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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Did Rose Write Laura's Books?

The website slate.com posted a really interesting article a couple of days ago.  It was titled "A Peek Inside the Mother-Daughter Collaboration That Brought Us the Little House Series" and can be found here if you want to look at that good read.

What fascinated me was that Rose very pointedly told her mother what to do at several points in her manuscript for "By the Shores of Silver Lake."  But Laura ignored most of her bossy daughter's advice. 

I'm sorry all you folks in the 'Rose ghost-wrote the Little House series" camp, but that just made me giggle.  Loudly.

After reading just about all of what Laura ever wrote, including her fiction, journal, various letters and also her articles, and also reading a fair amount of Rose's offerings, I just can't see how Rose could have possibly adopted the kind, warm, engaging voice her mother so clearly had.  So I've always been dubious about whether Rose really earned the credits some people freely assigned her.

Not that I think Rose had no influence on her mother's writing. . .I actually do.  I think she helped Laura to understand story arc within a book and also within a series.  I also think she was invaluable in mentoring Laura in the ways of editors and publishers.  She probably was a decent sounding board for ideas, too.

But do I think she 'wrote' on behalf of Laura?  Heck to the 'NO!'

Besides the undeniable difference in tone, feel and voice that Rose and Laura adopt in their respective works of fiction, there is a ton of concrete evidence to support the fact that Laura was an outstanding natural story teller and writer in her own right.

Take her first book, "Little House in the Big Woods" for example. . .huge swatches of her original hand written manuscript remain unchanged in the final published version.  Rose had nothing to do with those significant sections. . .so the deliciously crafted story and endearing voice was all Laura's.

This letter that slate.com posted is another great proof text.  Rose told her mother not to do a whole bunch of things in her book, but Laura did them anyway, with brilliant results.  So it's clear to me that Rose was certainly opinionated and involved, but Laura was definitely in the driver's seat.

And I am so freaking glad she was!

(photo courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net and can be found here)

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