Mara Wilson’s debut memoir is a collection of well-written personal essays and I really enjoyed listening to it, but I didn’t love love love it. Some of the essays were incredibly moving and interesting to me, but others had that problem that I have with a lot of memoirs and collections of personal essays where it seems like it was included to fill space. I just find myself reacting like, okay I guess that was pretty good, but why did it need to be written? Hasn’t that been written about before?
But seriously, like 75% of the stories in here were great, and I’m very excited to see what kinds of things she does in the future. The best essays in here were the ones that only she could have written. The chapters where she comes to term with being a child star (and being the little girl who played Matilda specifically), or the chapter where she talks about her struggles with OCD were the highlights for me, but there’s also stuff in here about how she quit Hollywood, the deaths of her mother and Robin Williams, and a chapter she calls “The Matilda Whore Complex” where she deals somewhat with her sexuality*. I really want to see that sexy play she wrote.
*Right before this book was published, she came out as bisexual, and if she’d been out while writing this, I think parts of this book would have been written a little differently. Particularly the bit where she says she’s straight.
This is one of the better celebrity memoirs I’ve read, because Mara Wilson can actually write. She’s a writer. In fact, this is almost not a celebrity memoir, if it didn’t rely so heavily on, you know, her being a (former) celebrity. I’d also recommend the audio version. It’s always better to hear these things in the author’s own voice, especially if they’re a performer.