Growing up I loved reading about Laura Ingalls Wilder and her sisters Mary and Carrie as they moved across the country from Wisconsin to Kansas in the Little House series. I devoured the series, from Little House in the Big Woods to West From Home, and when I finished those I started reading Laura’s mother’s stories, Caroline’s books, and Laura’s daughter Rose’s books. After that I read Caroline’s mother Charlotte’s books. I read Charlotte’s mother Martha’s books, which by that point was so far back in time that the family had not even immigrated from Ireland to America yet. That’s a few hundred years of pioneer women. I’m sure I had friends too, at some point, but there was a lot of reading about pioneers happening in my bedroom.
Fellow devoted Little House fan BUST columnist Wendy McClure wrote a book about her obsession, The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie. McClure writes about buying an authentic churn and traveling to places where the Ingalls family lived all in an attempt to find “the Laura experience.” Her journey is as much one of personal growth as it is a fan’s pilgrimage and a reflection on pop culture and girlhood. Both a funny account of fanatical reading and a look at reconnecting with childhood obsessions as an adult, this book would appeal to Little House fans and anyone who has ever had an all-consuming hobby.
You can see McClure speak about the book at various bookstores across the country. I can’t wait to see her speak at Word in Brooklyn next week, where writer Jami Attenberg will interview her before a butter churning demonstration.