Roughing It in the Bush by Susanna Moodie (1852)

moodieRoughing It in the Bush is a blend of memoir and novelization of what it was like to settle in the wilds of Upper Canada during the 1830s. Susanna Moodie shares numerous stories, poems and songs about the hardship, culture shock and disappointment her family experienced, all while falling deeply in love with the beauty of the country.

What I appreciated the most about Roughing It was how the author didn’t romanticize Canada or how nasty she found other immigrants. I feel she painted a realistic and very honest portrait of how hard it was to come from a middle-class background in England and become pioneers, enduring homesickness and the emotional journey one has to take to feel that a new country is home.

The book was boring and it was difficult for me to stay engaged.

Although this is considered a Canadian classic and *important* as a record of our national heritage, I can’t say I would recommend it unless you truly devoted to learning Canadian history. I was hoping to find a Heritage Minute commercial about Susanna Moodie and then stumbled upon the very interesting video below.

3/5 Stars

I was reading Roughing It In the Bush with my friends Naomi and TJ. Did they like the book? Check out their blogs to find out!


6 comments on “Roughing It in the Bush by Susanna Moodie (1852)

  1. Naomi
    March 5, 2016

    I think I liked it more than you did. 🙂
    I thought it was funny and engaging, most of the time. The chapters that her husband wrote were the ones that felt too long. I think I skimmed through the last section he wrote, at the end (Canadian Sketches). I loved all her stories about other people. And I loved getting a first-hand account of Canada in the 1830s. And, I finally got around to looking up The Ague. So many pioneering stories have people suffering from the ague, and I have always wanted to know the cause of it. I assumed it was either the water or the mosquitoes. I’m so glad the malaria-carrying mosquitoes don’t live here anymore!


    • ebookclassics
      March 7, 2016

      The Ague is such a funny name. I think I had to look it up for another book, so I had a fair idea of what is was. Yes, Susanna’s husband’s part was very long and I had a hard time staying interested. Overall, I’m still happy I read the book!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Brian Joseph
    March 5, 2016

    Though I try to appreciate works like this for their writing and other aspects, I understand how such books can get a little dull.

    It is good that the author did not try to whitewash the realities of her experience.


    • ebookclassics
      March 7, 2016

      I was a little disappointed that I didn’t find it interesting, but I was definitely happy to be reading her legendary account. If anything, I felt bad that it didn’t have the affect on me that I anticipated.


  3. TJ @ MyBookStrings
    March 5, 2016

    It looks like we all had a differeent reaction to the book; how fun. I found it a bit too long in parts, but overall, I thought it gave an honest and realistic look at what life was like back then. I’m not sure I could have dealt with it quite as well as Susanna did. First to have to leave everyone and everything you love, then to have to work much more and harder than you ever expected, and then be left alone in the bush with everything and the kids to take care of. The women really were stuck, weren’t they!?


    • ebookclassics
      March 7, 2016

      Yes, I love how we have different feelings about the book. I’m happy I read the book with you and Naomi! I agree those poor women settlers went through hell. I admired Susanna’s patience and can’t imagine dealing with home sickness, culture shock and all the trials by fire she went through.


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