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

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  12,406 ratings  ·  1,597 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 describe
Hardcover, 302 pages
Published June 15th 2010 by It Books
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Colleen Hoover
Apr 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I once went to prison for a murder I didn't commit. I was only there for 37 days. They had a really cool library (shout out to Daisy, the prison librarian!) and they had this book there. I checked it out on the first day, thinking I'd learn something about character building. But instead, when I opened the book, a big hole was carved out of the pages and a hammer and chisel were inside. It was some SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION shit, straight up. It took me 37 days to carve my way out of the prison cell ...more
Stacia (the 2010 club)
This book had been in the massive TBR pile for quite some time when a chance reading of an author's blog jolted the memory of Prairie Bitch back into my mind. I'll have to agree with this author in saying that Joffrey from the television show Game of Thrones does bear a striking resemblance to Nellie Oleson from Little House on the Prairie.

The intro alone of the book was chock full of interesting tidbits. I love how it was explained why the show version of Little House was so different from the
Nov 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Whether you loved her, loved to hate her or just plain hated her, there's no denying Nellie Oleson was a force to be reckoned with on "that prairie". Spiteful, hateful, bossy, rude, bullying, bragging, conceited, uppity, vengeful, vindictive, and the bad apple of her mother's eye, there wasn't any length that Nellie wouldn't go to in order to score one over sassy Half-Pint Ingalls in particular and most of the denizens of Walnut Grove in general.

As a long time fan of the TV show growing up, I wa
Jun 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Nellie Oleson may have been the nastiest kid in town, but now, she's the one I'd want to be friends with. This woman is a riot. Her recall of all the weirdness that was her life and 'Little House' are done without the rancor and self-pity of so many others who've been through the same horrors. Instead of feeling sorry for herself, she's jumped in to helping others and making people laugh.

And to know that hating Mary Ingalls was ok, just make me feel a whole lot better ;)

I read this one in about
Sep 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I never imagined I would enjoy this book so much. I checked it out from the library only because I had just finished Melissa Gilbert's memoir(which I had to read after reading Rob Lowe's memoir) and I wanted to get Nellie's version of events as well. I loved watching Little House on the Prairie when I was a kid & it was on tv, but I'm not a superfan or anything like that. I haven't watched the show since I was a kid(though now I am thinking I need to rewatch some episodes after reading these two ...more
Jul 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Little House on the Prairie
Shelves: memoir-bio, 2010
Well here’s a memoir filled with sadness, tragedy and outright horror but it’s told in such a no holds barred in your face upbeat way that you really have to give Alison Arngrim (alias the evil Nellie Oleson, Laura’s arch nemesis on tv’s “Little House on the Prairie”) credit for writing it the way she did. Memoirs tend to follow a pattern: this is why I’m writing it, my life was not normal, horrible things happened, I survived, I’m in a good place now. She does pretty much the same thing but bec ...more
Carli Entin
Mar 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
As a young child, Arngrim lived the bohemian lifestyle of her nomadic Hollywood actor parents—and suffered horrific sexual abuse by the hands of her brother, a washed-up teen idol. At age 12, her life changed dramatically when she landed the role of Nellie Oleson on the popular 1970s TV series Little House on the Prairie.

Arngrim is not simply a former child star with a story to tell. She is an excellent writer, and her memoir is poignant, hilarious, and loaded with the type of behind-the-scenes
Jul 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to rivka by: Steve Sarner
This is one of the best memoirs I have read to date. Not only does it deal with both entertaining and serious topics in a straightforward and non-dramatized manner, the writing is excellent. Which is not something I assume with memoirs -- even some good ones have crappy writing. This is not one of those.

Definitely a must-read for all fans of the Little House on the Prairie tv show. But not only does it give great insight, gossip, and background about the show and its players, it also demonstrate
Kressel Housman
Dec 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Just learning that this book existed from a GR friend's review last year was enough to set me off on a full-speed-ahead Little House binge, as evidenced by this shelf, but curious as I was about this book specifically, I was a little put off by the curse word in the title and the knowledge that Alison would "come out" about being raped by her own brother. She was the victim, of course, and was ultimately heroic in becoming a voice for other victims, but I figured it wouldn't make for kosher read ...more
Feb 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I can't believe I am giving 5 stars to the memoir of a child actor- I mean, I usually reserve 5 stars for great works of literary fiction or history. However, I have to give credit where credit is due, and Alison Arngrim had me sitting up all night to finish reading her book. I loved Little House on the Prairie as a child, but I have never had the least bit of interest in reading Melissa Gilbert's autobiography. In general,I don't go for autobiographies of arguably minor celebrities, and wouldn' ...more
Jul 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Let me put it this way:

I have never in my life seen a single episode of Little House on the Prairie. I know absolutely zip about Nellie Oleson. And yet I read this book in 2 days and gave it 4 stars. What does that say to you?
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have never actually seen an episode of Little House on the Prairie, going into this book with only a general idea of the characters. For the most part, this book worked for me quite well, although I came away realizing that I don't think I would like to see any of the TV series.

My loyal fans know that I don't like rehashing plots, but here's what to expect as an overview: background on Alison's early life in New York City and Hollywood, including the story of her parents' backgrounds, as well
Jul 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was a superb little book (too short!) that had me laughing in all the right places, and not scaring the cats.

For those expecting a Tell-All you might be slightly disappointed. Instead, it's a Tell-Just-Enough -- a wonderful synopsis of the tribulations of a child actor who had the eyes of the world on her for seven years, watching her every move. That she survived to become such a delightfully stable, funny and compassionate person defies all the odds; and yet, Alison Arngrim is all those t
Jun 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
While I watched Little House a few times as a kid, I didn't become a big fan until recently when I re-read the books from childhood and bought the boxed set when it was on sale at B&N. As a child, Nellie scared the daylights out of me - mostly because I was bullied a lot in school and she reminded me of those mean girls. As an adult, I kind of loved her brazen bitchy style. While she was annoying, she was pretty damn smart. I did like how she grew up though and was sad to see her leave the show ...more
Jul 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
So sorry that Mary was such a BEOTCH. NOT sorry Nellie doesn't hold back. She delves, dishes, and zings on everyone and it's all done with love, respect, and humor... except for poor Mary who sounds like she deserved the treatment she receives. A quick and funny read.
Nicola Mansfield
Aug 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Reason for Reading: I'm a big fan of LHOTP. I read Melissa Gilbert's memoir and was anxious to find out more and very excited when I saw Alison had a book out.

Alison Arngrim's narrative is a pleasure to read. Just by reading the title we get a glimpse of what kind of attitude we can expect to find inside the covers. Arngrim is also a stand-up comedienne and with that knowledge it explains the easy going narrative style full of humour that made this book such a fun read.

Alison starts by telling o
Sherwood Smith
Just the cheer-up I needed.

Many years ago, I worked on the same lot that Little House on the Prairie had their studio setup, so I used to see them around. (I took my sister, a huge fan, over their set once when they were all in the valley). Later, when I left the film industry and had my kid, I watched episodes on a tiny black and white while recovering from C-sec surgery.

So seeing Nellie Olson's scowling face on this book was a must-grab, and it was just as engrossing, and sometimes funny, alwa
Apr 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people with a tolerance for celebrity memoirs and/or "Little House" fans
Recommended to K by: Would I have ever heard of this book if not for goodreads?
Four stars with a caveat: I have a high tolerance for celebrity memoirs. I started reading celebrity memoirs in high school not for voyeuristic reasons (okay, not only for voyeuristic reasons) but out of a genuine curiosity about why, in a creative and chancy field like acting or writing or art, some people succeed and some people fail. It's clearly not only a question of talent; there's a psychology that goes into it and I was curious about that. Although I haven't succeeded in isolating the sp ...more
Jun 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Arngrim's parents were involved in show business; her mom was a very successful voiceover artist, working as the voices of Gumby and Sweet Polly Purebred from the Underdog cartoons. Dad was a public relations agent, though not as successful. Oh yeah, and he was gay, but that was never really discussed too much.

After a start in Canada, they move to Los Angeles. Alison's older brother got work as a young actor, but when work dried up for him as he got older, he became abusive to his younger sister
Feb 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
In the mood for something totally different, I chose this, based on reviews like rivka's. Read (and like) hers if you want to know why I enjoyed and was impressed by this.

The only thing I'd add is that my theory about why Melissa Sue Anderson was "mean" is that she was naturally shy, and had her mind poisoned by her stage mother. Read the bit where she cried out that 'you can't say bad things about your mother!' I bet that her mother said bad things about Gilbert and Arngrim....

Anyway, lots of f
Keith Chawgo
Apr 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
CONFESSIONS OF A PRAIRIE BITCH: HOW I SURVIVED NELLIE OLESON AND LEARNED TO LOVE BEING HATED is a great autobiography that deals with the life of Nelly Olsen played by Arnagrim during the long successful run of ‘LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE.

This is one of those books which you can not put down and you she is one of the few autobiographies that actually get it right. She mixes humour with pathos and almost hits the mark. There are times when dealing with the sexual abuse that it all seems a matte
Rick F.
Jun 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
An incredibly absorbing and fascinating memoir. Everything a memoir should be, Arngrim is obviously a very nice person. It always seems that the actors who play the worst villains onscreen are the nicest folks off screen! Not sure what is story with Melissa Sue Anderson..I checked her book out and it was as cold and distant as she is portrayed in this book. A definite must read for fans of the show and of great memoirs
Sep 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
I was never a fan of the Little House television series. It premiered in 1974, when I was 18 years old and off to college. I'd read all the books in grade school, and I had my own images of what Pa looked like. It sure as hell wasn't Little Joe from Bonanza.

But I do love a celebrity tell-all, and Arngrim does tell it all, from Michael Landon's habit of "going commando" in his too tight for the 19th century jeans to Arngrim's account of her less than wholesome family life. There is a frank descr
Jun 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Kindle for iPhone

I'm only about ten pages in, and I've already enjoyed it more than Mary Ingalls/Melissa Sue Anderson's whole stupid book!

It was interesting to read this, Melissa Gilbert's book and Melissa Sue Anderson's book in fairly close order. Arngrim hasn't had the career of Gilbert, but she comes across as the one you would most like to have a beer with. I had no knowledge of her abuse story, but she handles it very matter-of-factly (is that a word?) and with class. Her dislike of MSA jus
Jun 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bios
Wow, who'da thunk it? Of the trifecta of recent Little House bios, I never would have believed I would have enjoyed Alison/Nellie's the most -- but I did! This is one awesome book. I have nothing but respect and admiration for Alison Arngrim. It kind of makes me want to rewatch some of the old LHOP episodes and watch her with new eyes. Excellent read!
Dec 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I may be different than many readers in that I really don't have memories of "Little House on the Prairie" and those that I do have are of general outline information (hot Michael Landon, family show, taken from the Little House series, etc.) but my interest was pioqued because Ms. Arngrim has represented an organization I've long been a member of, The National Association to Protect Children, and it seemed logical to read her biography. I'm glad I did!

Ms. Arngrim has an easy-to-read voice that
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book gets all the stars-- every twinkling light that hung in the velvet sky above Walnut Grove. I've wanted to read this since it was published in 2010, but the audio version wasn't released until Fall of 2017. I was thrilled to discover that Alison was the reader, and her spirited narration added an extra dimension to my enjoyment.

There are countless "OMG, you're KIDDING" moments here, recounted in no-holds-barred fashion. Many of the anecdotes are hilarious-- what was the deal with Meliss
Oct 04, 2012 rated it liked it
And so the final memoir in my trilogy of Prairie memoirs. And might I say by far the most fun, and sad. Alison Arngrim aka Nellie Oleson, thankfully, spent the most time recounting the actual goings-on behind the scenes of Little House on the Prairie. Only a handful of chapters were dedicated to her life before and after Little House (which was a very sad life as a child, but a hopeful and happy life as a grown woman). I found this to be the perfect balance of what I was looking for in a book ab ...more
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
I picked this book up yesterday and couldn't put it down till I'd finished it. Well, OK, I put it down to eat and sleep and shower and work. But aside from that. I wanted to read it in bed, but my snickers and snorts kept waking my OH up. I had been just about ready to give up on showbiz memoirs, due to the immense amount of whining, blame assigning, and payback that seems to be rife in the latest generation thereof; in that sense, this book was a breath of fresh air.

I was never a fan of the nig
Feb 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I grew up watching (and loving!) the Little House on the Prairie series, and all these years later, it's still my go-to show when the world gets a little too nonsensical or dark.

Thank you, Alison, for giving us all a little more Little House. I loved the "insider information", loved getting to "know" the brave and funny girl/woman beneath the Nellie curls, and most of all, thank you for all the work you do for AIDS and for children.

So well-written, the pages (and the time!) fly by, and with pers
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“It's like I tell people at my stand-up shows: by making me a bitch, you have given me my freedom, the freedom to say and do things I couldn't do if I was "a nice girl" with some sort of stupid, goody-two-shoes image to keep up. Things that require courage. Things that require balls. Things that need to be done. By making me a bitch, you have freed me from the trite, sexist, bourgeois prison of "likeability." Any idiot can be liked. It takes talent to scare the crap out of people.” 23 likes
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