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This book is the non-fiction account of one grown up little girl's obsession with the mostly fictional "Little House" series of books, written by Laura Ingalls Wilder and her daughter Rose Wilder Lane. The author makes several pilgrimages to the shrines and museums and 'homeplaces' that have been erected at various stopping points of the Ingalls' real 19th Century nomadic lives. It looks at the difference between people who read the books and people who only know the TV series. It pokes some fun at the people who live in "Laura World" all the time and those who, like the author, just want to experience it for a weekend or several weekends. It's a book I wish I had written.
I read this book in print form and really liked it; I only bought the audio because I thought I could enjoy listening to it more than once (one of the main criteria for purchasing an audiobook). WRONG! Teri Clark Linden is simply not up to the task of narrator. She reads as if she has not seen the material before: emphasizing a random word of a sentence; not emphasizing a key word; pausing in the middle of a sentence for no reason; making up stupid voices for incidental characters in the book, etc... The content of the book is really fascinating so the mangling of the narration was distracting and sometimes infuriating.
I would not recommend this book to anyone who hasn't read and been enchanted by at least some of the "Little House" books. You need an appreciation for the spirit of Laura Ingalls Wilder, even if you don't share the author's passion for ALL things Wilder. She makes a good case for not delving too deeply into childhood obsessions, by the way. Disillusionment lurks around every corner.
The book is sweet and sad and funny and touching. It's just too bad they (publisher? author?) chose this particular narrator. She makes the book sound badly written, even though I know it is not. A shame. Get a better narrator and I'd even buy the book again!
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
What made the experience of listening to The Wilder Life the most enjoyable?
The story was fine, light but interesting to anyone who has enjoyed Laura Ingles Wilder's Little House books. The story was fine. The narration was not. The upspeak? It permeated the entire nearly eleven hours? It seemed to get worse? as you went along? with every fourth word? turning into a question? whether it was written that way? or not? How did this ever get by the editors...or listeners or whoever it is that makes sure the narration does not sound like a high school girl trying to impress her friends? The only thing worse would have been having Moon Unit Zappa read it in Valley Girl. I happened to see the paperback version of book in a bookstore? and I looked? just to make sure that the author? had not included all those question marks? She had not.
What other book might you compare The Wilder Life to and why?
It's a light history/biography, actually more of a fan odyssey. I think if read properly it might have felt more substantial but when every phrase becomes a question? even War and Peace? can sound like fluff? The fact that I put up with the horrible narration to listen to the whole thing does say something about how interesting the book is. Teri Clark Linden does Wendy McClure a real disservice.
Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Teri Clark Linden?
Anyone. Alvin and the Chipmunks would have been less annoying
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
No. One can only endure the narration in small dosages
Any additional comments?
I will never buy anything? narrated by Teri Clark Linden? again?
7 of 7 people found this review helpful