Soon You Can Read Laura Ingalls Wilder's Original, Adults-Only Memoir


Another addition to your fall reading list: The autobiography that Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote before ultimately fictionalizing her life story for younger audiences will finally be published.

That’s according to the AP. Wilder and her daughter, Rose, shopped a draft of Pioneer Girl to publishers in the 30s, but nobody bit until it was revamped into the famous children’s series that would include Little House on the Prairie. (This New Yorker piece has more background.) The South Dakota State Historical Society Press will be publish the surviving draft with added annotations.

This edition of Pioneer Girl will include scenes originally cut as too mature, like the one in which “a neighbor of the Ingalls’ pours kerosene throughout his bedroom, sets it on fire and proceeds to drunkenly drag his wife around by her hair before Wilder’s father — Pa in the children’s books — intervenes.” Minnesota State University-Mankato prof Amy Lauters says it’s not exactly that the original is mad scandalous:

“It’s just that that first version was blunt, it was honest. It was full of the everyday sorts of things that we don’t care to think about when we think about history,” said Lauters, who has read the original manuscript and also is writing a book on Rose Wilder Lane. “And it’s certainly not the fantasized version we saw on ‘Little House on the Prairie’ the television show.”

Sounds plenty juicy to me!

(h/t NPR)

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