Roughing It In The Bush by Susanna Moodie
I found this book at the library’s ongoing used book sale for $1. I read it before during university, and now that I’m both building a personal library and have fully realized that I love books that describe the minutiae of living, it was an easy sell. I enjoyed reading it again but, as in university, I still missed the more literary aspects of this biography cum novel – such as what the family’s move at the end means to all the chapters before it about the value of living in the bush. The essay at the end of this edition showed me that and reminded me that I need a more critical eye.
First published in 1852, this book created an international sensation, not only for Susanna Moodie’s “glowing narrative of personal incident”, but also for her firm determination to puncture the illusions European land-agents were circulating about life in Canada. This frank and fascinating chronicle details her harsh – and humorous – experiences in homesteading with her family in the woods of Upper Canada.
Part documentary, part psychological parable, this book is, above all, an honest account of how one woman coped not only in a new world, but more importantly, with herself.