Saturday, May 21, 2022

Back to the Prairie by Melissa Gilbert


As soon as I as Melissa Gilbert had written another memoir, I just had to read it. I did gulp it down in one weekend (which is something I haven't done in a long, long time). 

I grew up a huge fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder (Little House in the Big Woods is my favorite book) and of course my family always watched the TV show every week. Then Melissa Gilbert dated Rob Lowe and wow I thought she was pretty fantastic outside of her role as LIW. She was part of the cool, young, rising stars set of the early 1980's. 

Then darn it all, she married Bruce Boxleitner, who I had a huge crush on in the 80's. Dang. I read her first memoir, Prairie Tale, and loved it. I thought she had managed to have a pretty sweet life. 

I was wrong. She ended up divorcing Bruce after many years of marriage, and found herself in her forties divorced, financially strapped, and so tired of living the Hollywood life. And then...she met Timothy Busfield. You know, the actor from Thirtysomething and one of the geeks from Revenge of the Nerds. That guy. The universe  works in weird ways, and they came together at the best time in their lives. Finding so much in common, and, yes, life goals to still achieve, they ended up in Michigan, and finally, upstate New York. That's where most of this memoir takes place. 

Melissa and Tim start over, and the pandemic gave them the chance to really dive into living a simple life on fourteen acres of woods in a small ramshackle home they refurbished. Melissa is definitely a city woman, but found herself embracing country life-and also discovering she's pretty darn handy at home maintenance, gardening, and raising chickens. She found fulfillment and a place to land. 

Now in her late 50's, Melissa's tale is about starting over and discovering that there's always a chance to find your happily ever after. Every mistake you make leads to your best life. She also says she finally learned she's "earned the right to her opinions". As someone in my 50's as well, I will say there's something almost magical about this age. You do let go of so much stuff, grow into who you really are, and start putting yourself first. I guess that's the trade off for hot flashes! 

Fair warning Melissa is very clear on her political views so if you're a Trump fan who can't bear to hear any criticism, don't read this book. 

Otherwise, enjoy Melissa's memoir. It's a fast read, and her voice is very strong. Her energy is apparent and I found myself hearing her voice as I read (I did not listen to the audio).  She's survived a lot of heartbreak, childhood issues, and boy oh boy, back and neck pain. I had no idea she had such such painful medical issues. 

Rating: 4/6 for an uplifting memoir about embracing life, opportunities, and always learning something new. Love and family are the center we always return to and the  foundation from which we grow. 

Available in hardcover, ebook, and audio. 

No comments :

Post a Comment