La imagen bucólica pintada en las novelas y en la serie La familia Ingalls, llamada originalmente Little House on the Praire (La casita de la pradera), está lejos de parecerse a la dura vida de los pioneros, según una autobiografía de Laura Ingalls Wilder que arrasa en los Estados Unidos.

El libro Pioneer Girl (Joven pionera) es el “primer borrador escrito por Laura Ingalls Wilder, alentada por su hija Rose, que fue luego editado y novelado”, explicó a la AFP Nancy Tystad Koupal, directora de la editorial Sociedad histórica de Dakota del Sur.

“Esta versión fue elegida porque queríamos mostrar lo más fielmente posible la vida de los pioneros del siglo XIX. En cierta forma, buscábamos introducirnos entre bambalinas” en la obra.

Publicada en noviembre pasado, esta edición documentada -que encuentra un público cada vez más amplio- muestra sin artificios la aventura de los colonos que conquistaron el oeste en búsqueda de una nueva vida y que en muchos casos los puso al margen de la ley.

En cambio, La familia Ingalls relataba en un estilo romántico la vida en lo que es hoy el medio oeste estadounidense, basada en el libro de Laura Ingalls Wilder, en una serie de 11 volúmenes, publicados entre 1932 y 1943.

Esta larga novela fue luego adaptada para la televisión por Michael Landon en 1974, y la serie de 205 episodios se extendería a nueve temporadas.

Mientras la novela presentaba una visión idealizada de la vida de los colonos en el siglo XIX, la realidad era diferente. “En esa época, la vida era difícil, y la violencia formaba parte de la vida cotidiana”, recuerda Koupal.

Muchas de las situaciones presentes en Pioneer Girl fueron retiradas de las adaptaciones, porque las consideraban demasiado violentas. En la vida real, Laura Ingalls cuidaba a una mujer enferma, cuyo marido, en estado de ebriedad, había intentado violarla.

Koupal cuenta que la familia Ingalls no era rica. Tenían pocos recursos y no eran dueños de su casa. Vivían en apartamentos que el padre de Laura no siempre podía pagar. “En una ocasión, la familia debió huir en plena noche para no pagar el alquiler”, agrega Koupal.

Distinción entre ficción y realidad

La decisión de publicar una edición documentada fue tomada luego de una amplia investigación. “Primero precisamos lo que queríamos documentar”.

Con ello se alcanzaron tres objetivos. “Queríamos asegurarnos de que lo que estaba escrito era cierto, porque aunque se trata de una autobiografía, Laura Ingalls Wilder la escribió cuando tenía unos 60 años y la memoria puede fallar”.

“Además, tratamos de explorar la relación particular con su hija Rose, que fue su primera editora y quien la convenció de escribir sus memorias. Finalmente, quisimos distinguir la ficción de la realidad”, explica Koupal.

La Sociedad histórica quería principalmente distanciarse de la serie televisiva, que fue la más novelada de todas las adaptaciones. Cuatro décadas después, fueron reunidos en un programa de NBC. Solo faltó Michael Landon, ya fallecido.

 

Desde entonces, las órdenes de compra explotaron. “No podíamos soñar nada mejor. Al principio, esperábamos vender un máximo de 30.000 ejemplares”, recuerda Koupal.

La partida inicial de 15.000 copias se agotó en pocas semanas. La Sociedad realizó entonces dos ediciones consecutivas de 15.000 y 45.000 ejemplares. En total, se vendieron más de 75.000. “Y esto no terminó”, cree Koupal.

El lunes, la obra encabezaba las ventas del distribuidor por internet Amazon.

Las causas del éxito Koupal las atribuye a la popularidad de Pioneer Girl, a la buena recepción que tuvo entre los amantes de las novelas y de la serie televisiva, muchos de los cuales crecieron mirando La familia Ingalls o leyendo los libros.

“Para mucha gente, Laura Ingalls forma parte de su juventud”, recuerda.

 

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