Monday, May 3, 2010

The Way I See It: A Look Back at My Life on Little House by Melissa Anderson -- Book Review

In her new memoir, The Way I See It: A Look Back at My Life on Little House, Melissa Anderson, who played Mary Ingalls on the classic family show Little House on the Prairie, shares her memories of several Little House episodes and her career during her time on the iconic show.

Taking readers from her initial meeting with beloved creator, actor and producer, Michael Landon, through After-School Specials, Love Boat episodes, The Equalizer, and more, Anderson speaks fondly of the career she temporarily left behind to raise her family.

Out of the three books recently written by Little House on the Prairie cast members, this is the one I wanted to read the most. We still hear a lot about Melissa Gilbert and Alison Arngrim, but Anderson walked away from the business and had maintained her privacy for years. Knowing she was finally ready to discuss with fans her Little House years, found me pre-ordering the book from Amazon as soon as it was posted. Despite the fact that I have over 60 books in my TBR pile, the minute this book arrived on my doorstep, I cracked it open and began reading. Perhaps that's why my disappointment seems so great.

I wanted to get to know more about Melissa Anderson, her relationships with the cast and crew of my favorite show, and how she handled being a child star. It ended with me not feeling I learned much more than when I started.

The Way I See It is mostly recaps of Little House episodes in which the character of Mary played a significant role. In addition, there are spots where the dialogue from the episodes is quoted. Having been a fan since childhood, I could probably recite most of these episodes back from memory.

While Anderson shared some memories of Michael Landon and Karen Grassle, the rest of the cast and crew received minimal nods. She didn't speak ill of them, but I felt after so long on a show, she would have more to share about those people she grew up around. I wasn't looking for dirt on who she might not have gotten along with, but it seems like her need for privacy prevented her from offering anything new to readers.

I admire Melissa Anderson. She's beautiful, she's talented, and I would love to see her back on the small screen again. She gave up her career to raise her family and she's not sorry about it. While I am glad I purchased the book so that I can add it to my Laura Ingalls Wilder/LHOP collection, I wish she had been willing to open up more about the role that defined her career.

Title: The Way I See It: A Look Back at My Life on Little House
Author: Melissa Anderson
Publisher: Globe Pequot Press
ISBN: 978-0-7627-5970-5
SRP: $22.95

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