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

Arngrim, Alison

I delighted at the idea of this book, recommended to me by fellow Library Underground denizen Amy Mullin. I mean, who doesn't love a juicy tv child star memoir? What I didn't realize is that while Prairie Bitch, written by the actor who played the bad guy on Little House on the Prairie, does have some salacious details (What was up with Melissa Sue Anderson?!?), it's also a moving and funny account of the AIDS activist and incest survivor's life. Plus, she's huge in France.

Speaking of bitches, check out this copyright statement:

HarperCollins books may be purchased for educational, business, or sales promotional use.

I guess they're saying you can't buy the books to make furniture, art, or a space ship? I know they can say whatever they want, but can they actually control what you do with a book once you've bought it, or prevent you from buying it because you're not going to use it in an approved manner? The NYC Radical Reference collective is considering proposing a "copyright is theft" workshop at the local anarchist book fair this year. Maybe I'll get my answer then.

Here's a feminist gem:

Well, I, for one, am happy I was 'the Nellie.' No, not just happy, proud. And eternally grateful. All I can say is, thank you. 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.

Alison Arngrim does exhibit one sign of pure evil: no cats.

Jan 25 2011