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The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost…

The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the… (2011)

by Wendy McClure

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6367123,451 (3.68)35
In this funny and thoughtful guide to a romanticized version of the American expansion west, children's book editor and memoirist McClure (I'm Not the New Me) attempts to recapture her childhood vision of "Laura World" (i.e., the world of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her Little House books about an 1880s pioneer family).… (more)



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Showing 1-5 of 71 (next | show all)
Little House on the Prairie, Frontier and pioneer life in literature, Laura Ingalls Wilder appreciation
  katwoznica | Mar 1, 2019 |
This won't be for everyone, but it was like crack to a "Little House" nerd like myself, or anyone else who dressed as Laura Ingalls Wilder for Halloween as a child. I enjoyed it very much. ( )
  LMJenkins | Nov 28, 2018 |
Normally, I end up rounding up on bookclub books because of the interesting conversations I associate with them. This time, I am standing firm at "okay."

I did not read all the Little House books. I think I read three before I hit Farmer Boy, couldn't get through it, and refused to skip ahead in my box set (which was weird, because wee! me used to read series out of order all the time). So I was coming to this book as a non-Wilder fan, but I was more than half-expecting to be won over and convinced that I needed to go read them immediately, because I find enthusiasm contagious.

Instead I hit this line on page 28, "And I was still afraid to ask: what kind of person would I become if I just went with this, let my calico-sunbonnet freak flag fly?"

I would say a happier one.

If I could say one thing to the author, it would be this: Wendy McClure, embrace your geekiness. Seriously, I am more likely to judge you for admitting in print to not knowing what "ague" means than for being enthusiastic about something you think other people left behind in childhood. Other people don't care half as much as you think -- and anyway, why would you care about the opinions of the joyless people judging you?

I wish I could say she does come to embrace it -- after all, she goes on to write an entire book about "Laura World," pursuing that elusive place-slash-state-of-mind through research into the historical and biographical basis for the books, experiments in turn of the century homesteading and cross-Plains road trips. But right up to the final chapter, it feels like she's always holding back, always just a little embarrassed. And that's a shame.

However, I do have to thank her for introducing me to Rose Wilder Lane, Laura's daughter, who sounds absolutely fascinating. ( )
  akaGingerK | Sep 30, 2018 |
I was a **bit** disappointed. I appreciate the effort. ( )
  MaryCWinzig | Sep 10, 2018 |
Full disclosure: if you did not spend a huge chunk of your childhood as a Laura Ingalls Wilder geek, if you never cajoled your grandmother into making a handsewn sunbonnet, never dreamed of eating snow candy or churning your own butter or making a nine-patch quilt, then this might not be the book for you. I adored Laura Ingalls Wilder. I loved the books so much that my father regularly sat me down for lectures about daydreams vs. real life until he eventually forbade the books altogether. (Yes, I am the only person I have ever heard of who was actually forbidden to read wholesome stories about pioneer life. I still don't know what he was thinking.) A couple of years ago, when my daughter read the books for the first time, we visited the Wilder house in Mansfield, Missouri, and I--a grown woman who hadn't actually read the books in at least a decade, who should have outgrown sentimentality and hokum--caught myself tearing up at the sight of Pa's fiddle. (And after we toured the house, I insisted on going back to the museum for one more look at the fiddle.) The point I am making: I am the exact audience for this book, and I loved every last word of it. And now I just want to hang out with Wendy McClure and trade Laura anecdotes. ( )
  GaylaBassham | May 27, 2018 |
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For Dad, with love.

And for Chris, who read the books.
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I was born in 1867 in a log cabin in Wisconsin and maybe you were, too.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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