We all have that book…the one from our childhood that’s been read so many times, the spine is beginning to crack. The pages are worn and yellow. You can almost recite the story word for word and see the pictures moving like a slideshow through your mind like those View Master toys. Sometimes we want nothing more than to jump into the pages of that book and curl up in the coziness and comfort of a life created by imagination and hopeful dreams.
Like the famous chalk drawing scene in Mary Poppins, author Wendy McClure took leap into the pages of her childhood book, Little House on the Prairie. In an attempt to relive her childhood obsession, and perhaps fuel a life long dream of prairie life, McClure attempts to learn all she can about the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder. From butter churning in her little Chicago apartment to learning the workings of farm living in the far off lands of Kansas and Missouri, The Wilder Life is everything I wanted it to be and more.
It’s not necessary to be a fan of the Little House books to enjoy The Wilder Life, although it certainly does help. I’ve only read one book in the series, but would have probably enjoyed The Wilder Life just as much if I had no knowledge of the Wilder family. What captured me was McClure’s passion and commitment to her task: to jump in head over heels into a world completely unlike the one she knows…to tackle long road trips with the sole purpose of finding a long lost creek, a house, a grave site.
Outside of the Little House references, this is the story about a woman reliving a bit of her childhood…only to discover that her love for Laura, the Wilder family, and her own imaginings of prairie life in the Midwest have grown and deepened. Perhaps most importantly, McClure’s adventures into prairie life truly show this: “The real things haven’t changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong.”
NEXT WEEK: On film he’s an actor of amazing depth and talent. On paper? Maybe not so much…
Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.