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

Title: The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie
Author: Wendy McClure
File Size (Pages): 475 KB (352)
Published: 2011
Genre: Non-fiction, Memoir, Humor
Challenges: 2012 Support Your Library
Edition: E-book
Source: Library

Description: Wendy McClure is on a quest to find the world of beloved Little House on the Prairie author Laura Ingalls Wilder — a fantastic realm of fiction, history, and places McClure has never been to yet somehow knows by heart. She traces the pioneer journey of the Ingalls family—looking for the Big Woods among the medium trees in Wisconsin, wading in Plum Creek, and enduring a prairie hailstorm in South Dakota. She immerses herself in all things Little House — exploring the story from fact to fiction, and from the TV shows to the annual summer pageants in Laura’s hometowns. Whether she’s churning butter in her apartment or sitting in a replica log cabin, McClure is always in pursuit of “the Laura experience.” Along the way she comes to understand how Wilder’s life and work have shaped our ideas about girlhood and the American West. (via

Thoughts: I really liked the book and when I came across it late last year, I knew that this was the sort of book for me.  Yes, I am a fan of the Little House books (my favourites being the final 3 books in the series) and yes, my parents have taken to me to two of the sites, including De Smet, where we saw the Surveyors House and the house in town that her parents resided in after Laura married.  And yes, I did have romantic notions of the family when I was growing up, only to have them dispelled when I was 12.  But despite the fact the information that I have learned over the years, I still love them, as they represent a time and place that really doesn't exist and sort of reminds me of what my ancestors who settled in Kansas and Oklahoma must have gone through, to a degree.

What I like, in addition to Wendy's own story, was learning about the truth about the Ingalls family, or so what I was told. It was pretty interesting and really made me rethink the books and how much they were edited.  And it even goes into the debate of who actually wrote the books (there is discussion out there that the books were actually ghostwritten by Rose, Laura and Almanzo's daughter.

But that being said, I quite enjoyed it and understood it to was meant to Wendy's journey rather than what Laura and her family experienced.

Bottom line: I would recommend this book to Little House fans, but beware that some of your notions of the Ingalls family and their journey west will probably dispelled.  Overall, its a pretty good book.

Rating:  4/5

Pages for 2012: 20545


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