Reading the Wilder Life

Wendy McClure’s memoir of her love and search for the reality behind the fiction of an American classic of childhood is a great idea for a one-time theme for a book group.

McClure chronicled her Little House quest in The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of ‘Little House on the Prairie. Readers will enjoy McClure’s self-professed obsession with her favorite books from childhood and her dedication to finding those places. They will also appreciate McClure’s realization that no matter how far one travels to look for the past, only pieces of it will be familiar.

Consider pairing this book with any of the Laura Ingalls Wilder titles from the series, but especially Little House in the Big Woods or Little House on the Prairie.

Readers who want a more factual experience might want to dip into Donald Zochert’s popular Laura: The Life of Laura Ingalls Wilder, published during the heyday of the television series. Zochert provides an interesting time line for the Little House books.

And for those members who like a dash of controversy, offer up The Ghost in the Little House: A Life of Rose Wilder Lane by William Holtz who writes that daughter Rose had as much do with writing the famous series of books as her mother Laura.

Favorite reading from childhood almost always provides a delightful conversation in a book group. Look for criticism, author biographies, and other materials and see if readers’ minds and memories can change during the course of discussion.

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About the Author:

Kaite Mediatore Stover refuses to give up her day job as director of readers' services for The Kansas City Public Library to read tarot cards professionally or be the merch girl/roadie for her husband's numerous bands. Follow her on Twitter at @MarianLiberryan.

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