Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography

A young woman is sitting amidst green plants with a small lake in the background. She has brown hair blowing back, a red and white checked long-sleeved shirt, and a long brown skirt. A piece of paper is on her lap. She's holding a pen to the paper.
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Monday, Jan 12, 2015

Having read all the Little House books many, many times, I was very excited when I heard about Pioneer Girl: the Annotated Autobiography. I would get to read the true story behind the beloved fictional narrative.

The book was full of surprises. First, it was much larger than I was anticipating—it would make a lovely coffee table book. Next, I discovered from the introduction that Laura Ingalls Wilder’s daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, played a huge part in the editing and publishing of the Little House Books, something I had never known. Finally, while it was enjoyable to read how closely the fiction books followed Laura’s life, it was also fun to discover parts of her life that never made it into the children’s books.

For all that I relished reading Laura’s memoirs; I did have some difficulty with the numerous footnotes. On the one hand, I appreciated the extra information that illuminated and expanded on Laura’s words. On the other hand, there were so many footnotes; it was disorienting to go back and forth, from the memoirs to the footnotes and back. There were also quite a few footnotes that I skimmed or skipped over as I just wasn't interested in every bit of the voluminous data.

Still, I would recommend Pioneer Girl for anyone who grew up with, or who simply relishes, the Little House books.

Diane H.

Written by Diane H.

Fun fact: Corinth was my neighborhood library when I was a kid.