I read Alison Arngrim’s memoir, Confessions of a Prairie Bitch, over the weekend and was so delighted by her sense of humor and so enjoyed her style that I threw myself headfirst into Melissa Gilbert’s, Prairie Tale. Listen, Nellie was always the best character on Little House. She only bawled when she came up with a face full of mud, unlike that squinty, squawlbag Half Pint. Let’s just say that the actors didn’t fall far from the tree.
Arngrim describes a violent, nightmarish childhood with charm. Read that sentence again. This was a child who suffered true abuse and neglect, and who grew up to have not only a sense of humor about it, but a healthy sense of humor. No whistling in the graveyard with this one. She’s done her work to heal the wounds, and talks about them like that scene in Lethal Weapon, where Rene Russo and Mel Gibson compare battle scars.
More than that, Arngrim shares her history like she’s talking to a friend. I want to be her best friend now. I want to hear the stuff she didn’t tell!
Melissa Gilbert, on the other hand… Click here and scroll down for the review I gave to Rob Lowe’s memoir, Stories I Only Tell My Friends. If the real Melissa Gilbert is anywhere near as insufferable as the author Melissa Gilbert is, she and Rob Lowe were a perfect couple.
I realize that people don’t become actors because they are shy of self-aggrandizement, but this was just silly. Every other page, Gilbert has broken down in heaving sobs over something or other, or is having a screaming fight with a boyfriend, all the while telling us how she never allowed herself to feel anything, or display any emotion. Because crying and yelling are what? Oy.
I am also in the middle of a memoir by Clint Hill, Mrs. Kennedy and Me. Hill was on Mrs. Kennedy’s secret service detail. He clearly adored his charge, and I am enjoying Camelot through his eyes. Hill does come off a little like a sophomore in love, and he is more than happy to tell you how awesome he was personally, but that doesn’t detract from his storytelling. It is also really funny to read about the 60s when it comes to telephones and travel. I am so spoiled by technology!
What’s next? Well, I should round out the Little House girls by reading Melissa Sue Anderson’s memoir, The Way I See It. After all, both Arngrim and Gilbert were blunt that she was the real little hmph on the prairie. But do I really want to read another book by an actor, telling me how wonderful she is? Not so close on the heels of Half Pint’s, thanks.
It’s probably time to read some history.