I have never read the Little House books. When people over hype a work to me, I immediately reject it. It’s not because I’m a hipster rejecting everything mainstream. The truth is, if you’ve read my Film Theory and Adaptation Theory papers, that the intertext will not be there for me to love the work as much as these people do, and I know it, because I am left confused–befuddled–by their overt enthusiasm. Why would I not love Little House though? It’s about a girl growing up in a hard environment! You should totally love these books.
There is a period of time in American History of which I am repulsed. It’s the American Western expansion–pioneer time. It was a time of hardship, violence, a lot of rape and murdering and lawlessness. It was a time of zero medical know how (out on the prairie–back at the city universities, they were actually making great advances in the field). Prairie time was the time the First Nations were being slaughtered in earnest–the federal government had put policy into effect to clear them out. It was a time of destruction to a pristine environment. I could go on. The point is, I cannot romanticize these events. There is only a negative intertext for me.
However, if you’ll remember Victor’s writing on critics and how far you should take their opinions–there you go. The fact is, Ingalls Wilder has an autobiography and her enormous fanbase need to hear about it. That I can get behind! This lines up with my assessment of the ‘old prairie’ and gives a less glossed version of the events. When it comes to history, yes, I know the Little House works are fiction, you shouldn’t gloss. Even in fiction, because readers somehow manage to absorb fiction as facts, you should tread carefully–if not accurately about the times of which you write.
Very happy to share that the Historical Society who have put out the bio are super pleased about their author’s success which has trickled down into this book being a big hit with readers all over again. Find out more here: