Book Review: Wilder’s “Little House in the Big Woods”

I remember the first time I read Little House in the Big Woods. I was maybe 8 years old, and I would curl up in the bright pink bean bag chair in the storage room of my family’s espresso shop. My parents had bought me the Little House boxed set from a local lady who sold homeschool curriculum, and I immediately loved the cover drawings of the smiling family adventuring in a covered wagon. I enjoyed the childish antics and the stories about old ways of living.

Reading it again all these years later, it felt like sitting beside a quiet stream of memory, the only sound the wind rustling the leaves of paper and past. It was like a pause from the chaos, a deep rest in a slower space. I couldn’t help but wonder — did reading these old children’s books plant the seeds of simplicity in my heart? Was that when I started to dream of living life free from what we call modern society?

As a girl, I remember growing impatient at times with the long descriptions of how Pa made the smoke shed or how Ma prepared the hominy. This time, I relished the information woven throughout the story. I admired the faith of people who lived truly day to day, without the fragile securities technology affords us. It was beautiful to read how they could carve out sustenance in ways that fit within the ancient seasons and systems of the earth.

But more than anything, I was inspired. People used to live free on the world. If they could do it, that means it’s possible.

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