Amy's Reviews > Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression

Little Heathens by Mildred Armstrong Kalish
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Aug 28, 2008

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Read in September, 2008

Fun and interesting read about life in rural Iowa during the Great Depression. Two points have been rolling around in my mind since I finished the book.

First, the amount of hard labor required simply to survive and keep the farm running is almost unbelievable! Kalish talks a lot about the lessons she learned from that work and the culture surrounding it. It's made me think about my life to determine what kinds of lessons my own upbringing taught. I certainly haven't had to work like Kalish did, but I think I've learned valuable lessons nonetheless.

The other point that struck me was how closed the society was about sexuality. Kalish writes that they were taught to be ashamed of their bodies and that girls were not taught clearly about puberty and menstruation, leading to her fear at the age of 11 that she must be pregnant. Birth control and abortion are also mentioned briefly in the book. It made me appreciate parents who were open and honest about all aspects of life.
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