Little Bodice Ripper on the Prairie?

I have a deep and abiding fondness for the works of Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Read them as a child and adored them, then picked them up again a couple years ago as comfort reading and discovered they were still wonderful. As an archaeologist and historian and general nerd, I was also interested in more information about Laura and her family. So, there's this book - Laura: The Life of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Donald Zochert.  I scored it from Paperback Swap.  The cover is tripping me out.
The front cover isn't so bad.  They were clearly trying to capitalize on the Little House on the Prairie TV show without getting too far into potential lawsuit territory, which explains the Michael Landon looking dude on the left there.

Then there's the back cover:

Yeah.  I have many questions.
I'm assuming that's Laura over there on the left.
What isn't clear is why she has her blouse unbuttoned halfway to her navel.  Or why she has short, Brady Bunch hair.
On the right, I'm guessing Almanzo Wilder.  I was unaware until now that his family  had Neanderthal ancestry of sufficient recentness to give him a really distinctive brow-ridge.   Or that he apparently highlighted his hair.

Seriously - WTF?

The author, Zochert, writes in a weird, simplistic kind of folksy way that is sort of like Laura's.  I can't decide if this is annoying yet.

I definitely have not hit any bodice ripping yet.

Enhanced by Zemanta


Chip said...

Let me know if they mention the theory that her daughter Rose Wilder Lane actually wrote most or all of the Little House stories.

Alwen said...

Post titles (this one and the last one) for the win!

I read a bunch of Laura Ingalls Wilder books and biographies last summer. Very interesting read, although in some ways I wished I'd stuck to the Little House books.

Being a grown-up is not always easy.

Shoveling Ferret said...

I'm curious about that myself, Chip. I read one of the appendices (despite the rest of the book being written in what is anything but academic style, there are appendices) and it seems like Zochert can't seem to decide WTF his point was - the Little House books aren't literal history. Okay, fine. They're a wonderful example of factual art (or something). Okay. And then he has a go at people who passionately defend the books as fact. There's not a lot of mention of Rose, though. At least not yet. I'm inclined to think she contributed a great deal to editing and probably influenced the basic tone, but that the essential work was Laura's.

Shoveling Ferret said...

Alwen, I remember reading The First Four Years when I was 10 or 11 (it was harder to find than the rest of the Wilder books) and since the tone changed so drastically and "really bad stuff" happened I pretended it didn't exist and never read it again.

Bookewyrme said...

Wow. That's quite the pair of covers there. Do post more about the contents when you're done if you feel like it. I'd be interested. I'm pretty sure the Little House books were the first chapter books I ever read when I was quite small, and they've got a very special place in my heart consequently.

Shame there's no mention of Rose though. Laura was a pretty amazing lady, but her daughter Rose was even more interesting and amazing too, I think.