About the book:
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 child.
To 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.
She was a natural on camera, but behind the scenes, life was more complicated. Adopted as a baby into a legendary show business family, Melissa wrestled with questions about her identity and struggled to maintain an image of perfection her mother created and enforced. Only after years of substance abuse, dysfunctional relationships, and made-for-television movies did she begin to figure out who she really was.
With candor and humor, the cherished actress traces her complicated journey from buck-toothed Laura "Half-pint" 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. Left in debt after her first marriage, and struggling to create some sense of stability, 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.
Melissa Gilbert weaves an interesting and enthralling tale of life in Hollywood. She is open about the fact that she was adopted at birth, and how that information affected her perceptions of herself. She name drops at every turn, which is understandable, as she grew up in a show business family and her friends and acquaintances from an early age were actors. If you've thought of Melissa as a sweet, innocent actress, she shatters that perception. She's very open about the fact that she has addictive tendencies and because of that, struggled with alcoholism and substance abuse for years, before finally becoming sober.
Melissa talks a great deal about her time on Little House on the Prairie and the father figure that Michael Landon was to her, and his influence. Her little insights into the filming of the show were fun. She chronicles her long-term, often volatile romance with Rob Lowe and their adventures with the Brat Pack (including Tom Cruise and Emilio Estevez), and her drug use. She writes of her first marriage and divorce; of meeting her second husband, Bruce Boxleitner and their romance, and the subsequent premature birth of their son, Michael. Melissa also chronicles her stint as SAG President, and includes some snarky commentary about various difficult actors and actresses.
While entertaining and enthralling, this is the memoir of a woman who struggled with many issues throughout her life, including her identity, the need to present a perfect front, and her attraction toward dysfunctional, dangerous men. The book is a veritable Who's Who in Hollywood, including who slept with whom.
This was a book that I had high expectations for and while I wound up liking it, I was also disappointed at the same time. The narration was often disjointed and jumped around a bit. However, my biggest disappointment was in the amount of profanity, which is what kept me from giving it three stars. The crass, prolific vulgarity was distracting and unnecessary. Other than that, it was an entertaining read.
Thanks to my local library for having a copy I could borrow.