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Confessions of a Prairie Bitch is Alison Arngrim’s comic memoir of growing up as one of television’s most memorable characters—the devious Nellie Oleson on the hit television show Little House on the Prairie. With behind-the-scenes stories from the set, as well as tales from her bohemian upbringing in West Hollywood and her headline-making advocacy work on behalf of HIV awareness and abused children, Confessions of a Prairie Bitch is a must for fans of everything Little House: the classic television series and its many stars like Michael Landon and Melissa Gilbert; Gilbert’s bestselling memoir Prairie Tale... and, of course, the beloved series of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder that started it all.

Topics: Television, HIV/AIDS, Abuse, Social Change, Celebrities, Fame, Drugs, Activism, Dysfunctional Family, Hollywood, Contemplative, and Creative Nonfiction

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780062000101
List price: $9.99
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This book was a quick read, full of fun Little House tidbits and a fair amount of gossip. I love Nellie, love Alison Arngrim and want to be friends with both!more
This was a very entertaining book to read! It was a nice little insight into the author's life as a child actress and basically life in Hollywood in general. She is a really good writer and funny too. She also covers the topic of child sexual abuse and incest with tact. I really enjoyed this book.more
Not what I was expecting, but great. I didn't know Arngrim had been abused as a child, and had I known, that might have scared me off this memoir. Ms. Arngrim writes in a way that leaves you shocked but not feeling sorry for her - mainly because she seems so honest and when she says she's come out okay on the other side, you believe her. And you feel awed by the way she's been able to use Nellie Oleson - both the fame and the tough skin earned from playing her - to lobby for better protection for abused children.

Plus, there's celebrity gossip.more
The best of all the memoirs of the Little House girls. Alison had a terrible childhood but was able to overcome it to become a caring, smart, misunderstood adult. This is chock full of little known facts about the whole Little House cast of characters! There is much for fans to discover within these pages!more
This book was really quite funny. Alison and Melissa Gilbert were the best of friends doing Little House. Alison gives you the inside scoop on many of the characters on Little House. Great book!more
Oh, how I loved this book! It made me howl with laughter. Arngrim may have had a tortured childhood, but she does not wallow in self-pity or misery. It's clear that her years on LOTP gave her more structure and consistency and safety than her own family did. This is not for a sentimental LOTP fan.more
Having grown up watching LHOTP and wondering why someone didn't just beat the crap out of Nellie and her mother I couldn't wait to read this book to learn about the actress who played a villian so well. I really enjoyed this book. She has a very dry, self depricating sense of humor that I love. I also feel she deserves a great deal of credit 1. for dealing with the years of abuse and coming out a success in life and 2. sharing her experiences of abuse with the world because I'm sure this will give someone else dealing with abuse the strength to move forward. Her passion for AIDS research and her compassion for her friends that are affected is inspiring. She obviously cares a great deal for people and especially for her former co-star "Percival" from the show. He was lucky to have her as such a close friend. I feel anyone familiar with the show and her character will love this book and enjoy seeing the real side of Nellie--no wonder she was such a bitch, I would be too if I had to wear that horrible wig each day!! Congrats to Allison and many thanks!more
I loved Little House on the Prairie when I was a little girl. I also loved Nellie. She and Mrs. Oleson were my favourite characters.In "Confessions of a Prairie Bitch", Alison Arngrim details, with great honesty and humour, her life and her days working on Little House, the abuse she suffered at the hands of her brother and the strange world that is the entertainment industry.I got to know Alison Arngrim by reading this book and came to like her. For fans of Little House or anyone who likes a good autobiography, I recommend this book.more
Although there's some painful stuff in this book, I absolutely loved it. She writes in a really fun and engaging style. I didn't want this book to end. We love the Little House series, so reading this made it particularly enjoyable.more
Like so many, I grew up a huge fan of the Little House series. I loved the Nellie character in the book series and found that I felt the same about her in the series. I really enjoyed Allison's open, honest revelations about the series, her character, and her personal life. It was difficult and painful to read about the terrible sexual abuse she endured, but this part was pivotal in revealing Allison/Nellie. I wept for the terrible parts of her life and laughed out loud at some of the things she told on herself and other cast members. Could have done without some of the stronger naughty words she used, but that is my personal preference in reading material always. Just wanted to give a heads up that some strong language is used in this book.more
This book is a HOOT! Filled with behind the scenes gossip and truths that are hilarious. Alison has written a biography that is brave, heartbrakeing and laugh out loud funny! I love this book and forever will never be able to watch an Episode of LITTLE HOUSE, without being reminded of this memoir. Long live the PRAIRIE BITCH !more
Alison Arngrim's memoir, "Confessions of A Prairie Bitch: How I survived Nellie Oleson and learned to love being hated" is both hilarious and heartwrenching. She details the profound abuse she suffered at the hands of a relative and her efforts to protect others from the same. She tells poignant stories about her "Little House" days as the resident Walnut Grove villain and the curious inability of fans of the show to separate the character from the actress. All of the stories are told with pluck and humor that would have made Nellie Oleson proud. A really wonderful book by a remarkable woman.more
A fantastic book. Alison Arngrim is an amazingly brave woman, and hilarious to boot. This memoir of her growing up years and time spent as Nellie Oleson on The Little House on the Prairie TV series is immensely readable. Arngrim has a great sense of humor. She tells it like it was, never afraid to be brutally honest about her highly disfunctional family, especially when it comes to the horrible abuse she suffered at the hands of her older brother. While what she had to endure as a child is something truly abhorrent, Arngrim never comes across as a victim looking for pity - she dealt with her experiences in the most positive way possible and turned them into ways of helping others who might be suffering. I admire her greatly.Too, her stories about the goings-on on The Little House set, including the real personalities of the various actors, were fascinating, especially for a LH fan like me. Clearly Arngrim is nothing like her on screen personae, Nellie, and it's a testament to her great acting abilities that Nellie was such a horrible character and yet I'd love to go out for drinks with Arngrim any time.Fun book - I highly recommend it to any fan of the Little House series.more
If you grew up in t he 70's run and read this book. Alison Arnigram is hilarious! I read Melissa Gilbert's book and even though I was super Little House Fan, the book left me feeling luke warm. Alison's book on the other hand really delivers the goods and in such a loving way. Even when revealing a person's weakness, she makes it seem as that is the exact reason that they were so beloved. She is someone I wish I as friends with in real life. Who new Nellie Olson was so cool. After reading this book I will be watching Little House re re uns in a whole new way.more
I didn't have hugely high hopes for this autobiography. But I love things all Little House (mostly the books, and the real-life Laura Ingalls Wilder) but also the old tv show. Melissa Gilbert's book was good, and I really think I like her as a person, but I just wanted more Little House juice. Allison Angrim delivered the goods. She proved to be intelligent, witty, sarcastic, and incredibly brave. From her young days as the daughter of a gay publicist and his wife, the voice of Casper, to her marriage and post Little House days, the book never stalled and the book was very compelling. Yes, we got all the good Little House backstage info. She does Melissa Gilbert better in this department. We also get glimpses into her relationships with Melissa Gilbert, Melissa Sue Anderson, Michael Landon, and her on screen hubby Steve Tracy. Most of her stories are great for a laugh, but the portions of the book dealing with her sexual abuse by her brother and her activism for both abuses children and Aids charities really show who Alison is. The best part of the book is watching Alison embrace the Nellie Olsen character. Doing so enabled her to really find her place in the world and gave her the courage to fight for the causes she believes in. I can't give the book less than five stars. There is simply not a thing I would've changed about it.more
Nellie Oleson, Little House on the Prairie's rotten rich girl in ringlets, may have mellowed on the show's final years, but viewers could rely on a pinch of her savagery in every performance. As it turns out, the jack-in-the-box element of mean surprise that made Nellie compulsively watchable is actress and comedian Alison Arngrim's saving grace.One of three television shows I was allowed to watch as a child, Little House on the Prairie, already in re-runs, was my favorite for several reasons, most pivotal being my braided and buck-toothed resemblance to Laura Ingalls. But even without such a fierce affinity for the show's central character, I couldn't deny Nellie Oleson's spoiled allure. I still remember episodes with such clarity, it's like I watched them only yesterday when more than twenty years have slid past since I've seen the credits roll. So when the actress who gave Nellie her edge from the wee age of nine writes a memoir, I read it.Perhaps it's unsurprising that Arngrim's home life is dismal, fodder for snarling on-screen performances that purge the rage and confusion of her sexual abuse. The author fearlessly shares her motivations for taking the role with a comedian's sense for pacing and a crack punchline. Along the way, she divulges (mostly forgiveable) details about the Little House cast and crew. Arngrim's picture of the set makes it easy to see why the show lasted so long: truly familial ties. Her place on the cast firmly set, Arngrim finds a replacement family that buoys her self esteem enough to help her deal with serious personal issues, present and future.In Confessions, Arngrim culls the best bits of a seven-year stint as Nellie Oleson, crediting the role for shaping much of her adult life. Readers who are fans of the show can look forward to behind-the-scenes antics and accidents that will have them laughing aloud. Despite some grisly material, Arngrim writes in such optimistic tones that this memoir won't leave you feeling undermedicated. A triumphant look back by a woman whose spirit saved her — and fully in line with the best of Nellie's snotty edge —, Arngrim's produced an entertaining read.more
"Confessions of a Prairie Bitch" by Alison Arngrim is an autobiography you do not want to miss. Who is Alison Arngrim?? If you don't see the cover of the book, you probably don't know. Alison Arngrim played the infamous Nellie Olsen on the beloved "Little House on the Prairie."I absolutely LOVED that show and like most, Nellie was not my favorite character. However, after reading her autobiography I will never look at Nellie the same way again. If you get a chance read this book as it can only speak for itself. You will get a new look at Ms. Arngrim as well as amusing anecdotes about the show and insight into the real lives of each of those lovable, and not so loveable, "Little House" characters!more
I'm not a fan of "Little House on the Prairie" but really enjoyed this funny, touching biography of Allison Arngrim (who played Nellie Olsen). She gives lots of details of life on the set as well as the influence playing such an outspoken character on TV had on her life. Arngrim was a shy child who bore little resemblance to Nellie in life but was good friends with Melissa Gilbert. The two got a kick out of going to stores together and having people warn Melissa that Nellie Olsen was there. The book grew out of Arngrim's comedy routine of the same name, and so she's had time to polish the material and really make it sparkle.more
This was a fun ride! Highly recommended. Not a mudslinger or overly dramatized, and honestly much better written than I had expected. Couldnt put it down.more
If you haven't read Alison Arngrim's Confessions of a Prairie Bitch, run, run, run out right now and get yourself a copy, whether you buy, borrow or steal it (not so much that last part, okay?). It is that good.I was a child of the 1970s, who grew up watching Little House on the Prairie and "hating" mean old Nellie Oleson. Wasn't she one of the cruelest child characters ever? Bless Alison Arngrim and not only her acting skills (because Arngrim herself was nothing like mean spirited Nellie) but her incredible wit and humor. She is one of the funniest people you may never meet. She spills all, and I do mean all, in Prairie Bitch, from her early beginnings being born into a showbiz marriage, to her father's unspoken but accepted lifestyle, to the abuse she suffered at the hands of her older brother, to the life-changing audition for the iconic role of Nellie, to her life beyond the prairie, on the stage as a stand-up comedienne and her tireless activism for AIDS awareness. I loved everything about this book and read it in under two days. Arngrim shares behind the scenes tales of Little House, including the aforementioned Michael Landon's aversion to underwear while in costume as Charles Ingalls, to the then 10 year old Melissa Gilbert's precociousness and all knowing information of cast and crew, to Melissa Sue Anderson's strikingly different real life personality versus that of her role as sweet Mary Ingalls, to the immediate and devoted love she felt for her co-star and television husband Steve Tracy. I was fascinated with the recountings of what really happened behind the scenes of some of my more favored Little House episodes, as well as the fact that Arngrim and Gilbert were best friends, despite playing mortal enemies each week in front of the cameras. Her chapters on the abuse she suffered at the hands of her brother were tragic and could be hard to read, but Arngrim's strength powers through each page and this reader was encouraged that Arngrim did not fall victim to the drugs/alcohol/crime/early death cycle that many child actors do. Lindsay Lohan, among others, could take a page from Arngrim's book and learn a lot. Perhaps most touching were the sections recounting Arngrim's initial meeting with actor Steve Tracy, their enjoyment working together, their loyal friendship and his final days. I know I will never be able to watch another episode of Little House featuring Nellie and Percival without a sadness in my heart at the loss of Tracy, as well as a special happiness knowing that neither Arngrim nor Tracy were acting in those scenes showcasing Nellie's and Percival's happiness. Many celebrities and former child actors have written memoirs, some very well done, some for a quick buck, but I would certainly place Arngrim's at the top of the list without hesitation. You simply cannot go wrong with Confessions of a Prairie Bitch and I promise you will gain respect for Arngrim in the process.more
Absolutely brilliant! I loved the show, I hated Nelly Oleson... I now have most of the DVDs, still hated Nelly Oleson... until this book. An eye opener on how brilliant this person really is. As a hardcore fan of Little House, this was a must to read, and I didnt regret it one second! :)more
Reason for Reading: I'm a big fan of LHOTP. I read Melissa Gilbert's memoir and was anxious to find out more and very excited when I saw Alison had a book out.Alison Arngrim's narrative is a pleasure to read. Just by reading the title we get a glimpse of what kind of attitude we can expect to find inside the covers. Arngrim is also a stand-up comedienne and with that knowledge it explains the easy going narrative style full of humour that made this book such a fun read.Alison starts by telling of her childhood, brought up in an unconventional family, and of her s*xual abuse by her older brother. The meat of the book, though, concerns her life growing up on the Prairie and she provides fans with what was so sadly lacking in Melissa Gilbert's book. We get a behind the scenes look at the filming and the actors. Alison is funny and no holds barred without being catty or dishing dirt. Yes, she tells what people were really like, if they were generally not liked she says so. She has many funny and sometimes just strange anecdotes to relate about the seven years she played Nellie Oleson. I really appreciated her tone. She talked about every major character on the show, all the children, and the adults that Nellie would typically have scenes with. So unfortunately Mr. Edwards, one of my favourites, was only mentioned briefly in passing. I was thrilled that Alison spoke of Jonathan Gilbert frequently and so fondly since Melissa had reduced him to a few sentences in the middle of her book. Melissa Sue Anderson gets the short end of the stick as worst personality on the show. Mary was always my favourite and I was startled that Melissa mentioned her in passing only three times in her book. Alison refers to her many more times and while never being mean or nasty does relate many instances which let us know why she was not fond of her and she outs Gilbert's opinions of her as well. I would love Melissa Sue's view of this but apparently her book doesn't address any of this and is getting bad reviews so I'm not sure if I'll read it or not, at this point. The Little House cast were Arngrim's family and when she left the show she felt a real sense of loss without them in her day-to-day life. She and Melissa Gilbert became great friends on the show and remain so to this day.The memoir then ends up with Alison's life after the Prairie. Going on to her activism for AIDS, her two marriages (the second which has been successful) and her determined and relentless campaign on changing the laws on incest which at the time gave those perpetrators a loophole of not having to do any prison time. This involved her having to go public with her abuse on the Larry King show in 2004.A very satisfying read. I always have a nonfiction book on the go and usually read a chapter, perhaps two, at night before settling in to read my current novel. But Confessions was written in such an easy, fun, narrative style that I couldn't put it down after two chapters and read it as quickly as a novel. A great insider's peek behind the scenes of the filming and especially the personalities who made up The Little House on the Prairie.more
For the type of book it is, Arngrim's is one of the better ones. She has a fairly interesting story to tell, and she is not afraid to open up. I read Melissa Gilbert's and Melissa Sue Anderson's memoir around the same time as this one, and Arngrim's is by far the best. The title is great, but I don't think she really follows through with it: this book is more a memoir of the show and Arngrim's personal struggles...in the end, both peter out.more
Arngrim's parents were involved in show business; her mom was a very successful voiceover artist, working as the voices of Gumby and Sweet Polly Purebred from the Underdog cartoons. Dad was a public relations agent, though not as successful. Oh yeah, and he was gay, but that was never really discussed too much.After a start in Canada, they move to Los Angeles. Alison's older brother got work as a young actor, but when work dried up for him as he got older, he became abusive to his younger sister, beating her and sexually abusing her. Alison tried to tell her parents, but they did not want to hear it.Alison survived it, and when she got the part of Nellie Oleson, she spent most of her days working and away from her drug addled brother. Argrim recalls getting the part because she understood that Nellie was a bitch. Creator Michael Landon and another producer of the show howled when Alison read a line in a bitchy tone that aced the audition for her.Arngrim gives the reader an insider's view of working on Little House. She and Melissa Gilbert became good friends, visiting each other's homes. She describes working with Michael Landon, who fought for his vision of the show, and had his hand in every aspect of the show, from writing to costumes.Landon has been described by others as difficult, and Arngrim doesn't shy away from sharing his demanding personality. But she credits him with teaching the young actors the importance of being on time, learning lines, and not expecting special treatment. He expected them to work as hard as anyone else, and they have a saying about how none of the Little House young actors succumbed to the troubled lives of other child actors: "No arrests, no convictions".Arngrim is a terrific writer, and her her bubbly personality shines throughout the book. She shares the bad, as well as the good, and the fact that she forgives her parents, shows her strength as a person.Over the years, Alison has used her celebrity and time for good causes. When the actor who played her husband on the show died from AIDS, she became involved in helping raise awareness of that disease. She works tirelessly to get laws passed that help to protect children from sexual abuse and works to get more money for law enforcement to battle child pornography.Confessions of a Prairie Bitch is at times sad, funny and moving. You don't have to be a fan of Little House on the Prairie to appreciate this wonderful book, but fans will be rewarded with the wealth of insider information from this delightful writer.more
Loved this book!! Fun to read, made me laugh and cry.more
Fantastic memoir! So well written: smart, wise, poignant, and funny. What a strong woman Nellie helped Alison become.more
Read all 26 reviews

Reviews

This book was a quick read, full of fun Little House tidbits and a fair amount of gossip. I love Nellie, love Alison Arngrim and want to be friends with both!more
This was a very entertaining book to read! It was a nice little insight into the author's life as a child actress and basically life in Hollywood in general. She is a really good writer and funny too. She also covers the topic of child sexual abuse and incest with tact. I really enjoyed this book.more
Not what I was expecting, but great. I didn't know Arngrim had been abused as a child, and had I known, that might have scared me off this memoir. Ms. Arngrim writes in a way that leaves you shocked but not feeling sorry for her - mainly because she seems so honest and when she says she's come out okay on the other side, you believe her. And you feel awed by the way she's been able to use Nellie Oleson - both the fame and the tough skin earned from playing her - to lobby for better protection for abused children.

Plus, there's celebrity gossip.more
The best of all the memoirs of the Little House girls. Alison had a terrible childhood but was able to overcome it to become a caring, smart, misunderstood adult. This is chock full of little known facts about the whole Little House cast of characters! There is much for fans to discover within these pages!more
This book was really quite funny. Alison and Melissa Gilbert were the best of friends doing Little House. Alison gives you the inside scoop on many of the characters on Little House. Great book!more
Oh, how I loved this book! It made me howl with laughter. Arngrim may have had a tortured childhood, but she does not wallow in self-pity or misery. It's clear that her years on LOTP gave her more structure and consistency and safety than her own family did. This is not for a sentimental LOTP fan.more
Having grown up watching LHOTP and wondering why someone didn't just beat the crap out of Nellie and her mother I couldn't wait to read this book to learn about the actress who played a villian so well. I really enjoyed this book. She has a very dry, self depricating sense of humor that I love. I also feel she deserves a great deal of credit 1. for dealing with the years of abuse and coming out a success in life and 2. sharing her experiences of abuse with the world because I'm sure this will give someone else dealing with abuse the strength to move forward. Her passion for AIDS research and her compassion for her friends that are affected is inspiring. She obviously cares a great deal for people and especially for her former co-star "Percival" from the show. He was lucky to have her as such a close friend. I feel anyone familiar with the show and her character will love this book and enjoy seeing the real side of Nellie--no wonder she was such a bitch, I would be too if I had to wear that horrible wig each day!! Congrats to Allison and many thanks!more
I loved Little House on the Prairie when I was a little girl. I also loved Nellie. She and Mrs. Oleson were my favourite characters.In "Confessions of a Prairie Bitch", Alison Arngrim details, with great honesty and humour, her life and her days working on Little House, the abuse she suffered at the hands of her brother and the strange world that is the entertainment industry.I got to know Alison Arngrim by reading this book and came to like her. For fans of Little House or anyone who likes a good autobiography, I recommend this book.more
Although there's some painful stuff in this book, I absolutely loved it. She writes in a really fun and engaging style. I didn't want this book to end. We love the Little House series, so reading this made it particularly enjoyable.more
Like so many, I grew up a huge fan of the Little House series. I loved the Nellie character in the book series and found that I felt the same about her in the series. I really enjoyed Allison's open, honest revelations about the series, her character, and her personal life. It was difficult and painful to read about the terrible sexual abuse she endured, but this part was pivotal in revealing Allison/Nellie. I wept for the terrible parts of her life and laughed out loud at some of the things she told on herself and other cast members. Could have done without some of the stronger naughty words she used, but that is my personal preference in reading material always. Just wanted to give a heads up that some strong language is used in this book.more
This book is a HOOT! Filled with behind the scenes gossip and truths that are hilarious. Alison has written a biography that is brave, heartbrakeing and laugh out loud funny! I love this book and forever will never be able to watch an Episode of LITTLE HOUSE, without being reminded of this memoir. Long live the PRAIRIE BITCH !more
Alison Arngrim's memoir, "Confessions of A Prairie Bitch: How I survived Nellie Oleson and learned to love being hated" is both hilarious and heartwrenching. She details the profound abuse she suffered at the hands of a relative and her efforts to protect others from the same. She tells poignant stories about her "Little House" days as the resident Walnut Grove villain and the curious inability of fans of the show to separate the character from the actress. All of the stories are told with pluck and humor that would have made Nellie Oleson proud. A really wonderful book by a remarkable woman.more
A fantastic book. Alison Arngrim is an amazingly brave woman, and hilarious to boot. This memoir of her growing up years and time spent as Nellie Oleson on The Little House on the Prairie TV series is immensely readable. Arngrim has a great sense of humor. She tells it like it was, never afraid to be brutally honest about her highly disfunctional family, especially when it comes to the horrible abuse she suffered at the hands of her older brother. While what she had to endure as a child is something truly abhorrent, Arngrim never comes across as a victim looking for pity - she dealt with her experiences in the most positive way possible and turned them into ways of helping others who might be suffering. I admire her greatly.Too, her stories about the goings-on on The Little House set, including the real personalities of the various actors, were fascinating, especially for a LH fan like me. Clearly Arngrim is nothing like her on screen personae, Nellie, and it's a testament to her great acting abilities that Nellie was such a horrible character and yet I'd love to go out for drinks with Arngrim any time.Fun book - I highly recommend it to any fan of the Little House series.more
If you grew up in t he 70's run and read this book. Alison Arnigram is hilarious! I read Melissa Gilbert's book and even though I was super Little House Fan, the book left me feeling luke warm. Alison's book on the other hand really delivers the goods and in such a loving way. Even when revealing a person's weakness, she makes it seem as that is the exact reason that they were so beloved. She is someone I wish I as friends with in real life. Who new Nellie Olson was so cool. After reading this book I will be watching Little House re re uns in a whole new way.more
I didn't have hugely high hopes for this autobiography. But I love things all Little House (mostly the books, and the real-life Laura Ingalls Wilder) but also the old tv show. Melissa Gilbert's book was good, and I really think I like her as a person, but I just wanted more Little House juice. Allison Angrim delivered the goods. She proved to be intelligent, witty, sarcastic, and incredibly brave. From her young days as the daughter of a gay publicist and his wife, the voice of Casper, to her marriage and post Little House days, the book never stalled and the book was very compelling. Yes, we got all the good Little House backstage info. She does Melissa Gilbert better in this department. We also get glimpses into her relationships with Melissa Gilbert, Melissa Sue Anderson, Michael Landon, and her on screen hubby Steve Tracy. Most of her stories are great for a laugh, but the portions of the book dealing with her sexual abuse by her brother and her activism for both abuses children and Aids charities really show who Alison is. The best part of the book is watching Alison embrace the Nellie Olsen character. Doing so enabled her to really find her place in the world and gave her the courage to fight for the causes she believes in. I can't give the book less than five stars. There is simply not a thing I would've changed about it.more
Nellie Oleson, Little House on the Prairie's rotten rich girl in ringlets, may have mellowed on the show's final years, but viewers could rely on a pinch of her savagery in every performance. As it turns out, the jack-in-the-box element of mean surprise that made Nellie compulsively watchable is actress and comedian Alison Arngrim's saving grace.One of three television shows I was allowed to watch as a child, Little House on the Prairie, already in re-runs, was my favorite for several reasons, most pivotal being my braided and buck-toothed resemblance to Laura Ingalls. But even without such a fierce affinity for the show's central character, I couldn't deny Nellie Oleson's spoiled allure. I still remember episodes with such clarity, it's like I watched them only yesterday when more than twenty years have slid past since I've seen the credits roll. So when the actress who gave Nellie her edge from the wee age of nine writes a memoir, I read it.Perhaps it's unsurprising that Arngrim's home life is dismal, fodder for snarling on-screen performances that purge the rage and confusion of her sexual abuse. The author fearlessly shares her motivations for taking the role with a comedian's sense for pacing and a crack punchline. Along the way, she divulges (mostly forgiveable) details about the Little House cast and crew. Arngrim's picture of the set makes it easy to see why the show lasted so long: truly familial ties. Her place on the cast firmly set, Arngrim finds a replacement family that buoys her self esteem enough to help her deal with serious personal issues, present and future.In Confessions, Arngrim culls the best bits of a seven-year stint as Nellie Oleson, crediting the role for shaping much of her adult life. Readers who are fans of the show can look forward to behind-the-scenes antics and accidents that will have them laughing aloud. Despite some grisly material, Arngrim writes in such optimistic tones that this memoir won't leave you feeling undermedicated. A triumphant look back by a woman whose spirit saved her — and fully in line with the best of Nellie's snotty edge —, Arngrim's produced an entertaining read.more
"Confessions of a Prairie Bitch" by Alison Arngrim is an autobiography you do not want to miss. Who is Alison Arngrim?? If you don't see the cover of the book, you probably don't know. Alison Arngrim played the infamous Nellie Olsen on the beloved "Little House on the Prairie."I absolutely LOVED that show and like most, Nellie was not my favorite character. However, after reading her autobiography I will never look at Nellie the same way again. If you get a chance read this book as it can only speak for itself. You will get a new look at Ms. Arngrim as well as amusing anecdotes about the show and insight into the real lives of each of those lovable, and not so loveable, "Little House" characters!more
I'm not a fan of "Little House on the Prairie" but really enjoyed this funny, touching biography of Allison Arngrim (who played Nellie Olsen). She gives lots of details of life on the set as well as the influence playing such an outspoken character on TV had on her life. Arngrim was a shy child who bore little resemblance to Nellie in life but was good friends with Melissa Gilbert. The two got a kick out of going to stores together and having people warn Melissa that Nellie Olsen was there. The book grew out of Arngrim's comedy routine of the same name, and so she's had time to polish the material and really make it sparkle.more
This was a fun ride! Highly recommended. Not a mudslinger or overly dramatized, and honestly much better written than I had expected. Couldnt put it down.more
If you haven't read Alison Arngrim's Confessions of a Prairie Bitch, run, run, run out right now and get yourself a copy, whether you buy, borrow or steal it (not so much that last part, okay?). It is that good.I was a child of the 1970s, who grew up watching Little House on the Prairie and "hating" mean old Nellie Oleson. Wasn't she one of the cruelest child characters ever? Bless Alison Arngrim and not only her acting skills (because Arngrim herself was nothing like mean spirited Nellie) but her incredible wit and humor. She is one of the funniest people you may never meet. She spills all, and I do mean all, in Prairie Bitch, from her early beginnings being born into a showbiz marriage, to her father's unspoken but accepted lifestyle, to the abuse she suffered at the hands of her older brother, to the life-changing audition for the iconic role of Nellie, to her life beyond the prairie, on the stage as a stand-up comedienne and her tireless activism for AIDS awareness. I loved everything about this book and read it in under two days. Arngrim shares behind the scenes tales of Little House, including the aforementioned Michael Landon's aversion to underwear while in costume as Charles Ingalls, to the then 10 year old Melissa Gilbert's precociousness and all knowing information of cast and crew, to Melissa Sue Anderson's strikingly different real life personality versus that of her role as sweet Mary Ingalls, to the immediate and devoted love she felt for her co-star and television husband Steve Tracy. I was fascinated with the recountings of what really happened behind the scenes of some of my more favored Little House episodes, as well as the fact that Arngrim and Gilbert were best friends, despite playing mortal enemies each week in front of the cameras. Her chapters on the abuse she suffered at the hands of her brother were tragic and could be hard to read, but Arngrim's strength powers through each page and this reader was encouraged that Arngrim did not fall victim to the drugs/alcohol/crime/early death cycle that many child actors do. Lindsay Lohan, among others, could take a page from Arngrim's book and learn a lot. Perhaps most touching were the sections recounting Arngrim's initial meeting with actor Steve Tracy, their enjoyment working together, their loyal friendship and his final days. I know I will never be able to watch another episode of Little House featuring Nellie and Percival without a sadness in my heart at the loss of Tracy, as well as a special happiness knowing that neither Arngrim nor Tracy were acting in those scenes showcasing Nellie's and Percival's happiness. Many celebrities and former child actors have written memoirs, some very well done, some for a quick buck, but I would certainly place Arngrim's at the top of the list without hesitation. You simply cannot go wrong with Confessions of a Prairie Bitch and I promise you will gain respect for Arngrim in the process.more
Absolutely brilliant! I loved the show, I hated Nelly Oleson... I now have most of the DVDs, still hated Nelly Oleson... until this book. An eye opener on how brilliant this person really is. As a hardcore fan of Little House, this was a must to read, and I didnt regret it one second! :)more
Reason for Reading: I'm a big fan of LHOTP. I read Melissa Gilbert's memoir and was anxious to find out more and very excited when I saw Alison had a book out.Alison Arngrim's narrative is a pleasure to read. Just by reading the title we get a glimpse of what kind of attitude we can expect to find inside the covers. Arngrim is also a stand-up comedienne and with that knowledge it explains the easy going narrative style full of humour that made this book such a fun read.Alison starts by telling of her childhood, brought up in an unconventional family, and of her s*xual abuse by her older brother. The meat of the book, though, concerns her life growing up on the Prairie and she provides fans with what was so sadly lacking in Melissa Gilbert's book. We get a behind the scenes look at the filming and the actors. Alison is funny and no holds barred without being catty or dishing dirt. Yes, she tells what people were really like, if they were generally not liked she says so. She has many funny and sometimes just strange anecdotes to relate about the seven years she played Nellie Oleson. I really appreciated her tone. She talked about every major character on the show, all the children, and the adults that Nellie would typically have scenes with. So unfortunately Mr. Edwards, one of my favourites, was only mentioned briefly in passing. I was thrilled that Alison spoke of Jonathan Gilbert frequently and so fondly since Melissa had reduced him to a few sentences in the middle of her book. Melissa Sue Anderson gets the short end of the stick as worst personality on the show. Mary was always my favourite and I was startled that Melissa mentioned her in passing only three times in her book. Alison refers to her many more times and while never being mean or nasty does relate many instances which let us know why she was not fond of her and she outs Gilbert's opinions of her as well. I would love Melissa Sue's view of this but apparently her book doesn't address any of this and is getting bad reviews so I'm not sure if I'll read it or not, at this point. The Little House cast were Arngrim's family and when she left the show she felt a real sense of loss without them in her day-to-day life. She and Melissa Gilbert became great friends on the show and remain so to this day.The memoir then ends up with Alison's life after the Prairie. Going on to her activism for AIDS, her two marriages (the second which has been successful) and her determined and relentless campaign on changing the laws on incest which at the time gave those perpetrators a loophole of not having to do any prison time. This involved her having to go public with her abuse on the Larry King show in 2004.A very satisfying read. I always have a nonfiction book on the go and usually read a chapter, perhaps two, at night before settling in to read my current novel. But Confessions was written in such an easy, fun, narrative style that I couldn't put it down after two chapters and read it as quickly as a novel. A great insider's peek behind the scenes of the filming and especially the personalities who made up The Little House on the Prairie.more
For the type of book it is, Arngrim's is one of the better ones. She has a fairly interesting story to tell, and she is not afraid to open up. I read Melissa Gilbert's and Melissa Sue Anderson's memoir around the same time as this one, and Arngrim's is by far the best. The title is great, but I don't think she really follows through with it: this book is more a memoir of the show and Arngrim's personal struggles...in the end, both peter out.more
Arngrim's parents were involved in show business; her mom was a very successful voiceover artist, working as the voices of Gumby and Sweet Polly Purebred from the Underdog cartoons. Dad was a public relations agent, though not as successful. Oh yeah, and he was gay, but that was never really discussed too much.After a start in Canada, they move to Los Angeles. Alison's older brother got work as a young actor, but when work dried up for him as he got older, he became abusive to his younger sister, beating her and sexually abusing her. Alison tried to tell her parents, but they did not want to hear it.Alison survived it, and when she got the part of Nellie Oleson, she spent most of her days working and away from her drug addled brother. Argrim recalls getting the part because she understood that Nellie was a bitch. Creator Michael Landon and another producer of the show howled when Alison read a line in a bitchy tone that aced the audition for her.Arngrim gives the reader an insider's view of working on Little House. She and Melissa Gilbert became good friends, visiting each other's homes. She describes working with Michael Landon, who fought for his vision of the show, and had his hand in every aspect of the show, from writing to costumes.Landon has been described by others as difficult, and Arngrim doesn't shy away from sharing his demanding personality. But she credits him with teaching the young actors the importance of being on time, learning lines, and not expecting special treatment. He expected them to work as hard as anyone else, and they have a saying about how none of the Little House young actors succumbed to the troubled lives of other child actors: "No arrests, no convictions".Arngrim is a terrific writer, and her her bubbly personality shines throughout the book. She shares the bad, as well as the good, and the fact that she forgives her parents, shows her strength as a person.Over the years, Alison has used her celebrity and time for good causes. When the actor who played her husband on the show died from AIDS, she became involved in helping raise awareness of that disease. She works tirelessly to get laws passed that help to protect children from sexual abuse and works to get more money for law enforcement to battle child pornography.Confessions of a Prairie Bitch is at times sad, funny and moving. You don't have to be a fan of Little House on the Prairie to appreciate this wonderful book, but fans will be rewarded with the wealth of insider information from this delightful writer.more
Loved this book!! Fun to read, made me laugh and cry.more
Fantastic memoir! So well written: smart, wise, poignant, and funny. What a strong woman Nellie helped Alison become.more
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