A Grittier, Adults-Only Little House On The Prairie Is On The Way

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littlehouseontheprairie-embedPhoto: Courtesy of Harper & Row.
Just mentioning the name Laura Ingalls Wilder sent our office into spasms this morning. Almost everyone piped in with a favorite memory of frontier life or a helpful lesson learned from the author's classic memoir. (Maple-syrup snow candy, anyone?) We all collectively mourned the loss of Mary's eyesight and recalled Laura meeting her future husband, Almanzo. It was a real bonding moment.

Little House on the Prairie is a somewhat fictionalized version of what really happened on the frontier, though. It's beloved by generations of young readers, but the events it depicts of life on the prairie are somewhat romanticized. That's why adult fans (like the ones in our office) are thrilled with today's news of a new Laura Ingalls Wilder tome.

The author's unedited first draft, Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography, was the basis for the series and will be released by the South Dakota State Historical Society Press for the first time this fall. The book presents a not-safe-for-children version of real life on the prairie. It doesn't shy away from scenes of domestic abuse, romantic entanglements, and exactly how extensive the damage was during the grasshopper plague that forced Pa to seek outside work in On the Banks of Plum Creek.

Pioneer Girl will be published straight from Wilder's original draft, so it will contain misspellings and other errors. However, it will also include extensive annotations, making it more of an encyclopedia about the author's life and work. We've already preordered a copy and booked a ticket to Laurapalooza, an annual conference dedicated to the Little House on the Prairie scribe. Yes, it's a real thing. Find your best bonnet and meet us there. (ABC News)