The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure
Riverhead • $25.95 • ISBN 9781594487804
April 14, 2011

Raise your hand if you stayed up late reading the Little House books when you were a child—checked them out from the library, or maybe ordered them from the Scholastic Book Club? Dressed up as Laura on Book Character Day? Made a pilgrimage to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home & Museum? (Been there, done that.) Had a crush on Almanzo Wilder?

If you can relate, then have I got a book for you. Wendy McClure's charming new memoir is about her obsession with "Laura World," and her search for the truth behind the beloved series.

It's a fascinating read, and it's also quite funny. For example:

And, oh my God: I wanted to live in one room with my whole family and have a pathetic corncob doll all my own. I wanted to wear a calico sunbonnet—or rather, I wanted to not wear a calico sunbonnet, the way Laura did, letting it hang down her back by its ties. I wanted to do chores because of those books. Carry water, churn butter, make headcheese. I wanted dead rabbits brought home for supper. I wanted to go out into the backyard and just, I don't know, grab stuff off trees, or uproot things from the ground, and bring it all inside in a basket and have my parents say, "My land! What a harvest!"

If you're intrigued, then stay tuned: Several BookPage editors (and Laura wannabes) are discussing The Wilder Life in our next podcast.

What are you reading today?

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