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Confessions of a Prairie Bitch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated Paperback – June 14, 2011
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“Hilarious and heartbreaking.” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
“Arngrim, decades past her ‘Little House On The Prairie’ years, dishes lots of great on-set stories, talks about what being a kid actor in the 1970s was actually like and discusses her own painful family history with frankness and humor....Delightful.” (NPR.org)
“Spunky Alison Arngrim, who played Nellie [Oleson], gets my kudos...Alison has a knack for yanking people’s chains in a good way. And her new bestselling memoir, Confessions of a Prairie Bitch, is such an absorbing read, I just had to give the woman a call for some bitch talk.” (Michael Musto, Village Voice)
“’Confessions of a Prairie Bitch’ says it all: Neither Arngrim nor Nellie could ever be called boring.” (Entertainment Weekly)
“Courage, moxie, chutzpah , cajones. Alison Arngrim has them all in spades. In “Confessions of a Prairie Bitch,” she bares her soul and manages to share her story with grace, dignity, and her inimitable humor. Simply put, I love this book and I love her. ” (Melissa Gilbert)
“Alison Arngrim, familiar to a generation of TV viewers as the petulant Nellie Oleson of ‘Little House On The Prairie,’ is dishing the dirt on Walnut Grove.” (AOL PopEater)
“Arngrim displays a healthy sense of humor.” (Chicago Sun-Times)
Arngrim looks back on playing the pint-sized sociopath in her memoir, “Confessions of a Prairie Bitch,” in which she merrily recalls show creator and star Michael Landon, that infamous blond wig, and how Nellie inspired her lifelong obsession with villainy.” (New York Post)
“Alison Arngrim is a talented actress and an author who has patched together a meaningful life and created a book whose pages…fly.” (Phyllis Diller)
“As a city bitch myself, I loved this book! It’s nice to see how the other half lives. Alison Arngrim’s memoir is a hilarious, moving, and dishy Hollywood tale.” (Margaret Cho)
From the Back Cover
For seven years, Alison Arngrim played a wretched, scheming, selfish, lying, manipulative brat on one of TV history's most beloved series. Though millions of Little House on the Prairie viewers hated Nellie Oleson and her evil antics, Arngrim grew to love her character—and the freedom and confidence Nellie inspired in her.
In Confessions of a Prairie Bitch, Arngrim describes growing up in Hollywood with her eccentric parents: Thor Arngrim, a talent manager to Liberace and others, whose appetite for publicity was insatiable, and legendary voice actress Norma MacMillan, who played both Gumby and Casper the Friendly Ghost. She recalls her most cherished and often wickedly funny moments behind the scenes of Little House: Michael Landon's "unsaintly" habit of not wearing underwear; how she and Melissa Gilbert (who played her TV nemesis, Laura Ingalls) became best friends and accidentally got drunk on rum cakes at 7-Eleven; and the only time she and Katherine MacGregor (who played Nellie's mom) appeared in public in costume, provoking a posse of elementary schoolgirls to attack them.
Arngrim relays all this and more with biting wit, but she also bravely recounts her life's challenges: her struggle to survive a history of traumatic abuse, depression, and paralyzing shyness; the "secret" her father kept from her for twenty years; and the devastating loss of her "Little House husband" and best friend, Steve Tracy, to AIDS, which inspired her second career in social and political activism. Arngrim describes how Nellie Oleson taught her to be bold, daring, and determined, and how she is eternally grateful to have had the biggest little bitch on the prairie to show her the way.
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I loved little house on the prairie growing up and even now as an adult i own the complete series on DVD-- i couldn't stand Nellie on the show till after she married Percivial. I read all rthe reviews for the book and though they were mixed i got a sample of the book and liked it so i went ahead and got the book.
I am so glad i did-- i couldn't put it down! i got it around 10:00pm one evening and read the first 9 chapters before bed. i finished the remainder of the book the next day i couldn't put it down. Allison did a good job of giving you a feel of what it was like to get into wardrobe, hair and make-up no matter the weather. loved her ancidotes of Michael Landon's sens of humor and how fondly she remembers him and the other cast members that have since passed.
Her closeness with her TV hubby was very refreshing to read as back then most people would have shunned him for his orientation (some sadly, still would.) i could feel her heartache as she wrote about his illness from the time she found out he was sick, till he sadly passed away- it made me tear up.
her stories about her childhood were heartbreaking at times-- but her friendship with Melissa Gilbert really seemed to make her immensely happy.
Overall i thought it was a very good book.
It had all of the elements; I laughed, I cried, and I was even angered at times (for Allison of course). I finished this book with the feeling that Allison is a very intelligent, articulate, funny, down-to-earth, and caring person. I don't know Allison personally, but it was clear to me that she is an incredibly good friend. Despite the horrible things she was forced to endure in her childhood, I'd say that she emerged a more well-adjusted person than many people I know who did not go through the horrors that she did. Good for you Allison! Her comedy routine sounds like something that I would enjoy. I will be looking for her to appear locally.
I have to say that this is probably one of the funniest memoirs I've ever read - I laughed out loud many times, particularly in the chapter about the "Bunny" episode. I bet her stand-up comedy is just as witty.
But it wasn't just the laughs that made me love this book - it was the honest, down-to-earth manner in which its written. I can't say that I've read any other memoir with the kind of sincerity Alison shows. She told about her life like it was: It wasn't always all rosy, but it wasn't all doom-and-gloom either. Some of it is disturbing, particularly when it came to the relationship with her older brother.
Her accounts about her experience on Little House and about the cast and crew were interesting and quite eye-opening at times, from her friendship with Melissa Gilbert to the crazy antics (!) of Michael Landon. I was really pleased to read that the cast still enjoy getting together on occasion. Not many actors can say that.
Get your hankies out when you read about her friendship with Steve Tracy (Percival Dalton, Nellie's husband). I FELT what Alison felt. That's how good her writing is.
I'm not even going to bother with the memoirs by the two Melissas - Confessions of a Prairie Bitch is a true treasure for any Little House fan.
This book has it all - dishing lots of juicy talk about Hollywood favorites, all in good, lighthearted fun. Totally fun read!