Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer's Life

Laura Ingalls Wilder A Writer s Life In Laura Ingalls Wilder A Writer s Life Pamela Smith Hill delves into the complex and often fascinating relationships Wilder formed throughout her life that led to the writing of her classic Little H

  • Title: Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer's Life
  • Author: Pamela Smith Hill
  • ISBN: 9780977795567
  • Page: 427
  • Format: Paperback
  • In Laura Ingalls Wilder A Writer s Life, Pamela Smith Hill delves into the complex and often fascinating relationships Wilder formed throughout her life that led to the writing of her classic Little House series Using Wilder s stories, personal correspondence, an unpublished autobiography, and experiences in South Dakota, Hill has produced a historical literary biographyIn Laura Ingalls Wilder A Writer s Life, Pamela Smith Hill delves into the complex and often fascinating relationships Wilder formed throughout her life that led to the writing of her classic Little House series Using Wilder s stories, personal correspondence, an unpublished autobiography, and experiences in South Dakota, Hill has produced a historical literary biography of the famous and much loved author Following the course of Wilder s life, and her real family s journey west, Hill provides a context, both familial and literary, for Wilder s writing career.Laura Ingalls Wilder examines Wilder s inspirations as a writer, particularly her tumultuous, but ultimately successful, professional and personal relationship with her daughter the hidden editor Rose Wilder Lane Wilder produced her timeless classics with the help of, but not reliance upon, her daughter s editorial insights Over the course of than thirty years, Lane and Wilder engaged in a dynamic working relationship, shifting between trust, distrust, and respect Hill argues that they differed in their visions of the path Wilder s career should follow, but eventually Lane s editing brought out the best of her mother s writing, and allowed her creativity, expression, and experiences to shine through.

    One thought on “Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer's Life”

    1. I can hardly say enough good things about this book. It's exactly the sort of Laura Ingalls Wilder biography I've been wishing for: straightforward non-fiction (footnotes and everything!) with a steady focus on Laura, giving equal weight to the true details of her life and to her writing. 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 Litt [...]

    2. I bought this during my visit to Laura Ingalls Wilder's Rocky Ridge home in Mansfield, Missouri, last summer, though I have had it on my wish list to acquire for some years.I have already read Hills' fabulously edited, annotated book of Wilder's Pioneer Girl manuscript. A Writer's Life covers much of the same material, of course, but is a quick and fascinating read as it specifically focuses on Laura Ingalls Wilder's development as a writer. This begins with her childhood writings through her da [...]

    3. Loved it! Brilliant analysis of Laura vs. Rose and how the books came to be. I think this is the closest I'll ever get to reading Pioneer Girl (LIW's original manuscript), so this was especially meaningful. It separated the real Laura from Book Laura, and although it was a bit bittersweet to lose some of the wonder of reading the books, the historian in me has more respect for the 'real' LIW, and even a begrudging respect for Rose Wilder Lane's struggle while living in her mother's literary shad [...]

    4. I loved this book. I was shocked and kinda heartbroken to learn that the Little House books were not complete truth but fiction based on her life. This book helped me come to terms with that and I now appreciate Laura Ingalls Wilder as a writer and retain my love for the character Laura Ingalls. I'm now anxiously awaiting her autobiography Pioneer Girl that Smith Hill is working on.

    5. I signed up for an online class about Laura Ingalls Wilder that is starting 9/22/14 and taught by Pamela Hill, the author of this book. It is one of the required readings as are Wilder's Little House series of books. I lived and breathed these books as a child, acted out the stories with my friend Mary in the prairie across the street from us east of Denver, had two dolls named Laura and Marisa (I liked that name better than Mary), and even named my daughter after Laura. I gave her all my Little [...]

    6. Great overview of both her life and her books and how she finessed her life story in her fiction. The complicated relationship between Wilder and her daughter Rose was gone into at great length, and the myth that it was basically Rose who wrote the books is put to rest. Yes, she was involved, but as a highly opinionated editor, who did take liberties of changing her mother's prose from time to time which upset Wilder greatly.I came away from this not really liking Rose at all, especially since s [...]

    7. Meh. This biography was not what I was expecting. It read more like an outline for a thesis or something. The main theme of Hill's writing was to hammer it home to us Laura Ingalls Wilder fans that she did, indeed write her own books, that editing is a certainty in publishing and that her Little House series was based on factual circumstances, with a few creative liberties thrown in. No duh. I have a hard time believing that anyone who picks up this dry, erudite book put out by a very small publ [...]

    8. I really get the idea it was the author's thesis. And I also get the idea that the author was shocked and angered to learn that Laura Ingalls Wilder left out whole periods of her life when she decided to write the Little House books. Hill comes across as highly indignant that Wilder decided not to include those periods of her life. It almost screams: HOW DARE SHE??!!Having finished the book, I really think this work IS the author's thesis. It reads like it. And while that's not a problem in acad [...]

    9. Of the Laura bios, Smith Hill's in one of my faves. After the smear campaign of Dr. Holtz (Ghost in the Little House) it was fascinating to read a more balanced view of Laura's life, her daughter Rose Wilder Lane's life, and the writing of the Little House books. Wisely, Smith Hill remains true to her focus, "A Writer's Life," and this gives her biography a cohesive focus.Hill treats both women with respect as authors, and describes in fascinating detail the back-and-forth that took place in how [...]

    10. This was a very interesting take not only on the woman Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder, but the CHARACTER Laura Ingalls, and the literary partnership that shaped them both with her daughter Rose Wilder Lane.We tend to accept the Little House books as autobiography. They're not, really. They're fiction. Fiction has to tell a story and have a specific plot. Life doesn't, necessarily!Laura's life was a great deal harsher than the Little House books portray, though I don't think that is a secret. The [...]

    11. Fact: the Little House books were one of the two most important literary aspects of my childhood (the other being the Anne of Green Gables series, of course). As a result I was excited to read this biography, so excited I was bouncing a bit when I finally sat down to read, and Pamela Smith Hill didn't disappoint.This is more like a dual biography, focusing on both the real life Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Laura of her books. Hill intertwines the two, comparing the sequences in the books with th [...]

    12. This is a brief and straight-forward, rather scholarly biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder. It focuses primarily on Wilder (as the subtitle says) as a writer - her development as a writer, the editorial processes of the Little House books, etc. It's a little dry, and I was hoping there would be some details about LIW which I did not know before, but there were none. This is a very ungossipy biography, and gossip is half the fun of reading books of this genre. Hill does discuss LIW's complicated re [...]

    13. I read and loved the Little House series as a child as did my daughter and, most recently, my granddaughter. I bought this book in DeSmet this Summer at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Society gift shop. I enjoyed my pilgrimage there and I enjoyed this book. It de-mythologises Laura Ingalls Wilder for me. I'm nearly 70 so it's high time to take a grown-up look at her - neither one of us is a little girl any more!

    14. Very good, well-annotated biography of LIW focusing on her life through the prism of her as a writer. It includes a discussion with sources of the various controversies surrounding her daughter, Rose's, involvement in the "Little House" series and makes a strong argument for her case. The book was accessible and readable and very interesting, plus it included lots of source material. I really enjoyed the perspective on Laura's life and writing.

    15. I had no idea of what type of book this was before I started it. If I would have known I would have skipped it all together. It does have some new information, connects the dots on events and fills in the blanks on people. What I did not like is the speculation on many of the events in Laura Ingalls Wilder's and Rose Wilder's books and real life. Only Laura and Rose truly knew why they wrote what they wrote and left out what they did. Writing is dry and matter of fact lacks flow.

    16. While I can never get tired of reading about Laura, I can certainly get enough of reading about her daughter Rose. Arrogant and really an inferior writer she rode her mother's coat tails although there is evidence she was a good editor!

    17. Since our family delved into the old TV series (we just finished all nine seasons and we'll begin the TV movies soon), I also took a free online class with the author of this book, Pamela Smith Hill. I read the books as a kid, and one of my daughters is reading them now. We're really sort of Ingalls-imbued right now. This book definitely fills in the blanks, though some holes will forever remain. Hill focuses MUCH on the publishing history of the books, which is very wrapped up in Laura's relati [...]

    18. Laura Ingalls Wilder a Writer's LifeI'm taking an online course this month about Laura Ingalls Wilder. I'm not getting into it "whole hog," but I am reading "Laura Ingalls Wilder, A Writer's Life" for it, as well as watching the video lectures. It's interesting. I've read the Little House series multiple times, and have also read many books about Laura. This is yet another.I found the book's tone a bit scholarly for my tastes (it continually referred to Laura as "Wilder," and each time I'd have [...]

    19. I undoubtedly know about this book because the author is a Portlander, but I would have found it anyway. I tend to read everything I come across that has to do with Wilder.This was a very readable, accessible book that traces Wilder's journey as a writer and seems specifically to have been written to discount the theories that some authors have put forth that Wilder's daughter Rose Wilder Lane wrote the Little House Series.I had discounted those theories already as they seemed to overlook the wr [...]

    20. After reading that a heretofore unpublished memoir by Laura Ingalls Wilder would be published later this year, and that it would be annotated by the author of this book, I wanted to read her insights on the iconic author of the Little House books. This book is sort of like "Little House" for adults. Once the sentimental family scenes are taken out, you are left with a really, really hard life. The Little House books, as Ms. Hill points out, are artfully structured to always be questing westward, [...]

    21. LOVED this book. At first i thought it misnamed as "a writers life", as it is billed as a Wilder's biography, and that was not the dominate focus of Laura's entire life. But what it truly is instead, is a marvelous detailing of Wilder's innate talent for storytelling slowly developing into finding her voice as a children's novelist. Hill straightens out the chronology of Wilder's actual life, versus the progression of the story in the Little House series. She shows the arc of Laura's writing, fr [...]

    22. While I did learn a few new things in this biography of my favorite children's author, Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer's Life is an academic look at Wilder's life and work, making it a bit dry, like Donald Zochert's Laura. The author does a fine job of showing how Wilder developed her writing and business savvy through the years.Critical in her opinions of Rose Wilder Lane (Laura and Almanzo's only child who lived to adulthood), Hill accuses Lane of blurring the values of truth, honesty, and mora [...]

    23. Knowing I was going to revisit De Smet, South Dakota, on vacation this year, I grabbed this newish (2007) Laura Ingalls Wilder biography from my library before leaving. I'm glad I did; it is a real gem.The book's subtitle, "A Writer's Life," reveals the focus. Hill devotes a lot of space to comparing how Wilder's life is depicted in her famous novels to how her life really was - and there are some interesting differences that show how carefully Wilder cast her stories in later life. I have a muc [...]

    24. What a wonderful biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder. This is the first time I've managed to track down a biography of Laura written for adults, and I really appreciate the way it was set out. The first few chapters were about Laura's life including the Little House years, but also included a whole load of information about the places in Ingalls family lived which aren't in the Little House books. Interestingly Laura certainly lived in some rough places and came into contact with people that the M [...]

    25. I found this biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder quite fascinating. Pamela Smith Hill sheds light on who Wilder was as a person, and how she was truly a writer who crafted her stories to be enjoyable well-written, fictional novels, not just plain autobiography. In the later part of the book, Hill explores in some depth the correspondence between Wilder, her daughter, and her editors and publishers, to demonstrate how Wilder's fiction came about. At times this section felt like a response to people [...]

    26. As most girls of my generation, I read the Little House series in its entirety, and I loved it. My mother grew up in the woods of Wisconsin, so she could tell me a lot about the first book (Big Woods) and we lived on the prarie, so I could SEE some of things Wilder talked about in her books, and I loved them.However, I had no idea that Wilder had actually gone back east after she and Almanzo failed on the Dakota praries. They bought a farm in the Ozarks and lived there for the rest of their live [...]

    27. An incredibly revealing book about the project of the Little House books, the lives behind them, and the problem of biography, juvenile fiction, and the challenge of westward movement. Wilder did a brilliant job directing her books on a constant journey west, whereas her real experience took her back and forth west, then back east, as her family's success soured. I was fascinated by the way Wilder and her daughter (who was her greatest editor) chose to depict her life in print. It was comforting [...]

    28. I expected a brief biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, and was disappointed this didn't focus more on her development across her lifespan or her personality. It really dwelt as much or more on the personality of her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, than it did Laura as a person. Even then, although it included copious quotes from correspondence between the two, it really didn't delve very deeply into why their relationship was at times so strained. I suppose the subtitle "A Writer's Life" should have [...]

    29. If you ever read Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House" series and were horrified to learn later in life that she didn't "write them at all" but her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, did--well, this book will clarify everything for you. This is a good examination of how Wilder's writing style evolved, and why she changed some truths of her life to make for better fiction-reading. It also explains how her daughter, Rose, herself a talented writer and editor, did make some contributions to the novels--bu [...]

    30. I've read quite a few Laura Ingalls Wilder bios and retrospectives, and for the first half of the book, I didn't really learn anything new. But the second half of the book provided an honest and telling writing relationship that Laura had with her daughter Rose. But more importantly (and perhaps as a slam to that awful Ghost in the Little House book that claimed Rose wrote the books), this author explained the role of the editor in any writing experience. As a writer, I understand the role of th [...]

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