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Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer's Life (South Dakota Biography Series) Paperback – September 1, 2007
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Pamela Smith Hill has [created] a work of considerable scholarship and insight. . . . She has dealt along the way with numerous issues raised by critics and by the general readership, together with other matters that few have previously thought to discuss. In all of this, her extensive research, her careful scholarship and her measured style, combined with her obvious enthusiasm for her subject, have produced a work which we believe adds in substantial measure to the critical literature involving Wilder and Lane. --The Little House Heritage Trust
I vote for Pamela Smith Hill s book. I ve read all of the Bio s about Laura and felt that this one was one of the best. It gave a very clear portrait of the relationship Laura and Rose had while writing the books. It pointed out very clearly that even if Rose had some participation with editing/story development, the stories were Laura s. Smith points out that Rose s experience with writing fiction was limited, that she wrote for magazines and was not generally considered a fiction writer. Only short stories. --Lori Berg, Beyond Little House
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
As an author of children's historical fiction herself, Pamela Smith Hill gives ample insight into the craft of Wilder's writing, drawing attention to a great many elements of the structure and theme of the Little House books that I'd never put together myself. Based on those observations, Hill presents a compelling case that despite being steeped in historical and autobiographical details, Wilder's books are indeed fiction -- a personal history consciously trimmed and molded to fit the form and countours of the novel.
Hill also tackles the fascinating editorial partnership between Laura Ingalls Wilder and daughter Rose Wilder Lane, pointing out with concrete examples how the combination of each woman's natural strengths and gifts contributed to the overall shape and tone of Wilder's novels. Thankfully, Hill manages to keep Rose's dynamic and voilatile personality from overpowering the second half of the book, all the while giving an uncluttered assessment of Rose's role in bringing the Little House stories to print.
I have no complaints about this book. Not a single one.
After reading this book, I feel that I know and understand Laura much better. It turned her from a literary character into a real woman who lived the life of a farm wife. Such facts, like the true story of the long winter, were amazing. I only felt that it sort of left Almanzo out of the picture most of the time while concentrating on Laura and Rose. In my mind, you just can't have Laura without Almanzo, and I would have liked to hear more about him.
Over the years I've read everything I could get my hands on about Laura. I have also visited all the sites in her books as well as Mansfield, MO a number of times. I thought I knew all there was to know, but this book proved me wrong.
A WRITER'S LIFE is by no means a bad biography - but... I did feel that the author was somewhat harsh in her judgments about Rose Wilder Lane, and about the quality of Rose Wilder Lane's writing. This biography of Laura reveals that RWL was a deeply conflicted woman (conflicted in her feelings about her parents, and about her childhood)-and what did Laura's (and Almanzo's) parenting methods have to do with that? It's an interesting question that is, obviously, not to be fully explored in a biography of Laura - but it bothered me that the author was uniformly tough on RWL's writings in the interests of praising Laura's writing to the hilt (although she does give RWL kudos for her fine editorial work on the Little House series). Her view of RWL, both as a person and as a writer, lacked objectivity, I thought.
But it must be said this biography is very fine in its research and its discussion of Laura's growth as a writer, and exploring the creation of the Little House books.
What it lacks, for me, is what all biographies of Laura seem to lack - the "real" Laura. I don't want, really, to read again how she used her childhood experiences in the Little House series, what she left out and what she changed. I don't want to read any more about her dealings with publishers, her fans, and her adorable little-old-lady behavior at library and literary functions. I don't want to hear her praised (although as a writer she is worthy of it, I'm just tired of biographers who ladle it on).Read more ›
I stumbled over the author's writing style at times. The comparisons between Wilder's actual childhood and her stories sometimes read like a high school essay. And it'd be a richer read with a little more research on details from outside Wilder's immediate world, such as the market for authors at that time, who was successful, what were other popular books, etc. Last, I also thought the author worked in her own conclusions about Laura and Rose's relationship that weren't actually documented.
Critism aside, I really enjoyed reading this and learning more about Wilder's experience as an author. It is a very nice addition to biographies about Wilder for adults.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Got this book for a class. Had the info I needed and was available instantlyPublished 2 days ago by Joy
I love reading about the "real" Laura Ingalls Wilder. It's really interesting to see the complex relationship between Laura and her daughter Rose. Read morePublished 5 days ago by JenC0529
A must for all Laura fans! I only wish there was more information available.Published 22 days ago by TJS
Interesting account of Wilder's original writing and how it got published after many revisions. Her daughter's role in her writing is interesting. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Bought this book for an online class with the author, but very interesting reading for any Little House fan.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
I found this book to be informative. The timelines and other facts of Laura's life are in keeping with other biographies of her life that I have read. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Anoron
I've read a few Wilder biographies and recently reread the Little House series. In addition, I've been deep into looking for Wilder information on-line. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Laurie