The Wilder Life

Rambling Thoughts    The Wilder Life:  My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure, Riverhead Books 2011, ebook 352 pages

First off, I grudgingly rounded up to give this a 3 slice of pie rating.    Not that it isn’t ‘good’ and not that it wasn’t well-written or even interesting to some extent.   It’s just that I constantly questioned WHY I cared, IF I cared.   And I didn’t.   So, the fact that I didn’t just put it down and walk away to find something else to do is my FAITHFUL LOYALTY to my awesome book clubber gals and that it really was sort of almost engaging.  Yes, this was a book club selection.    I wanted to give it only a 2 slicer for ‘It’s OK’ but just not my cup of tea, but am giving it 3 slices because I do understand and would heartily recommend this to anyone who loves the Little House on the Prairie books and enjoys reading memoirs.   This would be perfect for such readers.

* \ 0 / *  CHEERS for book club selections when you do read things you wouldn’t normally select on your own!   That is the point of book clubs!    Discussion is tomorrow and I know it will be a fun and lively affair.   I even wish I had a sunbonnet I could wear, but alas – so sad – I do not.

I was less than mildly interested when this book was selected (and Ree!  you know I still love you!!) but I thought I would end up liking it more than I expected.   I was wrong.

I read most of the Little House books as a kid.   I don’t recall much, really.   I do think I was glad I wasn’t born in that era and didn’t have a father that uprooted me every so often to move and have to go to new schools and make new friends – WAIT!   I *DID* have such a father!   I moved every 5 years between Illinois and Kansas when I was a child but I actually enjoyed (soIsaynow) moving – I liked starting fresh in a new place.  I liked having penpals from my old neighborhoods.     Even as an adult, I joke that I would rather move than clean house.   (not really a joke.  I hate to clean.)

However, I am so glad I didn’t have to trudge along in a covered wagon, be scared of Indians, and have to use a privy.      I had zero wish to go back and live on any prairies – YUCK.    I count modern plumbing as one of my top 3 things I am most grateful for.

=====>>>   Let me stop/pause and point you to a positive review that actually tells you WHAT this book is about (since I’m just going to start typing even more at random after this:)    Amused By Books posted on this May 18, 2011.  <<<=====

And so I didn’t get Ms McClure’s obsession.   I thought it might be more an exploration of grief for losing her mother but she doesn’t really do more than touch on it.   I really felt something was missing.  I think I wasn’t quite convinced or she seemed to apologize and yet not – hey!  she gets a book deal of out it!! – for her obsessions.     And yet I never want to begrudge someone for a book deal – good for her.     I think I could be friends with Wendy, if our paths ever cross.    But I think I might be one of those friends who rolled my eyes and tuned her out a little if she every started yapping about Laura Ingalls Wilder at a party.     Makes me a bit of a Nellie, I suppose!

I read this on my iPad with the Kindle app.    I jotted a few pages and such:    At location 230…  huh?   I can’t find it.   I noted something on this page and now the note is not showing up and upon re-reading, I can’t find anything noteworthy.   Hmmmm.   Maybe the reference to DREAMING FASTER?     I kind of like that now.   Yep, that must have been it.

At location 268, “…suddenly, all the nows – mind, Laura’s, the world’s – aligned with each other and made a clear, bright conduitand then my mid sped up and down it, and then I came back to myself.   NOW I remembered.”

At location 391 and many more locations, I considered that her Chris was a hellava good guy.

At location 541 and  a few other places, I got VERY annoyed when the word ‘ajar’ was supposed to be two words:  ‘a jar’.   It’s a [space]  jar of molasses, not ajar of molasses.    Grrrrrrrrrr.    I can forgive once but I swear it was 3 or 4 times this happened.   Picky picky me.

I’m thinking I better stop.   I have a few other notes that are just more picky things. (Down to Kansas from Missouri anyone? How about OVER, straight west, unless you are north of St. Joe, maybe.)

However, on location 1252, I was shocked and amazed that the author would mention a tormentor from grade school by name! Even if I remembered the names of any mean girls from 3rd grade, I don’t think I would have the guts to print her name in a book. Yikes.

At location 2152, NEW WORD!   pulchritudinous – beauty.    Wow.    Not a very beautiful sounding word.

I don’t have the location marked but was anyone else curious about Almanzo’s sister?    There’s a brief mention that she was quite an impressive woman for her day.

I’ll stop now.   If you loved Little House on the Prairie and truly wish to make a pilgrimage to the interesting sites around the country that pay honor to the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder but don’t think you will really ever go out of your way to make the travels, just read this book.


Copyright © 2011. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

18 thoughts on “The Wilder Life

  1. I agree with you about the something missing with the obsession and her mother’s death. Like, the death may have been a motivation, but it didn’t get mentioned in the book enough for me to connect with. I almost would have rather she was just obsessed and doing all the Wilder Life stuff rather than trying to give it more meaning, you know?

  2. I liked this book, but only because I really loved the Little House books when I was younger. If I hadn’t loved them, this book would totally have been just “eh.” It wasn’t bad, but I was way more into the idea of all the places she went, than the actual book she wrote. I also agree with Kim; I think the “make it mean something” part of the book felt false.

    1. Sometimes I wonder if it was because I lived in Kansas that I didn’t connect to the LIW infatuation. I don’t know. I don’t remember.

  3. Not really the point of this post, but I only learned this past winter that “acai” is pronounced ah-sy-EE. Weird, eh?

    I’m curious about this book but not unduly so. Laura Ingalls Wilder was a writer I liked a lot as a kid but have rarely returned to as a grown-up. It’s all too grim for me.

    1. I never would guess it would be a soft ‘c’ sound! The restaurant we went to did not have the liqueur and I was in a mood for beer so I didn’t attempt any Half-Pint cocktail variation. We did joke about drinking half a pint of beer and toasting to HALF PINT, though. We get a bit silly at club.

      The book does chat about Laura as an author and also the role her daughter played in the process.

  4. Oh man I am so sorry you didn’t connect with this! You know, sometimes, it just doesn’t work, when you don’t care, reading more about something isn’t going to make you care more!

    Thanks for linking to me though 🙂

    1. Yea, I’m trying not to feel bad about my snarky honesty here but it is what I said in bookclub, so I had to go with it.

      And your review was very good! If anyone IS interested, they should chat with YOU about it.

  5. Pingback: 1 Book 2 Book 3 Book Girls Trip! « Care's Online Book Club

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