Wendy's Reviews > The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie

The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure
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's review
Feb 10, 2012

really liked it
Read on February 10, 2012

Though I love @halfpintingalls and had a couple of nice virtual interactions with the author while she was working on the book, I put off reading this after some middling reviews from friends and acquaintances. I get how this is not for everyone, and most of the really negative reviews are from people who got the book expecting it to be something else and can't get over that it isn't the book they wanted to read. (Some people think it's for the Little House fanatic; others think it's for those who don't know Little House details. Some think it mentions the TV show too often and some think it disdains the TV show.)

This is the danger you face when your book, which should have a narrow audience, gets picked up more widely because of catchy subject matter. People read this who have probably never even heard of jezebel and wouldn't read it if they had.

I share the author's annoyance with people who don't read--and especially don't LOVE--books in the "right" way. And some of that spilled over into my reading of this book, of course. While we were mostly on the same page--we dwell with delight on the same phrases from the books--I always find it tiresome when people stop reading Little House, even stop thinking about Little House, after childhood. McClure's discoveries never happened for most of my book-loving friends because we never stopped reading and rereading and I am impatient with anyone who didn't read the Zochert biography as a child. But, of course, I am also impatient with people who I think take it all too far [read: further than I do], and, as the author explores, with people who ascribe philosophies and religious beliefs to the Ingalls family that aren't really supported by the books. (My favorite chapter is probably the one about the religious people at the homestead, though I have always known such people and wouldn't have been as startled by them, but then, I wouldn't have been as nice to them or about them, either.)

I haven't actually been to any Laura Ingalls Wilder homesites, always being afraid of what I know I would find there, preferring my own more obscure "homesites" for other books and authors and people. Those sort of stand in for what I wish I would find at Laura homesites.
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Reading Progress

02/10/2012 "The homesteading-lessons farm is amusingly (clumsily) disguised for anyone who knows Illinois geography. It is so weird that this includes me."

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