The first month I had this book I couldn't pick it up. It was like meeting an old friend after many years. I was too afraid we would have nothing in common and I would have to mourn what was lost. I was a latch key kid, coming home every day to a cold, empty house on a grey estate. The Little House on The Prairie TV series provided me with a substitute life where mum and dad were always around to look after you after your daily adventures on the prarie with mysterious natives, criminals on the run, wild horses - this was paradise compared to my childhood! I loved all the characters but if a show didn't feature Nellie Oleson, my world felt bleaker. Nellie and her brilliantly awful mother ('remember the way she whined, 'Nels!' whenever her husband put his foot down?) lit up my life. Even now it's a strange joy for me to see privileged people being upfront about their nastiness, consumption and greed. So much more honest than the usual middle class faux modesty, polite small talk and studied blandness. My friends and I had a 'Nellie Oleson' sneer and it always made you feel good to use it for some reason. And despite loving her, why did it always fill you with delight when she ended up in the creek after losing a round to Laura, her pristine, ruffled dresses splattered with mud, ridiculous stockinged legs waving in the air, and golden ringlets askew? Oh, and that never ending supply of candy from Oleson's Mercantile, and Willie's face when Nellie wouldn't give him any. Why were these scenes so riveting? I agree with everyone who loved reading this book, Arngrim is awesome, but frankly just having the book in the corner of the room is like an old friend smiling at you, reminding you of shared, good times.