Pioneer Girl: A Review by Ms. Pang

Source: Pioneer Girl By Laura Ingalls Wilder Edited by Pamela Smith Hill

Source: Pioneer Girl
By Laura Ingalls Wilder
Edited by Pamela Smith Hill

Have you ever read historical fiction and been consumed by the question of what really happened? If you wondered about the real life of the Ingalls family from the Little House on the Prairie series, Pioneer Girl is the book for you. I grew up reading about Laura, Mary, Pa, Ma, and little baby Grace, their dog Jack, and their travels across the west by covered wagon in the decades after the Civil War. The books were written in the 1930s for children, and they were based on Laura’s life. I wondered, as I grew older, what was real, and what was fiction? Now, thanks to editor Pamela Smith Hill, I have been able to dive into Laura Ingalls Wilder’s first autobiographical account, Pioneer Girl, fully annotated with extensive research, illustrated with amazing primary sources. Hill includes an extensive introduction covering Wilder’s writing process and her collaboration with her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, who also published novels based on her mother’s experiences. If you ever wondered about the real Nellie Olson (based on several girls) or the railroad company Pa worked for, or the cutter Almanzo Wilder drove, it is all here, footnoted and ready for you to dive in.

 

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