Long before environmental consciousness became popular, a young nature writer named Opal Whitely captured America’s heart. Opal’s childhood diary, published in 1902, became an immediate bestseller, one of the most talked-about books of its time. Wistful, funny, and wise, it was described by an admirer as “the revelation of the …life of a feminine Peter Pan of the Oregon wilderness—so innocent, so intimate, so haunting, that I should not know where in all literature to look for a counterpart.”
But the diary soon fell into disgrace. Condemning it as an adult-written hoax, skeptics stirred a scandal that drove the book into obscurity and shattered the frail spirit of its author.
Discovering the diary by chance, bestselling author Benjamin Hoff set out to solve the longstanding mystery of its origin. His biography of Opal that accompanies the diary provides fascinating proof that the document is indeed authentic—the work of a magically gifted child, America’s forgotten interpreter of nature.