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Bright Lights, Prairie Dust: Reflections on Life, Loss, and Love from Little House's Ma
by Karen Grassle

Published: 2021-11-16T00:0
Kindle Edition : 389 pages
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“Karen Grassle’s memoir, BRIGHT LIGHTS, PRAIRIE DUST struck me in my deepest heart. It’s raw, it’s poignant, it’s a 100% authentic portrait of the real woman who will always be my ‘Ma.’ Thanks to this book, so many fans of our show will get to know her too.” —Melissa ...
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Introduction

“Karen Grassle’s memoir, BRIGHT LIGHTS, PRAIRIE DUST struck me in my deepest heart. It’s raw, it’s poignant, it’s a 100% authentic portrait of the real woman who will always be my ‘Ma.’ Thanks to this book, so many fans of our show will get to know her too.” —Melissa Gilbert, Actress Little House on the Prairie, Author

Karen Grassle, the beloved actress who played Ma on Little House on the Prairie, grew up at the edge of the Pacific Ocean in a family where love was plentiful but alcohol wreaked havoc. In this candid memoir, Grassle reveals her journey to succeed as an actress even as she struggles to overcome depression, combat her own dependence on alcohol, and find true love. With humor and hard-won wisdom, Grassle takes readers on an inspiring journey through the political turmoil on ’60s campuses, on to studies with some of the most celebrated artists at the famed London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, and ultimately behind the curtains of Broadway stages and storied Hollywood sets. In these pages, readers meet actors and directors who have captivated us on screen and stage as they fall in love, betray and befriend, and don costumes only to reveal themselves. We know Karen Grassle best as the proud prairie woman Caroline Ingalls, with her quiet strength and devotion to family, but this memoir introduces readers to the complex, funny, rebellious, and soulful woman who, in addition to being the force behind those many strong women she played, fought passionately--as a writer, producer, and activist--on behalf of equal rights for women. Raw, emotional, and tender, Bright Lights celebrates and honors womanhood, in all its complexity.

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Excerpt

PROLOGUE
Smiling and signing, nodding and signing, smiling again; escaping now from the crowd, one more public appearance, one more drop-off exhausted at some airport—Where the heck am I anyway? A telethon in Tennessee? A mall in Missouri? Why? This has nothing to do with acting. I traveled after work Friday night, worked through Sunday, then boarded a flight back to California to film on Monday. God I need a drink! Careful, can’t miss my plane to San Francisco. There I would catch my ride to the location. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

1. How did you relate to the Mother/Father figures?
2. What did you think of Karen quitting school?
3. What did you think of the sexual revolution?
4. Have you ever wanted to participate in a protest or a march?
5. Did you get bored in the section in London?
6. How worried were you when she was going to quit show biz?
7. What did you think of the Michael Landon character?
8. Why do you think the author said so little about the children?
9. Were you surprised she went so far down with her drinking?
10. How surprised were you at the Father’s death?
11. Were you moved by this story?
12. What is the important lesson from this memoir?

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