Before The Little House on the Prairie and the rest of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s series, there was her autobiographical rough draft. This original draft has been compiled and edited by Pamela Smith Hill in Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography. Hill opens the book with an introduction explaining, to the best of her knowledge through extensive research, what inspired Wilder to write her autobiography and the process of revising it, with her adult daughter who was already a successful author at that time, to be marketable to a publisher. Ultimately, this meant changing the audience from adults to children, and switching genres from autobiography to novel by fictionalizing portions of the novel. In addition to Wilder’s original draft, Hill includes several photos and hundreds of detailed annotations that provide more information about the people, places, events, and writing process between the autobiography and the published novels.
“Once upon a time years and years ago, Pa stopped the horses and the wagon they were hauling away out on the prairie in Indian Territory.”
This book is a must for anyone who has grown up with Wilder’s novels. It is fascinating to revisit the world of this shared childhood once again with an adult perspective.
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