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.
Alison Arngrim tells a matter of fact and honest tale of life not only on the Prairie but in a home of 2 actor parents and an abusive brother. The story spins facts as she experienced them, and surprising revelations about herself, her character and how to learn from each of them to reinvent herself.
This bio is filled with tones of Prairie tidbits, some of which may be surprising to some. As a fan of the Prairie, I could visualize many of the episodes that are described and discussed in the book. As an interested reader I was surprised and pleased to read about the relationships outside the usual famous friends like those developed with the hair and make up people, her works with various charity groups and her drive to make things right for herself personally.
This is one strong individual, who has learned to survive. Her quirkiness may not have been to everyone’s liking, but she sure made a famous character to watch and discuss. In my opinion, it is often the least likeable characters that have much more interesting storylines.