Last November I read The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure which is a must-read for anyone who grew up reading the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It’s part travelogue, part literary history, part rollicking good read that after I finished I though, “I wish I had written this book.”
I’ve read and re-read the Little House series countless times throughout my childhood, adolescence and adulthood. To me they are the literary mac’n’cheese of comfort books. Recently though I’ve been re-reading them for the first time since having children and it is a completely different experience. Before I always saw the world through Laura’s eyes and now I read between the lines from an adult perspective and see Ma crying into her apron after Pa returns home alive after making it through the blizzard in On the Banks of Plum Creek in a completely different light. McClure does the same thing except on a much larger scale, and somehow makes it completely relatable and hilarious.
One of the things McClure’s book forced me to recognize was the Little House books aren’t exactly full-on non-fiction. You can sort of forgive McClure for removing the prairie grass fed lambs wool from your eyes because it’s clear she really gets it. She is just as enthralled with the appeal of “Laura World” as I found myself to be as I squealed “THERE IT IS” when I caught sight of the Little House in the Big Woods replica log cabin near Pepin, Wisconsin last week. My friends Amy and Angela drove up from Kentucky and we went on a two-day “Laura Pilgrimage” to Pepin, Wisconsin – Laura’s birthplace – and Walnut Grove, Minnesota – where On the Banks of Plum Creek is set.
My next couple of posts will be about our adventure looking for Laura and the rest of the Ingalls family.
|From Laura Ingalls Wilder Pilgrimage|
If you missed the rest of the pilgrimage: