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Prairie Tale: A Memoir by Melissa Gilbert
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Prairie Tale: A Memoir

by Melissa Gilbert

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Having just read "Confessions of a Prairie Bitch" by Nellie Oleson (ha - that is, by Alsion who playd nellie!), I thought this book would be a great follow-up read. I was disappointed. Alison's book had a lot of detail about Little House, and I had hoped for the same from "Laura"'s point of view. It seems to have been rather glossed over, though she did talk about her relationship with Michael Landon. I just expected to hear more about such an incredibly significant part of her life, and that which truly brought her to our attention.

While interesting to read, the book did start to feel like name-dropping. But I guess if you grow up in Hollywood, you can't help but pepper your conversation with names!

It was interesting, but it didn't grab me like Alison's book did.

And holy cow - was there a bad made-for-tv-movie that Melissa Gilbert *didn't* act in, during the 90s and 00s?!?! ( )
  camelama | Dec 30, 2016 |
I was never a big Little House fan (or Melissa Gilbert for that matter!) even though I watched it growing up. She always annoyed me for some reason. But I saw her interviewed on Chelsea Lately, and they made it sound like her life was fairly scandalous. So, out of couriousity, I wanted to read her book.

I don't mind all the "name dropping" -- in fact I always find that interesting! But I felt she was trying to "promote" all the stupid tv movies she did. And at times, it felt as though I were reading a diary of her love life. All the "made love" stuff was super cheesy as was all her writing of those who she thought "wanted" her.

I didn't find this as scandalous as I thought; found it rather boring (as far as growing up in Hollywood). And for those whose image of her is tarnished after reading this book, need to remember that she PLAYED Laura Ingalls.

She also failed to mention getting her lips plumped up, along with the rest of all her cosmetic enhancements. (one can totally tell if you compare pictures to the cover. At least she fessed up to the nose job and boob implants.)

I wouldn't be surprised if her and Bruce finally ended their marriage. ( )
  GettinBetter | Jun 27, 2016 |
Disappointing, but somewhat interesting.

If Circumstances Had Been Different

If she hadn’t been adopted, Melissa Gilbert would not have grown up in the Hollywood family that she did, she might never have become an actress and she would be exceptionally unlikely to have ever come to play the role for which she is so well-known, that of Laura Ingalls Wilder on “Little House on the Prairie.”

Enjoyed Working on the Show

For the most part, she enjoyed working on the show, and it is pleasant to see that it was a mostly positive environment. Remembrances of Michael Landon are interesting. He was rather a father figure for her and it is nice to see that. Unsurprisingly, not everything she shares is what might be expected; however, as with most any famous person, delving into the details tends to result in at least a couple of less-than-perfect traits.

Hollywood Connections

Her adoptive grandfather was part of old Hollywood, something which doubtlessly worked to her advantage, as she suggests while telling about various events from her life. She shares an amusing anecdote of him introducing her to one of his friends, Groucho Marx. Ms. Gilbert recalls fun studio lunches with Henry Winkler, as well as interesting stories about working with Patty Duke, George C. Scott and Marilyn Monroe‘s personal makeup artist, “Whitey.”

More “Little House” Details Needed

While she does discuss her time working on “Little House on the Prairie,” more details on these experiences would be greatly preferable to the sordid details of her numerous sexual exploits. While there is some evidence she learns from her mistakes, we are given repeated examples of her continuing down paths that are clearly not healthy or likely to become so. It is discouraging to see her so dependent on being in a relationship.

Tedious, Unimpressive, Disappointing

Lots of over-sharing and rampant name-dropping make reading this memoir tedious. She once toured with Nancy Reagan as part of the anti-drug campaign “Just Say No.” Later, she becomes an alcoholic and uses cocaine. Ms. Gilbert’s promiscuity is referenced casually. In one instance, she and her partner at the time attended a Hollywood event where they wondered “if there was anyone in the room that neither of them had slept with.”

Friends, Family & Others

Ms. Gilbert was friends with “Nellie” from the show, but not with “Mary.” Her adoptive brother, Jonathan Gilbert, played Nellie’s brother. She mentions that he has had very little contact with the family in the last good many years; however, she never addresses the details. She tells us that she is very fond of her sister, Sara Gilbert, but doesn’t even bother to point out that she is famous in her own right, most notably for her role as Darlene on “Roseanne.”

Very Poor Judgment

Ms. Gilbert easily becomes “bored” and lonely. Her excessively poor judgment leads to lots of problems. Her usage of profanity, while not as great as some books, is very off-putting. She comes across as self-absorbed in a lot of ways, as well as quite willing to hold a grudge, despite her attempt to depict herself otherwise.

In Summary

Get it from a library if you really want to read it. It isn’t entirely devoid of merit; however, it is certainly disappointing in many regards. If you’re looking for “Half Pint,” you’ll find she quickly disappears. Want a better book? Opt for “Nellie’s” book - Confessions of a Prairie Bitch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated – by Alison Arngrim. ( )
  mariacamp | Sep 16, 2013 |
I really enjoyed this book. Melissa wrote a enjoyable memoir. ( )
  ownedbycats | Sep 1, 2013 |
another long magazine article format for the story of Melissa Gilbert (Laura on Little House) - as always amazed at the volume of booze and drugs and the shallowness of media stars but I did so like the books and the series ( )
  lindap69 | Apr 5, 2013 |
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Epigraph
I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible,
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance;
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.

"Fully Alive"
Dawna Markova
Dedication
For Sam, Lee, Dakota, and Michael,
The four chambers of my heart,
And for Bruce William Boxleitner,
My true companion.
Do you know how fine you are to me?
First words
My mother was nearly a month past her husband's funeral when she turned her attention back to my desire to write a memoir.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A fascinating, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting tale of self-discovery from the beloved actress who earned a permanent place in the hearts of millions when she was just a child playing the role of buck-toothed Laura "Half-pint" Ingalls on "Little House on the Prairie."… (more)

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