Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography

Pioneer Girl Book Cover Pioneer Girl
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Biography & Autobiography
2014-09-01

Laura Ingalls Wilder's unedited, and unpublished, draft of her autobiography that was written for an adult audience and eventually served as the foundation for her popular Little House on the Prairie series includes not-safe-for-children tales that feature stark scenes of domestic abuse, love triangles gone awry and a man who lit himself on fire while drunk off whiskey.

 

Review:

As with many readers, much of my early reading involved the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Of course, that world was also brought into our homes through the television series of the same name.  It is not a stretch to say it has been a beloved staple of childhood for generations, including my own.  Therefore, I was thrilled to get an advanced copy “Pioneer Girl:  The Annotated Biography” through the Goodreads First Reads program in exchange for an honest review.

Here comes the honesty: this edition of “Pioneer Girl”  is an absolute must have for all Laura Ingalls Wilder fans, fans of either form of Little House on the Prairie, as well as anyone interested in the history of the great plains.  It is everything I hoped it would be and more.

The annotations are thorough and include little known facts about Mrs. Wilder herself, but also about the daily living of her time.  Photos give a wonderful glimpse into the real people behind the stories and include such additions of schoolyard play in small towns.  Her life comes alive in the minds of readers thanks to the photography and annotations.

Perhaps the biggest draw of “Pioneer Girl” is it was written as more of a diary of memories, skipping back and forth as her mind saw fit, and it was not changed as the Little House on the Prairie books were to add that little zing of which publishers are so fond.  This is her story, stark, detailed, and wonderful, as she meant it to be.

I give “Pioneer Girl:  The Annotated Autobiography” a hundred stars, but the rating system will only allow me to put five of them here.  And don’t forget, this would make an excellent gift for the fans of Little House in the prairie in your life!

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