I was super excited to read this as soon as it came out for a handful of reasons. First, I love memoirs. I am at times especially intrigued by what I call “famous people” memoirs.. but not like Kardashian famous, I’m not really interested in that life. I’m more interested in famous people who still act like normal human beings. Anyhowwww, I also wanted to read this because I love Matilda and am 100% guilty of pretty much thinking that Mara Wilson was Matilda Wormwood IRL. While no one is a real life Roald Dahl character, it would still be kinda cool to think that Matilda grew up to be as badass as Mara Wilson has.
I feel like it’s fairly safe to say any kid that grew up in the 90’s has come across Mara Wilson at least at some point in their lifetime. For me it was Matilda, Mrs. Doubtfire (one of the greatest family movies), and Miracle on 34th Street; but like every good little bookworm, I could always relate to Matilda the most.
This book basically reads like a collections of essays about different times in Mara’s life. Said stories cover working on different movies at a young age, losing her mother to cancer, being diagnosed with OCD, and getting away from Hollywood as a teen to later pursue the creative life by becoming a writer. Mara takes her readers through her personal journey of being a well known child actress, through her adolescent years, and into her adult life as a writer living in New York.
One of the things I like most about this book was Mara’s openness in discussing mental health. In the chapter Patterns for instance, Mara talks a lot about her irrational worrying as a child. This whole chapter was something I could really relate to. While my irrational worrying never manifested itself as OCD as it did for Mara, the way she describes the anxieties she felt was spot on. It’s always refreshing in my opinion to read someone’s very straightforward account of their mental health experiences.
Obviously, being a child star, there are many stories of working on many different movies, and accounts of having worked with some very famous actors. I have to admit, Mara challenged my feelings toward Danny DeVito… For years I have been really creeped out by Danny and seem to assume he is just a crude Frank Reynolds type guy in real life. But then to hear Mara’s account of working with him as the director and co-actor in Matilda was revealing. Now he sounds like a sweet guy who cared a lot about looking out for the child actors he worked with. There is one story involving Danny DeVito and the post-production of Matilda that honestly made me cry, but I won’t spoil it, you’ll have to find out for yourself.
Speaking of crying, there is an entire chapter devoted to Robin Williams alone. I cried multiple times because it was just so heartfelt and raw. And because who doesn’t love Robin Williams? This chapter primarily consists of a blog post Mara made following Robin Williams passing, which you can read here —> Remembering Robin if you so please. It was a sweet tribute to a sweet sounding funny man.
Mara shares a lot of amusing and heartfelt stories. Not only does she tell interesting and relatable stories, but this is also just so readable for lack of a better term. It’s well written, it flows, and I remained interested the entire time. Overall, I really enjoyed this read.