Thoughts on William Anderson’s The Little House Reader

Thoughts on William Anderson's The Little House Reader #LauraIngallsWilder | a little (or a lot) about Laura | Laura Ingalls Wilder | The 1000th Voice blog

This collection of Laura’s pre-Little House writing has been skillfully edited by William Anderson who interspersed very relevant and interesting tidbits between the pieces. The entire collection provides a great peek into Laura’s writing life but also her life after the Little House books ended. (Did you follow that? Written before the Little House books, these pieces share what Laura’s post-Little House life was like.)

One thing that stood out to me was how wise Laura was and how capable she was as a writer sharing her wisdom through stories. Laura was also humble about this (and her success in general). When asked about her success, Laura said, “I was amazed because I didn’t know how to write.” Ahh, our humble, loveable Laura was really humble in real life. This makes me unspeakably happy!

One of the columns in the book is an account of the building and finishing of Laura’s dream house at Rocky Ridge Farm. What captivated me about this was her attention to detail and how contemporary she seemed. Laura’s writing is always clear and forthright, but her article is contemporary for a reason beyond that–in today’s world of shelter blogs, it’s interesting to see that Laura was as thoughtful about the details as many men and women are today.

Again, Laura sounds relatively modern in her column about how farm wives can make extra cash by hosting summer boarders in their homes. That’s not the part that sounds modern; in fact, the entire concept of boarders is outdated. But she spoke of how visitors from the city would pay well for the breath of fresh air and fresh food from the farm, not dishes and ingredients brought from the city. My mind immediately went to things like farm-to-table restaurants, backyard square foot gardens, farmers’ markets and more.

Overall, this was a great, well-edited collection. William definitely knows Laura and understands her in a way that most people don’t. He connected the various phases of Laura’s pre-Little House writing life with well-researched and well-reasoned commentary on Laura’s life and motives. I would highly recommend this book to any Laura lovers.


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