Saturday, February 05, 2011

Confessions of a Prairie Bitch - Angrim

I was never much a fan of Little House on the Prairie. I was a city-kid who abhorred anything reeking of "country" [of course, I now live in the suburbs and love country music...but that's a different post]. I did, however, see it enough times to recognize a few key characters: Laura, Pa, Mary and to, of course, hate Nellie...the fabulously evil Nellie. 

I had already read Melissa Gilbert's book (which I will review in the future) and really enjoyed it. But she was engaged to Rob Lowe! Alison Angrim didn't date anyone cool, that I know of, so when I first saw Alison Angrim's Confessions of a Prairie Bitch I didn't really have any interest in reading it. But someone unwittingly convinced me to check it out and I'm glad I did. 

Angrim, who grew up in a Hollywood household (her mother was the voice of Gumby and Casper the Ghost), writes about her childhood. She talks candidly about her initial interest in acting...getting out of the home she shares with an older brother who uses her for his sexual enjoyment (remember she was a child actress). She admits freely that her father carried the secret of his homosexuality for years. 

Angrim also dissects her seven-year stint as Nellie Oleson, admitting to the juicer Little House stories like Michael Landon's drinking and penchant for avoiding underwear, her and Gilbert urinating in wetsuits during one scene shot in a very cold river, and about her one and only costumed public appearance, where school girls physically and verbally attacked her because of their hatred of her character.

Angrim also tells of her loss of her Little House husband, Steve Tracy, to AIDS, explaining her adult focus on political activism for AIDS and sexual abuse causes. Ultimately, Angrim explains how being Nellie taught her to center and focus her inner bitch and utilize it for good, leaning to appreciate and love being hated.

3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.