Tuesday, March 08, 2011
Confessions of a Prairie Bitch
Posted by JaneGS
Alison Arngrim's memoir of her Little House on the Prairie days, Confessions of a Prairie Bitch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated, is pretty different from my usual reading fare, but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it!
Fast-paced and chock full of gossip about her co-stars on Little House, I read the book in record time and emerged a full-blown fan of Arngrim's own grit, spunk, humor, and tenacity. She recounts a pretty horrific childhood (i.e., space-cadet Hollywood-struck parents and an abusive older brother)without whining, blaming, or second-guessing and quickly moves on to life on the set, which, let's face it, is what I really wanted to read about.
I never watched the TV show, not as a kid, not as an adult. I loved the LH books and when the show premiered I knew that it couldn't really recreate the books I loved so I decided not to watch it.
Now, I confess I'm a bit disappointed that I didn't. Much as I love my sacred cows, I also love campy, over the top, playing to the back-row stuff as well, and Arngrim's description of many of the episodes and characters (as developed by Michael Landon) sound simply delightful. I loved Arngrim's description of her acting--basically screaming, pouting, and wrestling (usually in muddy water) with Melissa Gilbert, playing Laura. Turns out Gilbert and Arngrim became best buds immediately, and the pictures of the two of them clowning around are just wonderful.
I also found fascinating Arngrim's stories about some fans of the show basically not being able to grasp that she isn't actually Nellie, but rather an actor playing a part. That some fans of the show feel no hesitation to berate her for Nellie's behavior just makes me shake my head--it's a good thing Arngrim has such a good sense of humor!
I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir--it's hilarious, interesting, and yes, inspiring. I'm actually considering starting to watch the Little House series, though when, I can't imagine!
Here's a clip of Arngrim you might enjoy--it's actually a pretty good preview of the book itself.