A Wilder Giveaway!

Wendy McClure’s book, The Wilder Life, has been chosen for the first round of the 2011 Goodreads Choice Awards: Best Memoir & Autobiography category! Make sure you take a trip over to Goodreads before Nov. 20th and vote.

In recognition of this honor, we are hosting a The Wilder Life book giveaway here at Beyond Little House. At Wendy’s events, she likes to ask the audience Little House trivia questions. So, we thought we’d turn the tables here a bit.

Comment below and share one of your favorite Laura/Little House/Ingalls family true facts–one that surprised you or surprises others, or just something you find fascinating or funny or poignant. We’ll randomly pick one of the comments as a winner. The winner will get not only a copy of The Wilder Life, but also a signed bookplate from Wendy! Don’t put it off and don’t delay…you have till Friday to leave your comment.
Posted in Giveaways
38 comments on “A Wilder Giveaway!
  1. MamaHen says:

    Congratulations!!!!!! I was ever-so-shocked to learn that there was another family living with the Ingalls during the Long Winter!

  2. Jillian says:

    I’m reading A Little House Traveler right now, and was incredibly sad to learn that Laura never sees Caroline or Mary again, after she visits De Smet when Charles dies. 🙁

  3. Tracy A Moore says:

    I have always been facinated by the life of Rose Wilder Lane.

    Imagine crossing the prairie in a covered wagon with your parents. Then imagine traveling to Asia to cover the Vietnam War when you are well into your seventies. These two contrasting events seem impossible to connect, yet Rose wrote about them both.

  4. LauriOH says:

    I had a Rocky Ridge postcard up in my cubicle. A manager commented on the fact that there was a regular electric lamp on the table. He was shocked to learn that Laura lived until 1957 so that she was familiar with many modern conveniences not just in way way back times.

  5. Patty Collins says:

    Although I learned early-on in my research of the Rock House at Rocky Ridge, I didn’t fully appreciate its significance until I walked through its doors the first time. What a moving trip to Mansfield it was for me.

  6. Kat Erickson says:

    I was so relieved to find that someone else had the same type of thoughts and feelings about Laura and her work from childhood and well into adulthood. I’ve made my pilgrimages and read books to my children. I’m not alone.

  7. Melissa says:

    I remember being very surprised and saddened to learn that Laura had a brother, but that he died in infancy. While I’m sure Charles and Caroline loved all their daughters and wouldn’t have replaced any of them, I’m sure they would have loved to have a son to help Charles around the farm and carry on the family name. Of course, Laura ended up doing both!

  8. Mary says:

    Until recently I had only seen the TV show and hadn’t read any of the Little House books, so I was a little surprised to find out that Mary never really became a teacher for blind children. It doesn’t overly astonish me as I know the show often took great liberties in depicting Laura’s actual life, but it still surprised me a bit when I first found out.

  9. TLynn says:

    Congratulations to Wendy!
    I have been surprised by several things, but three stand out the most: that Mary went to college on a scholarship, that another family lived with the Ingalls family during the long winter, and that Laura actually flew in an airplane.

  10. Melody says:

    It sounds silly, but I was shocked when I learned as a teenager that the events of the Little House books weren’t actually true. The timeline of events–that they went to Kansas when Laura was actually too young to remember it, that the family ran a hotel in Iowa that was never mentioned–really shocked me. Until that point, I had always believed that the stories in the books were as true as could be! (I remember marveling as a 10 year old at the capacity of Laura’s memory, and wondering if there was something wrong with me, given that I couldn’t remember my childhood as well as I thought she could!)

  11. Deb says:

    I remember being shocked that the Boast’s tried to “buy” Laura and Almanzo’s baby. It felt so tragic and lonely and incredibly personal. Although it’s never clear whether the Boasts were infertile or just had no children live past infancy it is one of the more hard and adult truths in The First Four Years.

  12. Nanc in Ashland says:

    I was surprised to learn Laura had a thing for Cap Garland! Bad boy of the prairie who had a good heart and died too soon.

    • LauriOH says:

      I’m truly curious about this statement. Why do you think Cap is the bad boy on the prairie?

      • Deanne says:

        My answer to this (I have no idea how Nanc feels). I always felt that Cap was somewhat of a rebel, not a rule follower. When the schoolchildren set off to walk home in the blizzard and are all told to stay together, only Cap sets off alone when he feels that the group is headed to the open prairie. Add in his daring trip with Almanzo during the Long Winter, and he is practically the James Dean of DeSmet!

  13. Jaime Brooks says:

    I was surpised to know that Nellie Olsen did not really exist. She was based on two girls Nellie Owens, and Genevieve Masters. I wonder if Laura kept up with any of her classmates after she left Dakota?

  14. Julie says:

    I’ve always appreciated that while Laura described so beautifully the joys and warmth of family and community life, she also wrote in frightening detail, about the sadness and darkness of some events. In particular, I remember her description of staying with the Brewster’s for several weeks when she was first hired to teach school, and her detailed description of the what was likely a serious untreated mental illness in Mrs. Brewster, to the point that she threatens her husband with a knife one night. Even though these books were sensitively written for young readers, I’m glad she chose not to gloss over these real sorrows in people’s lives.

  15. Deanne says:

    My most recent surprise was that one of the drunk men that Laura sees while she is sewing for Mrs. White in town is Mary Powers’ father. Did I read that here/ i can’t remember.

  16. Aubri says:

    I was surprised to learn that the food in Farmer Boy that Laura wrote about was a bit exaggerated because of the fact that there were times in Laura’s childhood when she went hungry.

  17. Paula says:

    I suppose I was amazed that Pa and the family fled town under the radar when the family lived in Burr Oak, Iowa. The Pa from the books probably wouldn’t have done that.

  18. Jenna Galley says:

    I was surprised to learn how small the surveryor’s house from Wendy’s modern perspective…..Laura portrayed it as being enormous!

  19. Janel says:

    A few years ago I had the chance to visit Pepin, WI. I was shocked to see that the Little House in the Big Woods was now surrounded by farm fields. I also had no idea until I visited the area that the lake was actually a part of the Mississippi River! Lots of surprises in that trip, but so nice to visit the museum and see some of Laura’s possessions.

  20. Dawn Sanders says:

    I was excited to learn that Laura’s middle name is Elizabeth, which is the same as my middle name. It’s clearly an indication that she and I are soul mates.

  21. Joan Cresimore says:

    Tell me more about the Boast’s and Laura and Almanzo’s baby. I do not remember about reading about that before.

  22. Sandra Ray says:

    In my readings of The Little House books and biographies, I have always been surprised to read that the Ingalls shared their home with another family during the Hard Winter, that they ran a hotel for some period of time, and that the Big Woods weren’t as sparsely inhabited as Laura describes in Little House in the Big Woods. I also find the notion that I could actually see with my own eyes Pa’s fiddle to be so emotional–when I someday make it to Mansfield MO, I know I will be overcome to see it.

  23. I remember reading a factoid book about Laura – my childhood obsession/idol! – and discovering that Almanzo actually had another sister named Laura that was left out of the books to avoid confusion with the author. Imagine how disappointed she must have been to be excluded!

  24. Julia Hanauer-Milne says:

    I was surprised that Almanzo and Rose called Laura Bessie in real life to avoid confusion with Almanzo’s sister Laura.

  25. Sarah says:

    I re-read The Long Winter every winter. I was blown away after seeing pictures of the train buried in snow, and learning that there really was a blizzard that long and harsh. I guess I always hoped it was exaggerated, it made it easier on me. Now I read it with a lot more awe and respect.

  26. I’ve learned to do a lot of food preservation, including making cheese. I use animal rennet, as in Little House in the Big Woods. As a suburban kid now living in a semi-rural area, the transition was surprisingly easy. I think this is because I internalized the lessons of self-sufficiency from Wilder’s books.

  27. Julie Welch says:

    I was absolutly shocked when I went to Mansfield Missouri and they were calling Almanzo….. Almanzo,with the man in his name sounding like the man in Mansfield not like AlmOnzo like it sounded on the tv show. When I inquired about this they seemed to have never been asked this before but did say to me “why would Laura call him Manly if it was pronounced the tv show way.”I have since noticed that Dean Butler has changed the way he says it and in fact Laura in the CD Laura Speaks says it the “man” way!! I have since been saying it properly but its very hard to start saying somebody’s name differently when you’ve said it that way for years!!

  28. Bybee says:

    I was so surprised when it came out that the Little House books were a collaboration between Laura and Rose. It’s a happy collaboration, though. Like Lennon and McCartney, neither is quite as good alone (Laura – “The First Four Years” Rose – “Let the Hurricane Roar”) as together. Gotta give Laura the edge though, because she’s certainly got the interesting stories.

  29. Becky says:

    One thing I found a bit sad…. how close Laura was to her family and friends in the books, yet once she and Almanzo moved away from De Smet there seemed to be very little contact (letters or visits on either side).

    • ElizaJane says:

      I’ve often thought this as well. When you think about the fact that Laura was just in her early 20s when they left for Missouri, she only spent a small fraction of her life with her family and then it was pretty much sayonara.

  30. Stephanie says:

    There are a ton of interesting facts, one of the most surprising for me is that the ingalls left Burr Oak in the middle of the night to avoid paying the rent they owed on the house they lived in. I think Pa mailed him the money later, not sure though…

  31. Susan says:

    I was intrigued to learn that Laura was of small statue like myself! I was fortunate to tour her last home in Rocky Ridge a couple of summers ago. Her kitchen was made to fit her – lower counters along with everything else within her reach. It fit me JUST right – except I don’t like to cook!

  32. This is such a great book. I really enjoyed it.

  33. Congratulations, Wendy!

    What fascinates me the most is how much Laura depicted accurately in her books, actually! I was one of those kids who took the shock hard when I found out that the books were not an exact depiction of Laura’s childhood :). But as I’ve grown and researched, it really amazes me to see how many details she indeed remembered accurately as she was writing these books some 50- to 60-ish years later. Either she had a great memory or she had been retelling some of those stories through her years.

  34. Katie Warner says:

    My first memory of the Little House world is listening to my mother read “Little House In The Big Woods” to me for the first tme, and how I marveled at how something as simple as an inflated pig’s bladder or the roasting of a pig’s tail could sound like so much fun, and that it was a form of entertainment way back then. The fact that these simple activities could be written in such a way that enchants readers of any age is something that I’ve always loved, and something which I tried hard to put into my own novel.

  35. Dana DeBruine says:

    I was surprised that Laura’s daughter helped so much with the putting together the books.

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