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

Overview

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 ...

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

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Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

NPR.org
“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.”
AOL PopEater
“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.”
Entertainment Weekly
“’Confessions of a Prairie Bitch’ says it all: Neither Arngrim nor Nellie could ever be called boring.”
Chicago Sun-Times
“Arngrim displays a healthy sense of humor.”
New York Post
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.”
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Hilarious and heartbreaking.”
Michael Musto
“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.”
Melissa Gilbert
“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. ”
Phyllis Diller
“Alison Arngrim is a talented actress and an author who has patched together a meaningful life and created a book whose pages…fly.”
Margaret Cho
“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.”
Carol Channing
“Alison Arngrim is a fine actress and a true comedienne. She has always been the kind of ‘Bitch’ who tells it like it is. So, readers beware, you are in for an eye-full of reality told with a remarkable sense of humor.”
Bruce Vilanch
“Whoa, Nellie! “Confessions of a Prairie Bitch” is a book that you will keep stored under a haystack in the barn, to dip into whenever you need a shot of something that will keep you down on the farm.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062000101
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/15/2010
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 83,601
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 208 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(111)

4 Star

(64)

3 Star

(18)

2 Star

(9)

1 Star

(6)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 208 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2010

    Best LHOTP Memoir of the Three

    If you are going to read any of the LHOTP memoirs out there this is the one you should go for! Not only is it the best written of the three (Nellie Oleson was one of the smartest in her class after all!) it is the most informative behind-the-scenes tell-all and it is also one of the most brutally honest.

    Alison Arngrim tells it all and gives you the most insight into what went on behind the scenes at LHOTP (like why Carrie falls down in the opening credits.) . She talks about her relationship with most of the cast members even the little guys like the Carrie twins, and Miss Beadle. (Melissa Sue Anderson wrote episode recaps with no explanation as to why she chose those particular episodes and tells you everyone was a "fine actor". The ones she expands on are also covered by Gilbert & Arngrim so nothing new, interesting or real there.) Alison actually gives more attention to her onscreen brother Jonathan Gilbert - several paragraphs in several chapters - than his real life sister Melissa Gilbert who limits her comments to he was adopted, he worked with me, and then he took off at age 18 and we barely hear from him. Oh, and Alison doesn't hold back on Melissa Sue Anderson. If you want to find out anything about MSA you'll have to read Confessions because MSA doesn't even mention anything really about her personal life except to say that her mother came with her to the first audition and thought Michael Landon was hot. Apparently there was a real animosity on the set that Melissa Gilbert only hints at and Melissa Anderson doesn't really address at all.

    At the end of this book I wanted to give Alison Arngrim a great big hug because she was so open and sincere in sharing her personal life warts and all! She discusses coming from a show biz family that was not on the A-List. Her mother was the voice of Casper the Friendly Ghost, Gumby, and Polly Purebread from the Underdog cartoon and her father was a public relations manager and a closeted homosexual. Her brother Stefan, who was several years older, was a former child star of the 60s and a deeply disturbed individual who started raping Alison when she was 6 years old and he was a teen. Her story is one of being beaten down but not defeated. She is every bit as tough as Nellie Oleson but so much sweeter! She recounts going out in public and being attacked by LHOTP fans for being mean to Laura and how some girls from a gang at her high school admired her character and thought she was bad ass. Rather than turn into the a mess from being abused and from being a former child st star (like her brother) she went into therapy and started confronting her demons - some really cringe worthy anecdotes here and went on to have a career in stand up comedy and advocacy for abused children and volunteering with several organizations. She really is a wonderful power of example and she writes it all with wonderful style and technique! Definitely worth the read!

    38 out of 41 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 6, 2010

    Alison Arngrim Delivers.....

    Alison is funny and gives a good interpretation of her life on the prarie. I thought her book was better than Melissa Gilbert's. I have a newfound appreciation for Nellie. She gives good details about characters in the show and about her life, in general even her abuse at the hands of her brother to whom she is now estranged. Despite having a strange background (gay father) she was raised by two loving parents who cared deeply for her. I applaud her for taking something so negative (her abuse) and fighting for the rights of others in California. Alison sure can deliver. I salute you, Alison!

    11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 17, 2010

    I like this b*tch

    Unlike Melissa Gilberts autobiography, Alison Armgrim doesnt name drop and pretend to be an A lister. She is brutally honest! This book is awesome!

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    One of the Best Hollywood Memoirs Out There

    If you haven't read Alison Arngrim's memoir, 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 Confessions, 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 and I promise you will gain respect for Arngrim in the process.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 2, 2011

    From the heart -- you can feel it!

    Bought this for my Nook this morning, finished it this evening. Didn't get anything else done, but the world feels just a little bit better to me, as if knowing that Alison Arngrim lived the life she so vividly describes and still has so much goodness in her makes it so. I grew up watching her, never hating her as so many did, but always glad to know that Nellie's kind of badness always lost out in the end. It seems appropriate that she was (and is still) able to show so many in the world that there can be an end to the badness.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Could not stop reading!

    I devoured this book in hours from the moment I had it. Beautifully written, funny, and sweet. A true tell-all book! Alison holds nothing back, and I love it! What a beautiful person she is, inside and out.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2012

    Can't put it down!

    I'm right in the middle of reading this book and can't put it down! I've laughed and I've cried. I've been taken back 30 something years to sitting in front of the tv watching my favorite show and the girl I loved to hate. Now I have a whole new respect for Nellie and the sweet young lady who played her. Hoping I can find the dvds to watch the series all over again with my child!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 25, 2011

    Must read for any child of the 70s

    Witty. Sarcastic and fun. I hated Nelly as a kid and was always curious about the back stories. Got em here!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 18, 2011

    Loved it,

    Great fast read.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 21, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    An exceptionally well written masterpiece. Alison Arngrim will l

    An exceptionally well written masterpiece. Alison Arngrim will live forever in the memories of the world for her iconic role on Little House on the Praire. Here she provides the backstory so many of have always wondered about. She writes with wit and sarcasm. It's nice to know the mean little girl was just an act and that she is actually a wonderfully nice person in real life.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2013

    I really liked this book........Nellie Olsen was such a spoiled

    I really liked this book........Nellie Olsen was such a spoiled brat but was not like that in real life. To portray that kind of a charactor takes great skills......her homelife was crappy but the good person she was eventually came through....

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2012

    Reggie b

    What a story!no wonder nellie was so mean she was hidding her own pain it was a terrific book true to life with todays bullying in schools way to go allison

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2011

    Who knew?

    Nellie is a great author! I bought this book as a die-hard little house fan, secretly thinking "Oh Nellie can't be THAT great, I mean how can SHE have any kind of story to tell?" But I was curious why everyone loved it, so I bought it and started reading it that night. It was amazing! Alison was so funny and professionally told the stories about depression and rape with wit and sparkle. There were some emotional parts and she merrily described them so well it was as if I were there with her. She told a lot about Michael Landon, Missy Anderson, and especially her BFF Melissa Gilbert. I couldn't stop laughing and read the whole thing in one marathon sitting. I say buy it with no question. Confessions Of A Prairie B***** rocks. Alison, you are amazing.
    By littlehousegirl

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2011

    Loved this book!

    A funny, gritty, real, and truly enjoyable read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 12, 2011

    The Best of the Prairie Bio's!

    Alison Arngrim's humor and recounts of her life up to this point, kept me interested. Unlike Melissa Gilbert, Alison seems to be more down to earth and real. A much more likeable person. Alison over came events from her childhood, and made better choices in her life, then self absorbed Melissa Gilbert. I would recommend this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Arngrim's honesty and comedic twists make this book fly

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Great book!

    This was a very interesting autobiography. Anyone who loves Little House on the Prairie would love it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2010

    Nellie Rocks

    I believe all actors and actresses relish in playing an evil role and Alison Argrim ruled as the evil Nellie. She was more evil than Joan Collins as Alexis on Dynasty. It was a shame that nobody recognize Alison Argrim as a talented actress.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2014

    Loved the book! Wonderfully detailed and from the heart. Wish I

    Loved the book! Wonderfully detailed and from the heart. Wish I could meet Alison!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2014

    Funny and Insightful

    Great read! It is filed with humor, sadness, and everything in between. Her complete lack of pretense is refreshing and she tells her story honestly.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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