Saturday, April 5, 2008

The Ghost in the Little House by William Holtz



In May 2006, I began reading The Ghost in the Little House by William Holtz. This is one of the few biographies of Rose Wilder Lane that I know exists and I put off reading it because the author contends that Rose should be credited as the co-author of the Little House series. What follows are my thoughts and comments as I read the book, which will cover multiple entries

I am only 60 pages into this nearly 400-page biography of what seems to be a complex and interesting character. As the reviews on the back suggest, Holtz's biography of Lane attempts to prove Rose Wilder Lane was the co-author of the famous Little House books along with her mother Laura Ingalls Wilder. My deep love for the Little House series and Wilder's other writings is what kept me from purchasing Holtz's book.

My intention is to keep an open mind as I read this book, but not even 100 pages into it, I am already struggling. Holtz has made the Wilders out to be less than adequate parents and Rose Wilder Lane is portrayed as a precocious child who understood things way beyond her years. Even the quotes by Rose which appear underneath each chapter's title are carefully selected to make Rose out to seem like the victim of her circumstances.

Chapter 1 - "I hated everything and everybody in my childhood..."
Chapter 2 - "Influences: 1 - 16: no affection, poverty, inferiority"
Chapter 4 - "The worst thing about life is the necessity of trying to do something with it."

There are non-derogatory quotes by Lane for other chapters, but none that I consider inspiring or uplifting. It seems Holtz felt sympathy would influence the reader, thus swaying her into believing Lane was the co-author of the Little House books along with her mother. Perhaps Lane did offer her mother more than editorial advice. I have 300 plus pages to figure it out.

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