Be glad in the Lord and rejoice! Psalm 32:11

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Memoir from Melissa Gilbert - She's not living Prairie-style anymore!

When I was younger I loved watching Melissa Gilbert on television. I was a big fan of “Little House on the Prairie,” having been an admirer of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books of the same name. It was pleasant to watch the gentle stories of Laura Ingalls and her family, and Melissa as “Laura,” or “Half Pint” as she was called, was the embodiment of an innocent child growing up in a loving family.

So I was thrilled to discover that Gilbert had penned a memoir of her life, and I was anxious to read about her take on the entire experience of being a child actor.

In her book, “Prairie Tale,” Gilbert writes about her life as an adored child. Adopted at birth, she was showered with attention by her stand-up comedian father Paul Gilbert, her actress mother Barbara Crane, and her show-biz legend grandfather, “The Honeymooner’s” creator Harry Crane. It was natural for her parents to take Melissa to auditions for acting jobs, and she was soon in many television commercials. It was in an Alpo commercial with Bonanza’s Lorne Green that Melissa was discovered by Michael Landon, and asked to try out for his new drama series. And as they say, television history was made.

Growing up as America’s sweetheart, Gilbert could do no wrong in the public eye. But in private, she was actually a normal kid with all of the normal anxieties of adolescence. She worried about her first kiss and her first bra just like any other girl. Gilbert also had her share of adventures Hollywood style, including bouts of drug use and alcoholism. I would never have guessed “Half Pint” would grow up to have such a fondness for recreational drugs. (She is clean and sober now.)

Gilbert also relates in great detail her many relationships, including her engagement to Rob Lowe and the time when she and rocker Billy Idol were dating. She also reveals her frustrations while trying to find her birth parents, and the conflict she felt from her mother about the Gilbert family’s Jewish religion.

She also shares triumphs in her life. Highlights include the production of “The Miracle Worker” with Patty Duke, her stint as president of the Screen Actors Guild, and her marriage to fellow actor Bruce Boxleitner and their life with their children. She is now active in working with children in hospice care.

“Prairie Tale” is a fascinating look at a fascinating woman. She may not be in the pubic eye as much these days, but you’ve got to hand it to Melissa Gilbert. She’s a fighter and a survivor. She’s been through the fire of Hollywood, and has come out the other side as a sober, intelligent woman who loves her family and the people around her.

1 comment:

Sheila (bookjourney) said...

Hi Sharon! How is it going? I just read your review at Miss Reamers. Congratulations!

I loved Little House on the Prarie as a kid and always thoght Melissa was the best character. This is a book I would enjoy!