Awesome Adaptations is a weekly bookish meme, hosted at Alisa Selene’s books blog, Picture Me Reading. Each week she writes about an adaptation of a book that she thinks is worth seeing and she has challenged herself to come up with suggestions to match a category. Any format (television series, film, web series, etc.) is acceptable as long as it is based in some form on a book. This week’s challenge is to name: An Awesome Adaptation WITH CORSETS! I chose Little House on the Prairie the television show which ran from 1974-1983. This television series was adapted from the Little House Books by Laura Ingells Wilder.
Whenever I think of corsets I think of the Little House Books by Laura Ingells Wilder. First, because one of the things that Laura remembers from being 3 (5 according to the books, but I read somewhere that the editors made her save five because they said no one would believe she could remember when she was 3). Laura sits on a bed listening to her aunts as they pull their corsets tighter that her mother’s waist was so tiny when she married Laura’s father his hands could span her waist. And some of her growing up years involve the ungainly things and her relief that at least her mother didn’t make her wear the damn thing to bed!
In the vein of the Secret Garden and Anne of Green Gables, these Quiet Books (to coin a term from Stephanie at Read in a Single Sitting) are heartfelt stories of a little girl growing up and learning how to deal with life she and the time period into which she was born. There are no vampires or werewolves or orphaned children, it’s a life that was lived. Yes, there was the incident with the spirited horse who almost ran away with Laura at the helms, the time Laura saw a manic depressed housewife raise a knife over her husband, and her family almost ran out of food one winter, but those stories were part of Laura’s growing up years. I love the books so much I’ve read each book at least 10 times (not exaggerating) and I still cart around my worn out copies even though I’ve moved more than my fair share over the years.
The television series produced and directed by lead actor Michael Landon was a good adaption of the most of the series. They begin with the second book and skip the whole moving thing that happened for the family, but the show kept the characters fairly true to the original people in the book. (Although they added a kid at one point, which was about when I stopped watching reruns of it.) Laura is the main character as far as the children are concerned, but the Pa character came to have a lot of screen time, which is no surprise ad Landon was both an actor and producer. Most of the main events in their lives appear at some point in the television series, and it was popular enough to last for nine seasons. I enjoyed Melissa Gilbert as Laura and thought it was well acted (of course, I haven’t seen this in years, so I’m just going by what I remember). Plus, since this was a family friendly show, it was one of the few we were allowed to watch, along with PBS Kids and Barney. Yah, I know.
I remember with fondness and nostalgia both the books and the television series. Sometimes it’s nice to sit down and watch a quiet story about a girl growing up. Every person has their own dramas and challenges they must over come and, while Laura had her fair share, she also had the support of her family to help her along the way.
Update: You can read Alisa and her husband’s choices on Picture Me Reading where they talk about Persuasion and Emma by Jane Austen.