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Prairie Tale: A Memoir

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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 CHILDTo fans of the hugely successful television series Little House on the Prairie, Melissa Gilbert grew up in a fantasy world with a larger-than-life father, friends and family she could count on 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 CHILDTo fans of the hugely successful television series Little House on the Prairie, Melissa Gilbert grew up in a fantasy world with a larger-than-life father, friends and family she could count on, and plenty of animals to play with. Children across the country dreamed of the Ingalls’ idyllic life—and so did Melissa. With candor and humor, the cherished actress traces her complicated journey from buck-toothed Laura "Halfpint" Ingalls to Hollywood starlet, wife, and mother. She partied with the Brat Pack, dated heartthrobs like Rob Lowe and bad boys like Billy Idol, and began a self-destructive pattern of addiction and codependence. She eventually realized that her career on television had earned her popularity, admiration, and love from everyone but herself. Through hard work, tenacity, sobriety, and the blessings of a solid marriage, Melissa has accepted her many different identities and learned to laugh, cry, and forgive in new ways. Women everywhere may have idolized her charming life on Little House on the Prairie, but Melissa’s own unexpectedly honest, imperfect, and down-to-earth story is an inspiration.


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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 CHILDTo fans of the hugely successful television series Little House on the Prairie, Melissa Gilbert grew up in a fantasy world with a larger-than-life father, friends and family she could count on 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 CHILDTo fans of the hugely successful television series Little House on the Prairie, Melissa Gilbert grew up in a fantasy world with a larger-than-life father, friends and family she could count on, and plenty of animals to play with. Children across the country dreamed of the Ingalls’ idyllic life—and so did Melissa. With candor and humor, the cherished actress traces her complicated journey from buck-toothed Laura "Halfpint" Ingalls to Hollywood starlet, wife, and mother. She partied with the Brat Pack, dated heartthrobs like Rob Lowe and bad boys like Billy Idol, and began a self-destructive pattern of addiction and codependence. She eventually realized that her career on television had earned her popularity, admiration, and love from everyone but herself. Through hard work, tenacity, sobriety, and the blessings of a solid marriage, Melissa has accepted her many different identities and learned to laugh, cry, and forgive in new ways. Women everywhere may have idolized her charming life on Little House on the Prairie, but Melissa’s own unexpectedly honest, imperfect, and down-to-earth story is an inspiration.

30 review for Prairie Tale: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    If you have been a fan of Melissa Gilbert, and you'd like to continue to be a fan, don't read this book. It's disappointing. Way too much information is revealed. The language in the book is horrible. Just unnecessary. The name dropping that goes on is beyond ridiculous. Even though adopted at birth, she comes from a very well-connected Hollywood family, and after reading this book, I would struggle to name five Hollywood actors she didn't mention. Ironically, as cute as she was, and as pretty a If you have been a fan of Melissa Gilbert, and you'd like to continue to be a fan, don't read this book. It's disappointing. Way too much information is revealed. The language in the book is horrible. Just unnecessary. The name dropping that goes on is beyond ridiculous. Even though adopted at birth, she comes from a very well-connected Hollywood family, and after reading this book, I would struggle to name five Hollywood actors she didn't mention. Ironically, as cute as she was, and as pretty as she turned out to be, she never seemed to be happy with herself, and still isn’t. I would recommend that she continue therapy to get rid of those demons, and maybe shift her focus from the past to the events of today. I'd also recommend that she continue counseling for her marriage with Bruce Boxleitner. The marriage doesn't seem to be on any more stable ground than any of her other relationships. I'm not sure the money she received for writing this book was worth everything she decided to share as well as the change in perception many fans will have. After reading this, I'm not sure you can be in Hollywood, and come out unscathed.

  2. 5 out of 5

    David

    Chatty memoir of an actress best known for her work on Little House on the Prairie when she was a child. Some interesting gossip about her active love life including long relationship with (and broken engagement from) Rob Lowe, and blended family with her second husband, the actor Bruce Boxleitner. Eventful family (her father was married 13 times; her husband had a stalker who tried to break them up by intercepting author's phone calls and taping bits in which she revealed to friends an "emotion Chatty memoir of an actress best known for her work on Little House on the Prairie when she was a child. Some interesting gossip about her active love life including long relationship with (and broken engagement from) Rob Lowe, and blended family with her second husband, the actor Bruce Boxleitner. Eventful family (her father was married 13 times; her husband had a stalker who tried to break them up by intercepting author's phone calls and taping bits in which she revealed to friends an "emotional affair" with costar.......) and personal (infidelity, addictions, etc.) life. Acknowledgements suggest there was a ghostwriter, and I fault the pro for not chopping 150 pages or so out of this version. Surprising amount of pointless name-dropping (Merv Griffin was a family friend, Groucho Marx knew my grandfather, Kiefer Sutherland told my stepsons he had always been in love with me, when I was SAG president I rode in a car with ex-President Bill Clinton and he said "you're the only one of us who is a real President now" ha ha -- one after another after another not really going anywhere as a story). For someone like me with hardly any connection to the entertainment industry it's understandable that even a trivial sighting/interaction would come up a lot (have I told you about the time I saw Howie Mandel at baggage claim at an airport?), but I would have thought that someone who's been a professional actress for decades would be over this by now.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    This book was not really what I expected. I was hoping for more relating to the Little House experience, the interaction between characters both on and off camera. Melissa Gilbert says very little about any of the characters, except for Michael Landon. While the book was interesting, maybe a better title would have been Prairie Tail because she spent an enormous amount of time writing about who she and others had been in and out of bed with. There is a lot of name-dropping, which is expected for This book was not really what I expected. I was hoping for more relating to the Little House experience, the interaction between characters both on and off camera. Melissa Gilbert says very little about any of the characters, except for Michael Landon. While the book was interesting, maybe a better title would have been Prairie Tail because she spent an enormous amount of time writing about who she and others had been in and out of bed with. There is a lot of name-dropping, which is expected for a celebrity memoir. She has been in the business for a long time and knows a lot of celebrities, so it would stand to reason the book would have lots of celebrity names in it, but sometimes it reads like a National Enquirer. I'm sure all the people she wrote about are cringing at some of the antics she wrote about. I was shattered to learn some things about her. She campaigned against drugs with Nancy Reagon and then went on to drink, smoke pot, take qualudes, and use cocaine. She hopped in and out of bed with co-stars and one-night stands faster than Laura could put on a sunbonnet. She spent a lot of the book complaining about how bad her childhood was because she wasn't allowed to have junk food and order expensive room service and drive fast cars. Reading this book makes me very glad I was never in show business and have never had to be around such shallow people. No morals, no inspiration. It makes me sad to know that she has the power to influence, to do great things and she has never recognized that. So, if you are looking for a book to read with your young daughters to give them the inside look on what it was like for Melissa Gilbert to play on Little House, skip this book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Michael Payne

    June 19, 2010: Within days of reading Melissa Sue Anderson's recent attempt at writing, I dove into Melissa Gilbert's memoir out of curiosity. I had been completely disappointed with the first Melissa's work that, I must admit, I was slightly hesitant to even begin another look inside the world of a Little House cast member. Surprisingly, by Chapter 3, I was hooked! And, before long, I found myself completely immersed in a truly well-written autobiography. At one point, hearing the telephone rin June 19, 2010: Within days of reading Melissa Sue Anderson's recent attempt at writing, I dove into Melissa Gilbert's memoir out of curiosity. I had been completely disappointed with the first Melissa's work that, I must admit, I was slightly hesitant to even begin another look inside the world of a Little House cast member. Surprisingly, by Chapter 3, I was hooked! And, before long, I found myself completely immersed in a truly well-written autobiography. At one point, hearing the telephone ringing and knowing I had to get up to answer, I reluctantly put the book down and said, "This is a memoir!!!" Unlike the first Melissa's extremely boring recap of every Little House scene ever filmed, Melissa Gilbert truly welcomed readers into her life. She was candid. She was shockingly and brutally honest, and she appeared genuine. I came to understand why Melissa #1 didn't have the family-type relationships with her castmates like Miss Half-Pint did - she simply wasn't open to it. She is so guarded and private that even her "memoir" was simply a detailed outline of each episode of the long-running series. After reading Melissa #1's book, I can honestly say, I haven't a clue who she is, where she comes from, or what her life was like on the Little House set. In reading Mrs. Boxleitner's "Prairie Tales," I laughed, smiled, felt tears well up (her final moment with Michael Landon was brutal to read), and I came to terms with my own demons (my relationship with alcohol is not a good one - we really need to come to terms with our relationship and simply decide to part ways). All in all, Prairie Tales is a great read - especially if you grew up watching the series. I must say, initially, it was a bit shocking to discover "Laura Ingalls" had a sailor's tongue, a love of cigarettes and slept with quite a few of Hollywood's bachelors. But, it doesn't take long before you come to love Melissa Gilbert and separate her from the character she portrayed so brilliantly. While reading, I often found myself cheering for her, praying for her - and, above all else, respecting her for her work ethic, her commitment to her husband and family and for her overall desire to make her mark in life. With summer now in our midst, grab this book as you head out on a vacation. Or, as you lie in your bed or couch in the wee hours of the night. I spent many nights watching Little House reruns and quickly diving into this book and, I must say, it was well worth it. Where Melissa #1 completely disappoints, Madame SAG President clearly ccores!! In five years, as I do all my favorites, I'm going to read this again!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Diane Sugars

    Well, I looked so forward to reading this book and it ended up dissapointing me so very much! Like so many other reviews of this book, I was dissapointed by the amount of profanity that was used in this book, and also very dissapointed in all of the sex and cheating that the author felt the need to tell us about. All of that totally ruined this book for me. By the second time she tells the readers about her and a certain man getting back together and all the references to sex and how much, etc, Well, I looked so forward to reading this book and it ended up dissapointing me so very much! Like so many other reviews of this book, I was dissapointed by the amount of profanity that was used in this book, and also very dissapointed in all of the sex and cheating that the author felt the need to tell us about. All of that totally ruined this book for me. By the second time she tells the readers about her and a certain man getting back together and all the references to sex and how much, etc, I was ready to put this book down and add it to my "Books I started but could not finish" list. But I did trudge through the book and finish it, and frankly, it did not get any better at all. I am a firm beleiver that you can tell just as good of a story without cussing and you can leave all the details about sex that was in this book out! I don't know if the author was going for the shock factor or what? I wanted more about her interaction with her Little House on the Prairie family, and there was hardly any! I know that Little House on the Prarie is not all that Melissa Gilberts life was, but, to her fans from Little House on the Prairie, that is what made her a star and that is what I looked for in this book. She referenced many many movies that she made in this book, and frankly, I had never heard of any of them, so I feel that she really missed telling a great story that would have been much more pleasant to read then having to read about hopping in and out of bed with whatever man she was starring with in all those movies that no one remembers.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ginny Messina

    Celebrity autobiographies are almost always fun but sometimes so unsatisfying. It often turns out that the celebrity in question isn’t nearly as interesting as the people you know in real life, and that’s the case with this book. And if you’re looking for a warm and cozy peek behind the scenes of Little House, then skip this book for sure. Despite the misleading title, there isn’t a whole lot here about the TV series. In fact, I doubt I’ll ever look at sweet little pigtailed Laura the same after Celebrity autobiographies are almost always fun but sometimes so unsatisfying. It often turns out that the celebrity in question isn’t nearly as interesting as the people you know in real life, and that’s the case with this book. And if you’re looking for a warm and cozy peek behind the scenes of Little House, then skip this book for sure. Despite the misleading title, there isn’t a whole lot here about the TV series. In fact, I doubt I’ll ever look at sweet little pigtailed Laura the same after reading about Melissa’s romp around Hollywood. If she’s to be believed, every single actor she ever met was in love with her (although she slept with only about three-quarters of them). There is lots of very candid Hollywood gossip plus lots of parties, lots of drugs. At least Melissa’s chatty tone makes this a quick read. And her success in overcoming a very bad problem with alcohol is admirable. Overall, though, I could have lived without this book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I was inspired to read this after reading Rob Lowe's autobiography - this book isn't nearly as much fun. Melissa is very serious; she luckily was one of the few child stars that was somewhat sheltered and therefore didn't really grow up too fast. However, she doesn't really probe how or why that happened. . she just accepts it. The relationship with Lowe is really interesting between the two books - she dedicates almost entire chapters to it, where her name appears in a few paragraphs in his boo I was inspired to read this after reading Rob Lowe's autobiography - this book isn't nearly as much fun. Melissa is very serious; she luckily was one of the few child stars that was somewhat sheltered and therefore didn't really grow up too fast. However, she doesn't really probe how or why that happened. . she just accepts it. The relationship with Lowe is really interesting between the two books - she dedicates almost entire chapters to it, where her name appears in a few paragraphs in his book. While I don't doubt that they're both accurate, their impressions are very different. The 2nd half of the book (her marriages, trips to rehab) seem a little rushed, and if she's disappointed in her later career, she doesn't seem it. I did want a little more information on the cast dynamic of 'Little House' - she drops names and tells about on-set pranks, but you don't get much of a sense of comeraderie between the actors, which seems strange for people who worked together for almost 10 years. Also, I just heard that her and Bruce Boxleitner are getting divorced. . . so I wonder how that's effecting things? Anyway, if you're a fan of 'Little House', this is worth picking up - I loved the show and read all the books, so it was good to learn more about its star. Alison Antrim (Nellie) also wrote a book that's supposed to be much funnier; I'm going to check that one out too. And while she's kind of a sympathetic (if boring) character, it's really tough to picture her and Lowe together.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    As a rabid Little House fan, I had to read this book. It was disappointing in the Little House remembrances, but that is to be expected since the woman did (and does) have a whole career after little house. However, the overall book is disappointing for me because though I love memoirs, I am not overly interested in celebrity gossip. Gilbert couldn't have dropped more names had she thrown a phone book down the stairs. (I must confess with being a bit intrigued about the drama with Rob Lowe, thou As a rabid Little House fan, I had to read this book. It was disappointing in the Little House remembrances, but that is to be expected since the woman did (and does) have a whole career after little house. However, the overall book is disappointing for me because though I love memoirs, I am not overly interested in celebrity gossip. Gilbert couldn't have dropped more names had she thrown a phone book down the stairs. (I must confess with being a bit intrigued about the drama with Rob Lowe, though!) I had to read a big chunk of it next to the computer so I could check who the people were on imdb.com. The books ending also falls a bit flat and felt like it didn't come to a satisfying conclusion. Perhaps that is the reason people shouldn't write memoirs in their forties. The most amusing part of the book is actually in the acknowledgments, where she includes 2 pages of alternate titles for the book suggested by friends and celebrities. My 2 favorites were, "Does this Gingham Dress Make my Butt Look Fat?" and "Don't F*** with America's Sweetheart." That's a book I wouldn't mind reading. ;)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Carmen Liffengren

    I zoomed through Gilbert's memoir, but I have some complicated feelings about it. Her memoir is extremely well-written and paced well, but I happened to be reading this when I heard the news about Robin Williams's tragic death earlier this week. It seems that Hollywood is always teeming with tragedy. I'm no stranger to the celebrity memoir and the dark side of living a Hollywood life. I knew that I wouldn't really be shocked by the real Melissa and I'd never confuse her for her character, Laura. I zoomed through Gilbert's memoir, but I have some complicated feelings about it. Her memoir is extremely well-written and paced well, but I happened to be reading this when I heard the news about Robin Williams's tragic death earlier this week. It seems that Hollywood is always teeming with tragedy. I'm no stranger to the celebrity memoir and the dark side of living a Hollywood life. I knew that I wouldn't really be shocked by the real Melissa and I'd never confuse her for her character, Laura. She only played Laura Ingalls on TV. I grew up watching Little House on the Prairie (See my review on The Wilder Life) and although I cringed every time the show departed from the books' story line in any way (and that was most of the time), I was still a fan of the show. I remember, even as a young girl, having difficulty with how Michael Landon portrayed Pa as some type of super hero savior. I was shocked to discover that Michael Landon had a legendary temper on the set. The show was steeped in melodrama, but I embraced Melissa Gilbert as the plucky Laura Ingalls and watched her grow up on TV just like everybody else did. The thing is, at that time, even though I knew she wasn't Laura, I had a hard time watching her in anything else. I didn't want to see her wearing modern clothes, preferring her prairie skirts and sunbonnets. I suspect it was difficult for audiences to separate Melissa from Laura and Laura from Melissa even when she'd obviously had outgrown both the show and the character. To this day, I'm not really familiar with any of her other work other than The Miracle Worker. I did, however, get to see Melissa Gilbert play Caroline Ingalls in the Little House Musical in Denver a few years ago and I remember thinking that she had transitioned from Laura to Caroline (Ma) Ingalls very nicely. Her life is both complicated and exhausting though. Although Gilbert never really broke into feature work, she had a non-stop schedule making movie-of-the-week films. She lived life in the fast lane and she's nothing less than open and candid about her life in Hollywood.It makes me wonder what she held back. After Little House, her life accelerated and she ended up living in the Hollywood fast lane. She and Rob Lowe had an on-again-off-again complicated relationship for six years. She was very well-connected in the insular world of Hollywood as well. At first, I thought there was some serious name-dropping, but I soon realized that it's just the way life is in Hollywood. She had access to lots of cocaine. She dated tons of actors, had flings with most of them, all while trying to keep some type of equilibrium in her life. She struggled with her self-esteem and her looks opting for both a nose job and breast augmentation. Her marriage to Bo Brinkman was doomed from the beginning and her subsequent marriage to Bruce Boxleitner, despite writing that it was solid, seemed on a shaky foundation at best. (I realized that this memoir was published in 2009. I was right about that shaky foundation. Although she ends her memoir on a positive note writing that her life is in a good place especially her marriage, since the publication of Prairie Tale, she's now divorced again and now married to Timothy Busfield.) It's not easy being a performer. So much of one's identity is wrapped up in the characters they play and there's that facade and veneer they portray to the world. Behind the scenes, there lurks the often dark moments of insecurity, impermanence, and fleeting fame. Earlier this year, I read a biography of River Phoenix (Again, see my review of Last Night at the Viper Room) and even though Gilbert and Phoenix don't appear to have much in common, their fast paced crazy tilt-a-whirl lives intersect with some similar experiences. Life just moves too fast for them to gain any kind of foothold on reality. Melissa Gilbert offered herself, warts and all, knowing full well that her readers would come away disappointed that she wasn't really Half-Pint. I think she hoped that her fans would understand her in a new light and see her as fully three-dimensional human. Although I found her memoir poignant at times, it was sad to see her seem so lost for so long while making questionable choices for her life. I read this quickly, but I do think that it was a little too long in places and some of her own melodrama could have been streamlined better.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rhonda

    As a long-time viewer of the Little House series, I was excited to read this book. After reading it, I found the title to be misleading. If you are looking for an actual memoir of her work on Little House, you're not going to find it here. There were few references to the actual Little House set and much more focus on Melissa Gilbert's personal life and the multitude of celebrities with whom she, her parents, or grandparents associated. As an autobiography, it wasn't bad, but there were way too As a long-time viewer of the Little House series, I was excited to read this book. After reading it, I found the title to be misleading. If you are looking for an actual memoir of her work on Little House, you're not going to find it here. There were few references to the actual Little House set and much more focus on Melissa Gilbert's personal life and the multitude of celebrities with whom she, her parents, or grandparents associated. As an autobiography, it wasn't bad, but there were way too many names dropped and it really started to get irritating. It seems like Melissa Gilbert feels the need to include the name of every celebrity she's ever met, worked with or waved to on the street. That said, it would have been more honest and appropriate to market the book under a different title, instead of capitalizing on consumers who are actually interested in the real "Prairie Tale". I doubt that this book would have been purchased for me (or that I would have read it) had it been titled "Melissa Gilbert: The People I Know, the Men Who Treated Me Badly, and the Number of Times I Drank."

  11. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    I purchased this book because I am a huge fan of Little House on the Prairie and thought Melissa Gilbert did an awesome job playing the character of Laura Ingalls Wilder. My mother introduced me to the series when I was about 7 or 8 years old. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed that Melissa Gilbert felt a need to use so much profanity throughout the book. It was really hard for me to read through most of the chapters because of the profanity. I enjoyed the last few chapters because I purchased this book because I am a huge fan of Little House on the Prairie and thought Melissa Gilbert did an awesome job playing the character of Laura Ingalls Wilder. My mother introduced me to the series when I was about 7 or 8 years old. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed that Melissa Gilbert felt a need to use so much profanity throughout the book. It was really hard for me to read through most of the chapters because of the profanity. I enjoyed the last few chapters because they were profanity free. On the other hand, I think this is a book that proves celebrities have difficulties and make wrong choices just like everyone else. However, I wished she would have talked in detail about what she learned from her bad decisions, rather than concentrate so much on name dropping and her relationship with Rob. I also would have liked for her to discuss, in greater detail, her role on Little House and how she interacted with the other actors and actresses. Afterall, that was the reason why I had purchased the book in the first place.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kiirsi Hellewell

    I think the title is sort of false advertising. I wanted to hear tons of behind-the-scenes information about the actors playing the beloved Little House on the Prairie characters, and stories from the set. Instead, the LHOP years were mostly glossed over and barely mentioned. What the book really is: a very long narration of the author's life, mostly focusing on all the drinking, partying, and "flings" with various partners. I really did not enjoy all the details and emphasis about who was sleep I think the title is sort of false advertising. I wanted to hear tons of behind-the-scenes information about the actors playing the beloved Little House on the Prairie characters, and stories from the set. Instead, the LHOP years were mostly glossed over and barely mentioned. What the book really is: a very long narration of the author's life, mostly focusing on all the drinking, partying, and "flings" with various partners. I really did not enjoy all the details and emphasis about who was sleeping with/cheating on/doing drugs with whom. (Not to mention all the profanity!)

  13. 5 out of 5

    J.H. Moncrieff

    3.5 stars It's really hard to review a memoir, or at least I find it that way. Melissa Gilbert was surprisingly honest and open about the men she slept with, various celebrity encounters, how she got along with other actors and people in the industry, her struggles with addiction, and her plastic surgeries. Which makes for an at-times riveting memoir (the parts about her SAG board meetings and running for SAG president and lobbying for hospice rights for children are decidedly less so). Unfortunat 3.5 stars It's really hard to review a memoir, or at least I find it that way. Melissa Gilbert was surprisingly honest and open about the men she slept with, various celebrity encounters, how she got along with other actors and people in the industry, her struggles with addiction, and her plastic surgeries. Which makes for an at-times riveting memoir (the parts about her SAG board meetings and running for SAG president and lobbying for hospice rights for children are decidedly less so). Unfortunately, her openness and honesty often makes her seem less likeable and vain. Hearing about how terrible Rob Lowe was to her (over and over again, apparently) and how nasty the girl who played Mary on Little House was, one can't help but wonder about THEIR side of the story. I've seen other celebrity memoirs criticized because they didn't give up the goods, so I can understand why she told us about Michael Landon drinking on the set of Little House, his infidelity, or that he'd coloured his hair since Bonanza, and about every one of her paramours' failings, but it still struck me as cruel and unnecessary a lot of the time, especially for those who weren't here to defend themselves or give permission. I hope Gilbert spoke to their families first. While I understand the impulse to write a tell-all as one's career wanes and opportunities grow fewer and farther between, it would be kinder and more respectful to hold at least some of these details back.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Candice

    I’ll try to make a long story short. We now have “cable” tv and I record “Little House on the Prairie” on DVR so that my kids and I can watch when we have time. For me it’s a throw back to the ‘80s, watching TV after school with my mom and sisters. It was a tear-fest for us even as young girls. Now as I watch I see how manipulated the viewers’ emotions are typically by the music and over-the-top sad stories (at Michael Landon’s insistence the show did not stick to the books by Laura Ingalls Wild I’ll try to make a long story short. We now have “cable” tv and I record “Little House on the Prairie” on DVR so that my kids and I can watch when we have time. For me it’s a throw back to the ‘80s, watching TV after school with my mom and sisters. It was a tear-fest for us even as young girls. Now as I watch I see how manipulated the viewers’ emotions are typically by the music and over-the-top sad stories (at Michael Landon’s insistence the show did not stick to the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder and most story lines were made up, whatever made for good television, I suppose). Manipulated emotions aside I still enjoy watching with my kids and we have had some good discussions about morals, family values, etc. Anyway, after watching several episodes I got to thinking: what was it like for the kid actors growing up on the show and where are they now? Luckily three of the main stars have autobiographies that I checked out. Laura, Mary & Nellie. Laura Ingalls’ Melissa Gilbert’s memoir was fantastic. Right up my alley. At first, my goal was to read as much about life on the set of Little House as possible. A few chapters into Melissa’s book and she had moved on to mostly her personal life. I guessed I would probably not finish the book because reading about her personal dramas weren’t what I had in mind...BUT something happened. Her stories were actually super interesting and Melissa’s writing was intriguing. She was candid, self-depreciating and seemed like the rest of us who are on a journey trying to figure out our lives. (She also knows a ton of celebrities and had some really honest and not so nice things to say about a few of them. That was just plain fun!) Melissa happens to be a third generation entertainer, her parents and grandparents were legendary in old Hollywood and so she also had great stories about her grandfather and the Rat Pack, etc. Along with details from Melissa’s personal journey (alcoholism, failed relationships - including one with Rob Lowe, - acting career), her stories about her extended family, and her stories about Hollywood I found this read to be quite enjoyable. In fact, I was so intrigued it only took me about a week to read! I’ll review Mary Ingalls’ Melissa Sue Anderson’s account of her Little House days next (what a snooze fest compared to Melissa’s!) and then I’m off to read about Nellie’s Allison Arngrim.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Camelama

    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 wh 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?!?!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. If I walked into my living room with my two-month old (whom I had to have a C-section to get) and found my husband with a hooker on my couch... I dont know what I would do EXACTLY, but it sure as hell wouldn't be "go back upstairs and then have a chat with him". I found this book completely aggravating when it came to the shit she put up with to keep these men around. As for Rob Lowe, I don't care how good looking someone is, once a cheater always a cheater and not worth your time. She had a won If I walked into my living room with my two-month old (whom I had to have a C-section to get) and found my husband with a hooker on my couch... I dont know what I would do EXACTLY, but it sure as hell wouldn't be "go back upstairs and then have a chat with him". I found this book completely aggravating when it came to the shit she put up with to keep these men around. As for Rob Lowe, I don't care how good looking someone is, once a cheater always a cheater and not worth your time. She had a wonderful man who treated her like a princess and she threw that away to give Lowe yet another chance. I had to put the book down because it got me so annoyed.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tressa

    Ah, hell. What little girl didn't want to be Half Pint? I'll squeeze this book in even though I've got a stack of them TBR. Ah, hell. What little girl didn't want to be Half Pint? I'll squeeze this book in even though I've got a stack of them TBR.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa

    I'm not a die hard fan of Melissa or the Little House on the Prairie TV show-but I am familiar with both. I actually liked reading about Melissa's dramatic life. I can see why fans of LHotP may be shocked that Melissa isn't this wholesome relatable person. That's the point-she is being 100% herself. She isn't like the darling Laura she played, frozen in time. Some people seem to be bothered by her celebrity name dropping. Again, she's not like you and me. She writes that her life was crazy and ce I'm not a die hard fan of Melissa or the Little House on the Prairie TV show-but I am familiar with both. I actually liked reading about Melissa's dramatic life. I can see why fans of LHotP may be shocked that Melissa isn't this wholesome relatable person. That's the point-she is being 100% herself. She isn't like the darling Laura she played, frozen in time. Some people seem to be bothered by her celebrity name dropping. Again, she's not like you and me. She writes that her life was crazy and celebrity-filled from the get-go. Her family was a part of old Hollywood, so of course her life wasn't in any way normal. That's the point.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Relyn

    As I began reading this, I realized that I had before and had abandoned it before. Melissa Gilbert does a fine job, but I am just not a celebrity memoir person. If this had been all about Little House, I'd probably have loved it. As I began reading this, I realized that I had before and had abandoned it before. Melissa Gilbert does a fine job, but I am just not a celebrity memoir person. If this had been all about Little House, I'd probably have loved it.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    She’s a hot mess but she owns it. I only meant to skim the Rob Lowe parts but I couldn’t stop reading.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Picked this book up on Thursday night and finished in 2 marathon reads by early Saturday morning. I grew up (like so many in my generation) watching Little House on the Prairie every week and also in syndication after school, sometimes 2 or 3 times a day if nobody took control of the TV from me. SO I loved reading about the early years of Melissa Gilbert. Ms. Gilbert tells her story carefully, it could have come off as a poor little rich girl story, but it doesn't. Melissa was a hardworking kid Picked this book up on Thursday night and finished in 2 marathon reads by early Saturday morning. I grew up (like so many in my generation) watching Little House on the Prairie every week and also in syndication after school, sometimes 2 or 3 times a day if nobody took control of the TV from me. SO I loved reading about the early years of Melissa Gilbert. Ms. Gilbert tells her story carefully, it could have come off as a poor little rich girl story, but it doesn't. Melissa was a hardworking kid who wanted to please everyone around her and although she had her share of turmoil she also had loving support, even though it may not have been exactly in the form she needed. In her later years the story goes by quicker and critics have said she glosses over and leaves out a lot of details, for instance mentioning a fling with John Cusack but never elaborating further. This did not bother me though, I wasn't really looking for a tell-all gossip piece. I could relate to her struggles with figuring out who she was (is) an what kind of a person, mother, daughter, friend she wants to be. Although I haven't struggled through an addiction to alcohol, I have addictions of my own which helped me to push away the issues I wasn't able to face. Instead, Prairie Tale is the very honest memoir of a barely middle age actor who grew up in the public eye and made to adulthood with a few problems she was open to work on. She seems as well adjusted as anyone in Hollywood could be and I look forward to watching her from afar as her career continues. Ms. Gilbert's acknowledgments also include an enormous list of possible titles for her life story, from movie of the week ridiculous to just plain fun (Does This Gingham Dress make me Look Fat?). Don't miss it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Abra

    Bah. I wanted Melissa Gilbert to be more political: she was the President of the Screen Actors Guild, for fuck's sake. But her memoir revealed her to be more humdrum than not; a repressed child, a woman who needed a daddy figure, and an alcoholic daddy figure at that, and an indifferently okay actress. I knew that last: I've tried watching her in anything past Little House on the Prairie and she was dreadful in every last role. I'm kind of curious to read Alison Arngrim's memoir about being the Bah. I wanted Melissa Gilbert to be more political: she was the President of the Screen Actors Guild, for fuck's sake. But her memoir revealed her to be more humdrum than not; a repressed child, a woman who needed a daddy figure, and an alcoholic daddy figure at that, and an indifferently okay actress. I knew that last: I've tried watching her in anything past Little House on the Prairie and she was dreadful in every last role. I'm kind of curious to read Alison Arngrim's memoir about being the bitch on that series -- apparently she was Melissa G's best friend on the set, with Mrs. Oleson running a close second. Mary -- Melissa Sue Anderson -- was definitely actually a closed, cold, competitive bitch, which honestly, is fair enough from the Ingalls Wilder books. She's written a memoir too. The only person who hasn't is Melissa G's adopted younger brother Jonathan Gilbert, who played Willie Oleson, a fact which I did not know. According to Melissa Gilbert, he cut himself off from his family almost twenty years ago and is now a stockbroker. You know whose memoir I'd prefer to read from that family? Sara Gilbert, aka Darlene from Roseanne who came out years ago and is engaged to some rock girl and has two kids from her previous lesbian marriage. LHOP was on from 1974 to 1983, from when I had just moved from Madison to Evanston at age 8 to my junior year in high school, at 17. And Roseanne was on from 1988 to 1997 -- ironically two years longer than Melissa's star vehicle. I guess Sara Gilbert wasn't quite so much America's Sweetheart, but she was a great, realistic daughter of the working class.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kellie

    This is the 3rd Hollywood autobiography I’ve read this past month. It makes me wonder, what childhood actress didn’t do drugs? Didn’t have dysfunctional childhoods? Didn’t have insecurity? I have yet to read about one. Maybe Tori Spelling had a better childhood. I don't know. I haven’t read her book yet. Out of the 3 autobiographies, this was the best one. The writing was more intelligent. The organization was better. It was overall more engaging than Valerie’s or MacKenzie’s. Melissa was adopte This is the 3rd Hollywood autobiography I’ve read this past month. It makes me wonder, what childhood actress didn’t do drugs? Didn’t have dysfunctional childhoods? Didn’t have insecurity? I have yet to read about one. Maybe Tori Spelling had a better childhood. I don't know. I haven’t read her book yet. Out of the 3 autobiographies, this was the best one. The writing was more intelligent. The organization was better. It was overall more engaging than Valerie’s or MacKenzie’s. Melissa was adopted. Her adoptive parents split up when she was still a young child. She had close relationships with many Hollywood stars including Michael Landon who Melissa says was like a father to her. She dated Rob Lowe off and on for several years. She hob nobbed with many stars. She is currently on her second marriage and has 2 children and 2 step children with her current husband. As an adult, she seems to have pulled her life back together after dysfunctional relationships, substance abuse and emotional rollercoasters. I really enjoyed this and I commend her for her writing talent. I highly recommend this, especially if you grew up watching her in Little House on the Prairie. At the end in the Acknowledgement section, Melissa has a list of potential titles of the book. Here are some I thought were pretty funny Nellie's not a bitch, Mary Is The Highs and the Lowes Half Pint Fully Loaded Half Pint a day Melissa Gilbert from Pigtails to Politics

  24. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    This book had a much less captivating narrative that most memoirs I have picked up in the past 12 months. It read very much like a book report or someone looking at old photos and saying, "oh, here's where this happened." The Little House years themselves were barely blips in the book. On one page she gets the part and then a few later she's suddenly on season six. Which is fine, the later years are no doubt far more interesting, but it is hardly a "Prairie Tale." And I didn't recall Melissa Gil This book had a much less captivating narrative that most memoirs I have picked up in the past 12 months. It read very much like a book report or someone looking at old photos and saying, "oh, here's where this happened." The Little House years themselves were barely blips in the book. On one page she gets the part and then a few later she's suddenly on season six. Which is fine, the later years are no doubt far more interesting, but it is hardly a "Prairie Tale." And I didn't recall Melissa Gilbert being the huge gigantic star (who George Clooney pines over?!) that it seems in this book. (There were hoardes of paparazzi following you and Bruce Boxleitner at your wedding? Really?) But it could well be I wasn't paying attention then. There also was some seriously schlocky text; many people dying "on their own terms" and determination to attend a post-9/11 meeting "or else the terrorists win!" Despite these drawbacks, it was a quick and enjoyable read and I applaud anyone who can open up his or her life like that. Plus she was pretty candid about other actors/costars/etc. A few times I thought, whoa, hope he/she does not read this! Also learned: never let your child become an actor, it doesn't matter how strict of a parent you are.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Really enjoyed this! Gilbert is VERY name-droppy, but in an interesting way, especially since many of the people she dished about were the Brat-Packers I adored once upon a time. She's also honest about her own shortcomings. Gilbert dishes about everyone, up to and including her own mother, but she also owns up to drinking, doing drugs, cheating on Rob Lowe, and being at fault in problems in her still-existing marriage to Bruce Boxleitner. In fact the marriage stuff might be one of the best parts Really enjoyed this! Gilbert is VERY name-droppy, but in an interesting way, especially since many of the people she dished about were the Brat-Packers I adored once upon a time. She's also honest about her own shortcomings. Gilbert dishes about everyone, up to and including her own mother, but she also owns up to drinking, doing drugs, cheating on Rob Lowe, and being at fault in problems in her still-existing marriage to Bruce Boxleitner. In fact the marriage stuff might be one of the best parts of the book. The Boxleitners have had PLENTY of real problems in their marriage, but they work hard at it, and they're still married. You know how sometimes it's reassuring to know that people you admire are flawed, too? Yeah, that. There's also plenty of good Little House stuff, but it doesn't occupy the entire book. You'll also read about Gilbert's early childhood and the bit of mystery surrounding her adoption, partying with the Brat Pack, working with lots of big names in Hollywood, becoming a recovering alcoholic, and being president of the Screen Actor's Guild. The Guild stuff was pretty interesting, too -- a bit of insight into the politics of Hollywood. Definitely recommend for Little House TV show fans and people interested in Hollywood in general.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany Day

    Gilbert's book is indulgent, and at times makes the reader uncomfortable in its tendency to overshare. The first half was very readable, including her start in show business, her time on Little House, and her experiences as part of the Brat Pack during her on-and-off romance with Rob Lowe. The remainder drags, though, as she delves into her personal issues, including her marriages, motherhood, and her addictions. I can't help but feel for her family, particularly her mother and husband (at the t Gilbert's book is indulgent, and at times makes the reader uncomfortable in its tendency to overshare. The first half was very readable, including her start in show business, her time on Little House, and her experiences as part of the Brat Pack during her on-and-off romance with Rob Lowe. The remainder drags, though, as she delves into her personal issues, including her marriages, motherhood, and her addictions. I can't help but feel for her family, particularly her mother and husband (at the time of publication) for much of what she spilled - but I especially empathized with her kids. How awkward. Gilbert seems to have an overly-dramatic style, so maybe they are all used to it. Overall, it's a fairly breezy read that is not as good as Arngrim's (Nellie), but better than Anderson's (Mary). 4 stars

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rekha

    If you're going to write a celebrity tell-all, this is how it's done, people. The ingredients: a starlet who is born into a show business family and can tell anecdotes about meeting the likes of Groucho Marx and Ann-Margret before turning 10. Also, anecdotes about an affair with Danny Sugerman and Billy Idol doesn't hurt. Throw in a long-term tumultuous relationship with Rob Lowe? Yes, please. Sprinkle with vignettes where one of the guys from the John Hughes Brat Pack makes out with Liza Minnel If you're going to write a celebrity tell-all, this is how it's done, people. The ingredients: a starlet who is born into a show business family and can tell anecdotes about meeting the likes of Groucho Marx and Ann-Margret before turning 10. Also, anecdotes about an affair with Danny Sugerman and Billy Idol doesn't hurt. Throw in a long-term tumultuous relationship with Rob Lowe? Yes, please. Sprinkle with vignettes where one of the guys from the John Hughes Brat Pack makes out with Liza Minnelli (I won't spoil it by telling you who) and a tryst between John Cusack and another 80s star is revealed, and then top it off by a description of a post-9/11 visit from Karl Rove to talk about how the entertainment industry can fight terrorism, and you have WON ME OVER. Nice one, Half Pint.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    This book has lots of Hollywood name-dropping, which you can't blame Melissa Gilbert for, since she was born into a Hollywood family and had met 500 famous people before she ever starred in her first commercial. It also has a good record of who slept with who in Hollywood in the 80's, and enough Hollywood gossip and bitterness to keep it interesting and a page turner. But besides that, as a little girl in the 70's-80's, I was obsessed with "little house on the prairie" and this is a great behind This book has lots of Hollywood name-dropping, which you can't blame Melissa Gilbert for, since she was born into a Hollywood family and had met 500 famous people before she ever starred in her first commercial. It also has a good record of who slept with who in Hollywood in the 80's, and enough Hollywood gossip and bitterness to keep it interesting and a page turner. But besides that, as a little girl in the 70's-80's, I was obsessed with "little house on the prairie" and this is a great behind the scenes memoir of all that. I thought I might like this book, but I ended up liking it more than I thought I would. A must read for any former "little house" groupies!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    I was a little bit disappointed in this book. I did find it interesting that she talks A LOT about Rob Lowe and in his book, he doesn't mention Melissa very often. I thought his book was a lot kinder on the subject. I LOVED Little House when I was young - LOVED it! At least until Laura got older, then I didn't like the way she was portrayed on the show. When I saw this book was out, I really wanted to read it. I don't know what I was expecting. I know her life wasn't all sunlight, roses, and wago I was a little bit disappointed in this book. I did find it interesting that she talks A LOT about Rob Lowe and in his book, he doesn't mention Melissa very often. I thought his book was a lot kinder on the subject. I LOVED Little House when I was young - LOVED it! At least until Laura got older, then I didn't like the way she was portrayed on the show. When I saw this book was out, I really wanted to read it. I don't know what I was expecting. I know her life wasn't all sunlight, roses, and wagon wheels but somehow, I just didn't get into the spirit of this memoir. I didn't mind the name dropping, though. I mean, that's part of the reason I read the book!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Heiberger

    This book was pretty nuts. While it was a fast and at times a fun read, it really made me lose any respect for Melissa Gilbert that I may have once had. I'm still puzzled why at 44 she chose to write this book. It's basically a book of her dredging up her own dirty laundry and every other person's skeletons in the closet. If you're in the mood for a dishy autobiography, I recommend this fast read. However, I warn you. If you loved "Little House" as much as I did, I suggest you watch an episode o This book was pretty nuts. While it was a fast and at times a fun read, it really made me lose any respect for Melissa Gilbert that I may have once had. I'm still puzzled why at 44 she chose to write this book. It's basically a book of her dredging up her own dirty laundry and every other person's skeletons in the closet. If you're in the mood for a dishy autobiography, I recommend this fast read. However, I warn you. If you loved "Little House" as much as I did, I suggest you watch an episode or two and leave this book on the shelf.

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