Dear Laura Ingalls Wilder
I have read and reread your entire Little House on the Prarie saga so many times I can quote from it verbatim. I first got the series when I was 10 years old and living in a former mission hospital in rural South Africa. I still have that set, much battered and bent. Your autobiographical tale of growing up in rural North America and being part of the pioneering generation chimed with my experiences in an isolated outpost, and I loved it. I loved your unorthodox nature, and the fact that you were not a saint (compared to your sister Mary). Above all, I loved the fact that you were an agitator, always wanting to criticise the status quo and wanting to escape women’s corseted future as represented by Ma and your sisters.
Years later I read a biography of you and discovered that you did indeed escape, via journalism and writing and became a famous writer capable of bringing thousands to see you at readings and in book stores. I have read every single of your books to my children, who have been as captivated as I am, although I must confess they didn’t cry so much as I do over the description of the death of Jack the brindle bull dog.
Congratulations on creating an immortal picture of early American life, and a brilliant piece of writing. Simple and clear, I believe anyone could hang a door, thatch a roof or whittle a whistle on the basis of your books.
Your ardent fan