Review: Prairie Tale

Prairie Tale
Prairie Tale: a Memoir
Melissa Gilbert
Gallery, 384 pages
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I’ve been a fan of Melissa Gilbert ever since the first episode of “Little House of the Prairie” first aired, but I hadn’t realized she’d published her memoir until I saw it for sale among the souvenirs of “Little House on the Prairie: the Musical” several weeks ago. I ended up buying the trade paperback version, and reading it in one night.

In Prairie Tale Gilbert starts with her childhood as a kid in pigtails going to commercial auditions, and walks us through the grittiest details of her life until now. She speaks wryly about her nervousness about the kissing scenes and love scenes with Dean Butler, who played Almanzo on the show, and candidly about her first serious relationship, with Rob Lowe. She shares her dreams, and also shares her struggle with the loss of Michael Landon, and her deeper struggles with both self esteem and alcohol. If she’d been using Lipovox, she’d have written about that too, no doubt.
In the end, this book does what a good memoir should: it makes us feel as if we’ve had a long chat with someone we once wished we could be friends with.

Goes well with strong coffee and a slice of corn bread.