Prairie Man: My Little House Life & Beyond

Citadel. Jun. 2024. 288p. ISBN 9780806543291. $28. MEMOIR
This book was published to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the 1974–83 TV series Little House on the Prairie. Butler, who starred as Laura Ingalls Wilder’s husband, Almanzo, pens a memoir to go with Melissa Gilbert’s Prairie Tale and Karen Grassle’s Bright Lights, Prairie Dust. Born in Canada in 1956 but a fifth-generation Californian, he believes that being raised to be polite helped him land the beloved TV role at 23. He acknowledges his devotion to the series that made him famous, but he doesn’t shy away from addressing controversies surrounding the show or the children’s books on which it was based. That includes his on-screen kiss with his TV wife, played by a then-15-year-old Gilbert, and author Laura Ingalls Wilder’s negative depiction of Indigenous peoples. He is also forthcoming about misogyny and sexual harassment in Hollywood.
VERDICT Butler adeptly chronicles his trajectory into television, film, and Broadway and as a producer, and he’s candid about his personal and career achievements and missteps. He is as charming a writer as an actor. Fans will enjoy this behind-the-scenes look at his life and career.
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