Little Heathens : Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression
More About Little Heathens by Mildred Armstrong Kalish
- ISBN-13: 9780553384246
- ISBN-10: 0553384244
- Publisher: Bantam
- Publish Date: April 2008
- Page Count: 292
- Dimensions: 8.26 x 5.58 x 0.56 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.73 pounds
This beautifully written memoir takes place on an Iowa farm during the Great Depression. Kalishnow a retired English teacheroffers a plainspoken yet poetic account of her upbringing in a large family during this dark chapter in America's past. The family numbers seven, including grandparents and siblings, and in spite of numerous hardships, the clan manages to find moments of joy and occasions for celebration. The book derives its plot, in part, from the routine of farm life. There are animals to tend to, meals to be cooked, clothes to be washed. The domestic scenes are delightfully drawn: Gossip and stories are exchanged in the kitchen, and in the unheated bedrooms the children sleep under piles of quilts. Family expenditures are limited to necessities like kerosene, flour, coffee, sugar and salt. Kalish writes about everyday chores and family life with relish, adding enough humor and vivid imagery to make the reader savor every anecdote. Recreating the Midwest of her past, she writes with flair and an eye for the telling detail. Her recollections of neighbors and kinfolks, a life lived off the land, and a slower approach to daily existence feel at once old-fashioned and fresh. This is a spirited narrative about survival that fans of memoir will welcome.
A reading group guide is available online at randomhouse.com/bantamdell/bookclub.html.