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Little House In the Big Woods Of My OWN

Aug 12, 2009

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Reported by

Barrie Hardymon

Confession: I am a Little House fanatic. I am — and anyone can vouch for this — wearing a covered wagon charm around my neck, I perk up at the thought of "vanity cakes," De Smet is a location dear to my heart, and I still crave, but have never sampled, maple syrup on snow. Lizzie Skurnick, who was on our show a few weeks ago, and is one of my favorite Little House lovers (and people, for that matter), has chronicled the LH obsession — but rarely do I read about the authors themselves. Imagine, then, my joy when producer Gisele Grayson and reporter Liz Halloran alerted me to even more juicy LH writing — Judith Thurman's New Yorker piece about Laura Ingalls Wilder, and her daughter Rose, and a Salon post on Broadsheet about that article. Rose, as it turns out, was a firebrand, though, not always with happy results:

The struggle against authority defined Rose's life. She railed against a mother who had infantilized her (even though she returned the favor), and at a President who, she believed, was infantilizing a free republic. ("I hoped that Roosevelt would be killed in 1933," she wrote to her agent, George Bye, who also represented Eleanor Roosevelt.) She fought a valiant losing battle for the psychic freedom necessary to write something authentic, yet she was beholden to her parents for her greatest literary successes.

It's fascinating reading about the ladies we love, and would make great watching too (much better than the deadly dull Edies of Grey Gardens — apologies to G. Gardens Fanatics). And thanks to the LH lovers at the Washington Desk!

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