The Way I See It: A Look Back on My Life on Little House

May 12, 2010 10:17:56 AM PDT
When other girls her age were experiencing their first crushes, Melissa Sue Anderson was receiving handwritten marriage proposals from fans as young, and younger, than she was. When other girls were dreaming of their first kiss, Melissa was struggling through hers in front of a camera. From age eleven in 1974 until she left the show in 1981, Melissa Anderson literally grew up before the viewers of Little House on the Prairie.

Melissa, as Mary, is remembered by many as "the blind sister" and she was the only actor in the series to be nominated for an Emmy. In The Way I See It: A Look Back on My Life on Little House, she takes readers onto the set and inside the world of the iconic series created by Michael Landon, who, Melissa discovered, was not perfect, as much as he tried to be. In this memoir she also shares her memories of working with guest stars like Todd Bridges, Lou Gossett, Jr., Mariette Hartley, Sean Penn, Patricia Neal, and Johnny Cash.

In addition to stories of life on the set, Melissa offers revealing looks at her relationships off-set with her costars, including the other Melissa (Melissa Gilbert) and Alison Arngrim, who portrayed bratty Nellie Oleson on the show. And she relates stories of her guest appearances on iconic programs such as The Love Boat and The Brady Bunch (where her character induced Bobby Brady to see fireworks after a first kiss). The memoir includes a look at what it was like to beat out hundreds of competitors during the grueling Little House auditions. Melissa opens up about finding fame at a young age and the life of a quiet, good-natured girl not much different than the character she portrayed on TV.

Filled with personal, revealing anecdotes and memorabilia from the Little House years and beyond (a cooking session with Steven Spielberg and friendship with the Sinatra family) this book is also a portrait of a child star who became a successful adult actress and a successful adult. These are stories from "the other Ingalls sister" that have never been told.

ABOUT MELISSA SUE ANDERSON

An Emmy?Award winning actress, Melissa Sue Anderson is known to millions for playing Mary Ingalls on the NBC television series Little House on the Prairie, which aired from 1974 to 1983. She played First Lady Megan Hollister in the 2006 miniseries 10.5: Apocalypse. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Born and raised in California, she lives in Montreal, Canada, with her husband, television producer and screenwriter Michael Sloan, and their two children.

EXECERPT FROM The Way I See It: A Look Back on My Life on Little House

I spotted Mike across the stage and headed in his direction. My heart was racing, and my stomach was tied up in a huge knot.

"Um . . . Uh . . . Hey, Mike?"

He turned, saw me, and smiled. "Hey, darlin', how ya doing?"

"Uh, well, good . . . I guess." I was now having trouble looking him in the eye.

"Something on your mind, Missy?"

And then, out it came. "Is it true? Are you really going to make me go blind next season?" I waited for what seemed forever for my answer.

"Yes, Missy, you will be going blind next season."

My heart sank. I felt sick. The tears sprung up and out before I even had time to digest this news. I couldn't hold them back. I madly tried to think of something, anything else, so I would stop crying and not humiliate myself any further.

Just about the time I almost really lost it, Mike said, "Don't worry, Missy. It's going to be great. You'll see." He gave me a big hug.

"R-r-really?" I sobbed. "You're not going to write me out?"

"Of course not," he said. "You have a great future ahead."

I knew he wasn't just saying it to make me feel better; he wasn't that kind of guy. He went on to explain what would happen to Mary, and the show, and how he knew this would be a great opportunity for me. I trusted Mike and chose to accept the wonderful feeling of relief that had come over me.


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