Monday, April 25, 2016

Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography by Laura Ingalls Wilder, edited by Pamela Smith Hill

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Publication date: 2014
Publisher: South Dakota Historical Society Press
Pages: 370
My rating: 3 stars
Ages: 16+

From pioneer girl to beloved children's writer, Laura Ingalls Wilder was and continues to be a major part of American history. In the never before read first draft of her autobiography, she details the family's many moves and hardships.

While very interesting, this wasn't quite what I was expecting. This was the result of a documentary editing project. Having worked on a similar project, I understand the amount of work and research that goes into creating a volume like this. And I found the introduction very interesting, but I wish that the footnotes had been endnotes--either at the end of the section or at the end of the book. The notes got in the way of reading the book, sometimes taking up an entire page or two. For others, all the notes might be of interest, but there were only a few times when I wanted more information.

I found it very interesting to learn how Wilder's real life differed from the fictional Laura's in the Little House books. Before reading the autobiography, I had read somewhere that some people believed that Wilder's daughter, Rose, actually wrote the novels. However, Wilder's writing was very similar to the novels and Hill goes into detail about their relationship as writer and editor. To tell the truth, Rose seemed like a little bit of a piece of work. But I'll let the reader decide that for themselves.

Because it's so historical, I think that younger children who would be able to read the novels would not find the autobiography so interesting.

*I do not receive compensation from Amazon. 

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