Reviewer Amy Lignor: Amy is the author of a historical fiction novel entitled The Heart of a Legend, and Mind Made, a work of science fiction. Presently, she is writing an adventure series set in the New York Public Library, as well as a teen fiction series, The Angel Chronicles. She is an avid traveler and has been fortunate to have journeyed across the USA, where she has met the most amazing people, who truly bring life and soul to her books. She lives in the Land of Enchantment (for now) with her gorgeous daughter, Shelby, her wonderful Mom, Mary, and the greatest friend and critic in the entire world - her dog, Reuben
Author: Alison Arngrim
Author: Alison Arngrim
Let me begin by saying that this was a fantastic reminder of my father. Yes, my father…God rest his soul. My sister and I so loved Little House, but every time the theme song came on my father would grunt and roll his eyes at us. In fact, he did that with Charlie’s Angels, too. (Good thing he loved us J)
I was one of the few on the planet who sincerely loved Nellie Oleson. She was such a mean girl who, unfortunately, always seemed to “get hers.” I was so happy when they brought on the actor that played Nellie’s cute little Jewish husband; I wanted for so long to see Nellie happy. I know, I know…I’m strange.
Anyway, Alison Arngrim’s look “back” was a fantastic way to spend my afternoon. First, she gave me an inside peek at the fabulous world of Hollywood in the 1960’s. Her parents were in the industry and came from Canada. Her mother was definitely not a “Happy Homemaker” personality. She couldn’t even “fold the foil back on the dessert in the Hungry Man TV dinner.” What she could do was voice-overs, and became the beloved children’s characters: Casper the Friendly Ghost and Gumby. Alison’s father was…well…gay. He was a man who loved to be part of the “movers-and-shakers,” and ended up becoming a personal manager to some of the Hollywood stars. Unfortunately, her brother Stefan was, shall I say, an abusive babysitter, who hurt Alison a great deal when she was a young girl. They lived for a time in a castle – a bungalow at the Chateau Marmont – and even though Alison was having a more than difficult time with parents who didn’t seem to notice that her teen-idol brother was pawing at her, she “played through” and stepped into the world of the Prairie.
Alison gives us a wonderful look at the cast of characters we grew to love over the years. And, although readers will most likely not be surprised by some…others threw me for a loop. Michael Landon, of course, was most likely the hottest patriarch around. I believe that secretly my mother, as well as all others, loved it when Pa was working around the farm with his tight abs exposed to the world. During reruns, we even joke today how we would face the ice cold winters of the desolate prairie if we got to curl up next to THAT every night J Of course, Landon was the saint that people believed him to be, but he also had a sinful side. This man was IN CHARGE, and everyone knew it.
Melissa Gilbert was Alison’s best friend. She came from a wealthy family, but was a girl who was definitely down to earth and liked to have a good time. They became friends on the set even though Laura Ingalls and Nellie Oleson were always at each others’ throats. Mrs. Oleson was a great theatrical actress and was ultimately quite loud when she spewed her lines. But she was very talented and a mesmerizing actress. Mr. Oleson was a lot like…well…Mr. Oleson. The actor was extremely smart and mostly on the quiet side. Willie, the boy who was Nellie’s brother, was actually Melissa Gilbert’s real brother (which I had no idea); and Alison Arngrim speaks of her on-screen husband in the most lovely of ways. He was a good man who, unfortunately, the world lost to AIDS.
From the on-set hairdressers who “knew” Marilyn, or did Bette Davis’ hair; to a certain cast member who was extremely rude, but ended up having a reason for the cold side that she showed to her cast members, every page reveals something that a reader and true fan would want to know. Alison Arngrim’s “life” may have been mostly on T.V., but each and every moment she lived sure seemed like a movie to me.
I will always be a Nellie fan. I realize that Ms. Arngrim has been accosted by many fans for her horrible antics, and is still forgiven today for the wretched things she did to poor Laura Ingalls when they were only children; but, let’s me honest…without a “bad guy” who would need the good ones? I mean, can you imagine Harry without Lord Voldemort? Probably be a big waste of time. Enjoy!