Back in the 1930’s, an elderly woman wrote a memoir about her life on the American frontier. But no one would publish it. So she recast her memories as a series of children’s novels, giving the world the immortal Little House on the Prairie books.
Now that original manuscript, entitled Pioneer Girl has been published in an annotated edition that gives the complete historical context of this woman’s remarkable life. The 472-page book has become a smash hit, to the point that its publisher, the 7-employee South Dakota Historical Society Press, can’t print enough copies to keep up with the demand.
When I was in the fifth grade, if we were good, our teacher, Mrs. Waldrop, would read us a chapter from the novels. I will never forget the impact they had on my imagination in their portrayal of family, America, overcoming hardship, and growing up. I have got to read this true-life adult version, if I can ever find a copy. Read an account of the book after the jump. [Read more…]