Confessions of a Prairie Bitch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated

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HarperCollins, Jun 15, 2010 - Biography & Autobiography - 320 pages
33 Reviews

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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User Review  - ahef1963 - LibraryThing

I see that others were wildly entertained by this biography, but for me it was extremely hit and miss, and easily put down and forgotten. The young woman who played arch-villain Nellie Oleson in the ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jjaylynny - LibraryThing

I'm quite embarrassed to have read and enjoyed this memoir, but I'm not sure why. It's a terrific, clear-eyed account by a non-addicted Hollywood-bred kid who made good in the end. Read full review

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About the author (2010)

Alison Arngrim starred as Nellie Oleson for seven years on the TV series Little House on the Prairie. She also guest-starred on The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, and the NBC movie of the week I Married Wyatt Earp. She has appeared in numerous films and plays, and her stand up comedy show, "Confessions of a Prairie Bitch," has become a worldwide phenomenon. Arngrim also volunteers for nonprofit organizations such as AIDS Project Los Angeles and the National Association to Protect Children. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband.

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