This post contains affiliate links. We are huge fans of Little House on the Prairie, both the books and the TV series. Now that the girls and I are watching the series together, I’ve become interested in learning more about the actors. On a whim, I decided to read Confessions of a Prairie Bitch by Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson). Even though I don’t really care for the profanity in the title, I loved this book!
About Confessions of a Prairie Bitch by Alison Arngrim
Arngrim had quite a childhood, completely opposite of Nellie’s spoiled upbringing. Arngrim is unabashed in revealing her life including being molested by her brother beginning when she was just six. Honestly, that was the most difficult chapter for me to listen to.
In fact, based on her childhood and her parents’ inadvertent neglect of her, she should be sad and miserable. However, Arngrim has this sassy, irreverent attitude that allows her to overcome these difficulties, and I love this about her.
About 1/2 to 2/3rds of this book is about Arngrim’s time as Nellie Oleson. For those who love the TV show, listening to her behind the scenes details is fascinating. I loved when she explained what was happening in certain scenes, like the river scene when the Olesons go camping with the Ingalls. I also enjoyed hearing about the actors who made up the cast of Little House. For instance, I found it amusing when she said Katherine MacGregor (Mrs. Oleson) routinely gave acting advice to EVERYONE on set. Some were more appreciative than others, to say the least.
The first part of the book is about her crazy upbringing and her brother, who, besides molesting her, also is routinely in rehab as he battles drugs.
The last part of the book is about her life after Little House. She became quite an activist both for the AIDS movement and for incest. I really had no idea that before the ’90s, if a family member molested a child, it was only a misdemeanor!
I rarely listen to audiobooks for myself, but I did for this book, and I’m so happy I did. There’s something about hearing Arngrim narrating this book that brings it to life. It sounds just like Nellie reading, and I love that Arngrim has the same sass that Nellie had (albeit in for a more positive, beneficial use).
I do plan to read more of the biographies of the cast of Little House such as Melissa Gilbert’s and Charlotte Stewart’s, but I don’t think either will match Confessions of a Prairie Bitch by Alison Arngrim.
As a kid I despised Nellie Oleson, but now I have a deep respect for the actress, Alison Arngrim.
I give this book 5 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.
Love Little House on the Prairie? Be sure to read our review of Laura and Almanzo’s home in Mansfield, Missouri.