Laura Ingalls Wilder Autobiography

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Hands up who loved the Little House on the Prairie books?  Not just me then?  Thought not.  Then you might be a teensy bit interested in the forthcoming publication of Pioneer Girl – Laura Ingalls Wilder’s autobiography.

Now the writer’s autobiography, from which she drew the material that has delighted readers for decades, will be published this autumn for the first time, more than 80 years after she first wrote it.  Wilder’s Pioneer Girl, the story of her childhood, was begun by the author in 1930, when she was in her early 60s, but was rejected by editors at the time. It contains stories omitted from her novels, tales that Wilder herself felt “would not be appropriate” for children, such as her family’s sojourn in the town of Burr Oak, where she once saw a man became so drunk that, when he lit a cigar, the whisky fumes on his breath ignited and killed him instantly. In another recollection, a shopkeeper drags his wife around by her hair, pours kerosene on the floor of his house, and sets their bedroom on fire.  Wilder’s memoir also paints a different picture of her father, Charles Ingalls, known in the novels as Pa.

Read more in The Guardian article called Laura Ingalls Wilder memoir reveals truth behind Little House on the Prairie.

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3 responses »

  1. I heard about this from my daughter who was a huge Wilder fan. I didn’t read them. I’m sure I would have loved them if I’d come across them when I was a child but I didn’t. I think it was the TV series that brought them to my attention and that probably raised the profile of her books here? I’ve read too something about the role of her daughter (Rose is it?) in advising her mum on writing her books.

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    • You’re right, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s daughter Rose is said to have substantially edited (revised? rewritten?) the ‘Little House’ books. Where does editing end and rewriting begin, I wonder. I devoured these books as a child but I’m a little afraid to go back to them as an adult, in case my glowing memory of them is tarnished. I’ll read the autobiography with interest though.

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