Nellie Oleson gets even

It’s likely that anyone who grew up watching Little House on the Prairie in the ’70s also grew up hating Alison Arngrim—or at least the character she played. Spiteful Nellie Oleson was the antagonist to the show’s heroine Laura Ingalls, incurring the wrath of millions to the point that even today Arngrim still encounters rage directed at her alter ego. Now a stand-up comedian, Arngrim recounts her Hollywood upbringing (her dad was Liberace’s talent manager) and dishes juicy LHOTP gossip (apparently Melissa Sue Anderson, who played Mary Ingalls, was the show’s true diva nightmare). At the heart of this book, however, is Arngrim’s account of being repeatedly raped by her brother as a child, how she came to terms with it in her 20s and how those events shaped her life as an activist for childhood-abuse awareness. Through it all, this book refuses to be a downer thanks to Arngrim’s candid voice, which manages to sidestep the maudlin in favor of razor-sharp humor and insight.