Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House series of short stories that loosely inspired plotlines of the popular television series Little House on the Prairie, will have her memoirs posthumously published Monday.
The South Dakota State Historical Society Press is releasing Prairie Girl: The Annotated Autobiography, which Wilder unsuccessfully tried to have published before the Little House on the Prairie NBC series debuted in 1974.
The television hit starring Michael Landon was based off of Wilder’s series of Little House children’s books, though the autobiography takes a more adult-oriented tone.
Prairie Girl: The Annotated Autobiography, which was edited by Pamela Smith Hill, contains accounts that inspired Wilder’s more personal writing. It includes annotations, images, appendices and maps that describe the hardships of frontier living. The tales include forthright accounts of domestic abuse, love triangles gone wrong and a man who lit himself afire while intoxicated.
Fans of ABC’s cult hit LOST might realize that all rogues, cads, hapless knaves and men without scruples are naturally captivated by the life-lessons that can be gleaned from watching reruns of Little House:
Actress Melissa Gilbert played Wilder on Little House on the Prairie, which ran from 1974 to 1984. The series, which was set in Walnut Grove, Minnesota, explored a myriad of social intricacies. Alcoholism, racism, adoption, drug addiction, cancer, rape and blindness were exhibited during the decade-long run of the show.
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Wilder, 1867-1957, got her start in writing after being invited to submit an article to the Missouri Ruralist in 1911, which led to a permanent position as a writer and editor with that publication.
The Stock Market Crash of 1929 decimated Wilder’s savings, though she and her husband still had the deed a 200 acre farm they couldn’t realistically afford to maintain. In hopes of generating more income, Wilder began writing her Little House series, with encouragement from her daughter Rose.
The book is priced at $39.95, and will be available in bookstores, online and directly from the South Dakota State Historical Society Press.