Prarie Fires, The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls WIlder by Caroline Fraser; 2017; $35.00; 625 pages; Metropolitan Books, New York, NY; 978-1-62779-9; checked out from the Multnomah County Library, Hillsdale; 7/14/2018-1/14/2019
Why did I read this? Because in 2016 I decided that I would read the 5 books that won Pultizer Prizes each year, Biography, Non Fiction, Poetry, Fiction and History. This is the Biography winner for 2018.
This is the true story of a story that many of us of a certain age think we know either from reading the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder or watching Little House on the Prairie. The books turn out to be somewhat fictionalized and the television show was more about Michael Landon’s ego than being faithful to the fictionalized stories. Laura Wilder embellished much of her life and ignored other parts of her life. She wrote what agreed with her personal and political philosophies. Many of her story was rewritten in cooperation with her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, who was a friend of Ayn Rand. Rose had no compunction about fictionalizing anything she wrote whether it was her own story or those of others. She wrote several biographies of people who were famous at the time and made up incidents in their lives. She was challenged by the subjects but often ignored them. Unfortunately a book I wanted to read to learn about Laura Ingalls Wilder went too far afield. I thought this was too convoluted and often off on tangents.
What is with the title of the review? This turns out to be a biography of both Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder Lane, only one whom I wanted to learn about.