of the books, not the tv show, so I definitely did not feel I was quite the purist that she is.  I really enjoyed reading this, but it went on too long for me and I struggled to finish it, needing to skim at the end.  The gist is that the author, as an adult, decides to visit all the Ingalls homesteads and really delve into the world of the true little house on the prairie.  It was fascinating reading about the other people she meets and most interesting to me, when she begins to explain the divide between the facts of Laura’s life and the books (which are fiction, though based on some fact.) The author herself has a bit of trouble with this divide because it is the Laura in the books that she adores. In particular there was some fact I found fascinating about Pa and the Indians and “acquiring” their land, but for the life of me now I don’t remember it.

So here’s my Little House fan story–I was driving across South Dakota by myself and when I saw signs for a Laura Ingalls homestead site you’d better believe I went there.

This is a must read for any Little House fan (LHoP, if you will) though I’m not certain it’s a must read all the way through.  I think this would have held my attention more if it was a few essays.


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