Customer Reviews for

Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression

Average Rating 4
( 44 )
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(22)

4 Star

(10)

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(7)

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(2)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

GREAT READ FOR THOSE WHO GREW UP IN THE MIDWEST

This book was so good and brought back so many memories that I sent copies to each of my sisters,

posted by 596246 on February 23, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

The book was good enough, but doesn't deserve Top 10 for the year

I was excited to read this because I saw it was on the NYT's Top Ten Books of the Year list. But the book didn't live up to the hype! I would use the words "quaint" or "dear" to describe it. I felt like I was listening to my grandmother tell a story that seemed intere...
I was excited to read this because I saw it was on the NYT's Top Ten Books of the Year list. But the book didn't live up to the hype! I would use the words "quaint" or "dear" to describe it. I felt like I was listening to my grandmother tell a story that seemed interesting at first, but then repeated itself and ran on a little too long.
It was a book club read, so I did a little research. It turns out this was exactly what I described-- stories she had written down for her grandchildren, just to preserve the memories. Turns out a friend of a friend was a publisher and offered to publish the book and ended up being a much bigger deal than she ever intended.
Finally, I have to say that this was billed as such a good exploration of life in the Depression. The story, to me, did not have as much of the hard times that I would have expected from a farm in the middle of the Great Depression. The author's family seemed to do pretty well, eat pretty well, and not face as many of the challenges that I expected. Made the book a little less enlightening to me.

posted by BookClubReader on June 20, 2009

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  • Posted April 12, 2009

    View into the past

    Mildred Kalish is a wonderful storyteller. She includes just the right details, snippets of conversation and description to make the characters come alive. Even though she writes about her family, she makes reader feel part of her Iowa clan. I would rank it right up there with Ralph Moody's Little Britches, or even Laura Ingalls Wilder's reminiscences.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2009

    GREAT READ FOR THOSE WHO GREW UP IN THE MIDWEST

    This book was so good and brought back so many memories that I sent copies to each of my sisters,

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 14, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Charming!

    This book is hard to explain - it's about a simple life during the depression, but somehow I couldn't put it down. The stories about Ms. Kalish's family are funny, touching and an easy way to learn some history.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2008

    A great book!

    Should be required reading for high school students. Could not put it down.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2008

    Wonderful

    I loved this book. It made me feel like I could write the story of my own growing-up years and someone would actually want to read it. I've already tried the recipe for 'porcupines' and bought a copy for my mother!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2007

    A Treasure Trove of Memories!

    Little Heathens consists of the memories of the early life of Mildred, who as a young girl during the Great Depression lived along with her siblings and mother on a farm in rural Iowa with her strict but loving grandparents. And what a colorful life it was! My grandmother recently passed away and hearing these stories reminded me of the stories she used to tell me of her childhood during this time. I now know how very important it is to keep a record of one's memories. It gentley seals the people you love in time. It is our legacy, our history. The events in this book, the recipes, the words of wisdom are all priceless. Mildred pulls us into the 1930's with her and weaves a magical journey of self-discovery while teaching us the values of family and self-reliance. A facsinating and unforgettable read.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A reviewer

    Mildred Armstrong Kalish provides a deep look back to growing up on a farm in Iowa during the Depression. Ms. Kalish¿s family of seven lived a frugal lifestyle in which three generations resided in the home with the only missing person being her exiled father although why she was not sure. Her cousins lived on nearby farms so the extended family was nearby to help if needed. ---- The key to this superb discerning memoir is Ms. Kalish avoids acrimony and sugared (except when grandpa bought some) nostalgia to provide a vivid picture of a bygone era in which an extended family was there to raise the children with positive values. Life on the farm during harsh economic conditions was fun to a preadolescent Mildred although some chores were simply work. With black and white pictures to enhance the era and ¿farm food¿ recipes that were not microwave, LITTLE HEATHENS is a well written winner providing a powerful look at the 1930s in the Midwest. Ms. Kalish showcases how different life was back then from today when for instance the three Klausner brothers live in Georgia, New Jersey and Texas respectively and outhouses is a Three Stooges¿ joke. ---- Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2013

    I love it!!!!

    WONDERFUL BOOK!!!! I'm still reading it but I cannot put it down!!!!

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  • Posted October 12, 2011

    I love reading Little Heathens.

    I had borrowed it from the library. After reading a few chapters, I knew that I had to own the book. I ordered an extra one for a gift. I want my children to read it when they are older.

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  • Posted September 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    True Americana

    This book honours a time, place and way of life that unfortunately is lost to most of us today. This book is a joy to read, allowing one to live vicariously the happy childhood that Ms. Kalish so joyously shares.

    Family is the central focal point. It is, in fact the importance of family ties that drive the entire book. Each story stresses the bonds that hold family together through the thick and inevitable thin of farm life and the Great Depression.

    It was the love and commitment of family that made each experience, each memory so ingrained and important to Mildred, as a child and sustained her throughout her life.

    It is both a pleasure and a privilege to read this book. While not an easy life given the hardship of the times, it was a beautiful life. That Ms. Kalish immortalizes this time and life makes it all the more special. The way of life, the innocence and true simple pleasures may be gone. But thanks to Mildred Armstrong Kalish they will remain in hearts and minds. The spirit remains in this beautiful memoir.

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  • Posted August 8, 2011

    This came at a great time.

    I started thhis book the day after I came back from my grandma's funeral . She was 102 and had been a Minnesota farm girl and farm wiife . She was salt of the earth type ......just like the grandprentxs in this wonderful book. I have read probably thousands of books and i sincerely say this was one of the very best !!!!! July 2011.

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  • Posted July 5, 2011

    Entertaining and educational

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Posted May 12, 2010

    Little Heathens is wonderfully nostalgic recounting of memories of growing up during Great Depression in an Iowa farming community.

    I grew up in the same community hearing stories of our families experiences before and during the Great Depression. The names and places mentioned in her book are the same I grew up hearing and seeing. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the author's experiences and share the nostalgia she feels. Reading this book felt like sitting in the kitchen hearing stories and anecdotes told by my parents and grandparents.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2009

    Great Read!!!

    I'm going to read this book again as soon as my friend is done reading it. I loved this book!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2008

    Enthralling

    I loved this book. I am going to get several for family and friends as gifts. I know it will be appreciated. Speaks to several generations. I can see my grandmother, mother and even my own experiences in the writings of this author's memories.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2007

    Former Iowan loved this book!

    I grew up in Iowa from 1948-1962 and though I am younger than the author, I was amazed at how similar my childhood was to hers. It brought sentimental tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat as I read. The author told her story in an entertaining style and got you right into it immediately. I read it straight through then went out and bought copies for my parents and my best friend--also former Iowans.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2010

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    Posted October 29, 2008

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    Posted February 20, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2011

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