The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure

The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie is equal parts a biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder and a memoir of author Wendy McClure as she goes on a journey into Wilder's history to uncover how her life and her books overlapped.

Growing up in the 1970s, I wanted to live with Laura Ingalls Wilder. I could envision myself listening to Pa play his fiddle while I did the daily chores, with hopes that Almanzo would come past the Homestead. I loved the television series as well as the books, but as with all adaptions onto television or the big screen, things are often lost or added. For instance, Laura Ingalls Wilder did not really have a step brother named Adam, and they did not have bread at every meal, but there indeed was a Nellie Olson.

Wendy McClure writes as if I, too, am taking the adventure with her and bringing my favorite childhood book characters to life-- right down to her trip to Mansfield, Missouri and stopping off at an American Girl Place. It reminded me so much of those stories that now that I have finished The Wilder Life, I want to read about Kirsten and Felicity's adventures in the American Girl books. And someday, when the time comes for travel, I, too, want to be one of the Laura Ingalls Wilder tourists in Pepin, Wisconsin collecting lake pebbles. 

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Published by on April 20, 2020
Last Modified August 16, 2022