Set in Iowa in the 1930’s, Little Heathens is a memoir of the author’s childhood, raised by her grandparents and mother on a farm in Iowa during the Great Depression.
Sprinkled throughout the book are many fun stories of what it was like to live in those days. Hard work, yes, but also the close knit family and community really come alive in this chronicle. The book does seem disjointed at times, but is written with each chapter as a different subject, as if you were sitting down with “Millie” and asking her about “school” or “cooking” during her youth.
The reviews of this book on Goodreads are all over the place. Frankly, I loved this book, but I love hearing about stories like these, and often peppered my elderly relatives with questions about the “old days.” Kalish inserts a myriad of recipes into the book, which I loved and want to try. Others thought the book could have done without them. But in my opinion, like the stories, the recipes deserved a place in the book because they should be saved for posterity. If not here, then surely they would be lost. So, I will recommend this book to anyone who likes learning about the past, particularly farm life during the early 20th century.
3 1/2 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2008