“Do you think you know Laura Ingalls Wilder?"
That is the question posed by the publishers of Wilder’s “new” autobiography, Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography.
Of course, the memoir is not new at all. In fact Wilder wrote it before she even wrote her well-known Little House on the Prairie series. But she could not get a publisher to carry it at the time.
Now, 57 years after Wilder’s death, a more realistic account of her life, which was idealized and fictionalized in the Little House book series and television show, can be seen.
Pamela Smith Hill, author of Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer’s Life and three young adult novels, edited Wilder’s original manuscript, and there are lots of add-on goodies to make the reading come alive. According to the South Dakota State Historical Society, which is publishing the book:
Pioneer Girl follows the Ingalls family's journey through Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, back to Minnesota, and on to Dakota Territory sixteen years of travels, unforgettable experiences, and the everyday people who became immortal through Wilder's fiction. Using additional manuscripts, letters, photographs, newspapers, and other sources, award-winning Wilder biographer Pamela Smith Hill adds valuable context and leads readers through Wilder's growth as a writer. Do you think you know Laura? Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography will re-introduce you to the woman who defined the pioneer experience for millions.
Barnes and Noble Booksellers said of the book:
Hidden away since 1930, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s original autobiography reveals the true stories of her pioneering life. Some of her experiences will be familiar; some will be a surprise. Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography re-introduces readers to the woman who defined the pioneer experience for millions of people around the world.
The Little House series ran on television for nine seasons, from 1974 to 1983. That was long enough for audiences to follow Laura, portrayed by Melissa Gilbert, as a little girl until she married her sweetheart Almanzo Wilder. The real-life Laura and Almanzo married when she was 18 and he was 28. They were together for over 60 years. He died in 1949, she in 1957.