Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Roughing It in the Bush” as Want to Read:
Roughing It in the Bush
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Roughing It in the Bush

3.24 of 5 stars 3.24  ·  rating details  ·  653 ratings  ·  38 reviews
When "Roughing It in the Bush" was published in 1852, it created an international sensation, not only for Susanna Moodie's "glowing narrative of personal incident," but also for her firm determination to puncture the illusions European land-agents were circulating about life in Canada. This frank and fascinating chronicle details her harsh - and humorous - experiences in h...more
Mass Market Paperback, 238 pages
Published January 1st 1962 by New Canadian Library (first published 1852)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Roughing It in the Bush, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Roughing It in the Bush

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,062)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Roughing it in the Bush is one of those books that is undeniably important (within its own limited sphere of influence). But it is also way more important than it is readable.

As an icon of Canadian Literature, Susanna Moodie has particular importance for Feminist Canadian writers. Her work has directly inspired many Canadian memoirs by women, and Margaret Atwood, one of Canada's most honoured writers, found inspiration in it for her poetry cycle, The Journals of Susanna Moodie.

But Moodie's memoi...more
I was initially put off by the verbosity and exaggeration of her writing style. I did not appreciate the poetry and after slogging through the first few, chose to skip the rest. I felt she over played the many characters who seemed to live all around her. Even some of the hardships she endured seemed to be exaggerated or downright unbelievable.

That said as I read, I got into the rhythm of her prose and stopped resisting. I became interested in her encounters with the Indians. I also saw her cha...more
I usually enjoy the stuff I read in school but this was brutal. The whole time I wanted her to get eaten by a bear or something. Her husbands writing (which is put into the novel in different parts) is even more brutal than hers. Prof's who make their students read this are performing cruel and unusual punishment on their students!
Susanna Moodie was a published writer when she emigrated from England to Upper Canada with her husband in 1832. This account of life as a settler from 1832-1839 in the bush around what is now Cobourg and Peterborough Ontario is a classic in Canadian Literature. The book chronicles the hardships and triumphs faced by mid 19th century settlers in Upper Canada. The book was intended to inform those in England who might want to emigrate about the harsh realities of life in the bush. Susanna soon lea...more
Never want to enter Moodie's bush again. Boring book.
Reading this book was a bit like taking medicine--helpful in the long run while not necessarily pleasant on the short term. Definitely worth wading through the language of the times (although after one poem I could not read more)in order to learn about the settlement of Canada in the mid-eighteen hundreds. And to learn a little about the arduous experience of women as homemakers, mothers, wives, neighbours. Susanna Moodie was an excellent writer and story teller of her day.
Marsali Taylor
I read this after 'Two sisters in the Wilderness', a biography of Susanna Moodie and her sister, Catherine Parr Traill, who emigrated to Ontario in the 1830s. The jury seems out on whether this book is autobiographical or a shaped, partly-fictional account. The descriptions in the start of the book were interesting and vivid, but once Moodie got out to the wilderness ... oh, dear. I found it hard to keep going, because of everyone else's behaviour towards her: the family from hell were in the ho...more
I once saw Jon Stewart on Just for Laughs doing a bit of standup, talking about Canadians (paraphrased here). " It's amazing", he said, "that your ancestors got off the boat at the first frozen port and, looking around at the snow and ice and wilderness, said, 'Yep, looks good to me'. And stayed. 'What's that? You heard they've got palm trees and sunshine if we keep heading south? Nah, this is good right here'." I've marvelled at that myself: that my own ancestors chose Canada, and having surviv...more
I found this book to be long and writen sometimes in a language that is nowadays non-existant. Considering it was first published in 1852 it is understandable that the words and writing styles seem so far from the modern.

Although a true account of the story of Susanna Moodie and her family during their travel and settling in Canada, there were (admittedly stated in the forward) a few stories interwoven to keep content a reader tired of hearing about the bush and crops.

There were points througho...more
Tom Gee
Superb book. For those who didn't like it when assigned the book as literature homework, I encourage you to re-read it on your own time and pace. She is an engaging, surprisingly parsimonious storyteller with an unique ability to describe a person's character and appearance in a single sentence or phrase, which often has a very British backhanded sense to it (e.g. one man had "a dark manly face that would have been a splendid property for a bandit chief").

Five enthusiastic stars!
A very interesting book about one woman's experience in settling in Canada from England and the difference between what they were told in England and the reality in Canada.

I really enjoyed reading about her interactions with the First Nations people and the Americans who were settled in southern Ontario. The First Nations were described as a very kind and friendly people while she seemed to have a very low opinion of the Americans who came off as thieving dishonest.

Format was easy to read, her...more
I loved this book! Free on the Kindle as well, which is a bonus. You can't help but feel sorry for poor old Susanna Moodie. She has to emigrate to Canada with her husband because of financial problems, but when they get there they go through a whole litany of problems, money issues, and terrible circumstances. One truly memorable passage has a farm worker setting all the fields round her house on fire by mistake. Susanna and her kids are trapped in the cottage by a huge ring of fire, minutes awa...more
Theryn Fleming
Roughing It in the Bush is an account of the middle-class Moodies' first years in North America. Susanna and her husband John were woefully unprepared for life in the "bush," which made for lots of good material for Susanna to write about. Although it's supposed to be non-fiction, it seems pretty clear that the character "Susanna Moodie" is a lot ditzier than the writer Susanna Moodie was, i.e. that the stories were embellished to make them more funny and entertaining. While the writer Susanna M...more
A classic must-read. Incredible insight - as if reading a diary - into life in the backwoods of Ontario before Confederation. The details of what life was like and how hard the work was for women - and the isolation particularly in winter, are incredible.

Interesting to read about the culture shock that Susanna experiences and how she retains her strong personality and snobbiness in spite of the hardship.

A wonderful companion read to her sister, Catharine Par Traill's book, as their personalities...more
Beautiful descriptions of the areas around her forest cabin, and well done written sketches of the local characters. I skipped the poetry.
it was very interesting to see how it really was during the pioneer days of canada this was the first account of what it was actually like bc most literature pertaining to settling was euphemistic, trying to convince people to move here. she was snobby, though, she almost always had hired help and she wasnt really the salt of the earth type we always envisioned or at least i always do. most often with a long book I get so into it that the length doesn't fase me. With this book yiu have to push t...more
Gabriele Wills
I have immense admiration for those gentlewomen from cultured Europe who found themselves hacking out a life - literally - in the backwoods of Canada. This account of immigrant life in what is now Ontario (Upper Canada then) certainly details the hardships and struggles, making me question whether I could have survived with those challenges. If Susanna Moodie's voice grates a little, we have to remember the privileged society from which she came.
The moral of her story: do not immigrate to Canada unless you are suited for hard work and a miserable life. When I read this I was an immigrant living in Canada and could totally relate. Susanna Moodie is a strong woman who inspired me with her account of life in early Canada.
I love 'olden days' stuff, and my ancestors were living in the same area, around the same time. Kinda cool.

Edited to add: I don't know if this is the one I read, or if it was Life in the Backwoods. They were both the same book on Kobo. :)
Elizabeth Lund
Read about 100 pages. The narrator was condescending and given to calling things "disgusting." Between that and the not-very-good poetry liberally sprinkled throughout the volume, I wasn't inclined to finish this.
Cheryl Cannon
Published in 1852, this is a humorous account of what life in what was then the backwoods of Ontario. Talk about connecting with your roots - this puts the growth of our province and nation into perspective....
Such fun to read about past prejudices and habits - thank goodness we've gotten past some of that. I'm enjoying reading about the home remedies they used - some of them worked and some obviously didn't.
Melissa Monette
Most people hated this good when I had to read it for a Canadian Women's Literature Class, but I thought it was brilliant. If you don't like long winded writing then this is not the book for you.
I know everyone praises this book, but i found it kind of lacking ... like half the information is missing, she tells these mini-stories but leaves out either the beginning or the ending of them
interesting but could not get into it. was an effort to read but probably because I have alot going on so better to read something lighter right now.
This Norton Critical edition is far superior to the New Canadian Library edition, which omits lots of the original text.
Read this for a Canadian history course, thought it gave a really good story of what settler life was truly like.
Janet Batchelor
Loved it very useful for my work but also an interesting glimpse into early canadian life.
Ciara (Lost at Midnight)
Only read the chapters required for my Can Lit class but man, those were tough to get through.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 35 36 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • As for Me and My House
  • Two Solitudes
  • A Bird in the House
  • Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town
  • Who Has Seen the Wind
  • The Luck of Ginger Coffey
  • Maria Chapdelaine
  • A Map of Glass
  • Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature
  • The Mountain and the Valley
  • Settlers of the Marsh
  • The Invasion of Canada: 1812-1813
  • Pictures from Italy
  • You Went Away: A Novella
  • Journals and Letters
  • The Tin Flute
  • Wolf Willow
  • Joshua Then and Now
Life in the Backwoods: A Sequel to Roughing it in the Bush Life in the Clearings versus the Bush Roughing It in the Bush; Or, Life in Canada. by Susanna Moodie Part 2. Voyages: Short Narratives of Susanna Moodie The Little Quaker; or, the Triumph of Virtue

Share This Book