I wanted to like this book more, I swear! I was so ready for this to be another 10/10 read! However, I had some issues with the work that kept it from a perfect score.
But before I go into the negatives of the book, let’s talk about some positives. First of all, I enjoyed discovering that what I thought was going to be a traditional biography was instead a series of essays by Ms. Wilson. I thought this format was incredibly successful, especially since it allowed the author to go back and forth in time, telling us both about what she’s done in the past and where she is now.
I also liked the way she handled talking about the late Robin Williams; delicately, with care and reverence that is missing in so much of people’s talk about dead celebrities.
But most importantly, the way she managed to make herself vulnerable to readers everywhere to talk about her experiences with obsessive-compulsive disorder stood out to me as the most poignant moments in her work.
Overall, Mara Wilson writes well and plenty of humor and wit, and you do get the message that she is so much more than the cute child actor that we all used to coo over; she’s a human being with flaws and strengths and struggles.
So then what didn’t I like about the book? It’s been hard for me to put my finger on it. It’s not so much anything in the book, but rather that I personally felt that something was missing to connect all her anecdotes about her life into a bigger picture. To be fair, I’ve never published a book (though I’ve tried to write a few), and so applause is deserved to Mara Wilson for opening her life up to the public again. Would recommend Mara Wilson’s memoir, but I still can’t manage to bump the score up to the full 10/10.
AND WHAT ABOUT THE MOVIE? Obviously there isn’t a movie of Mara Wilson’s life, but she has been in quite a few movies, and I want to give a shout out to some of my favorite. Roald Dahl’s Matilda is a book that is so close to my heart I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to review it. But the movie is also amazing- you will never be able to convince me that any other child could have been more perfect than Mara Wilson. (Although all of the little girls who have so far played the titular role in the musical, both in the US and the UK have also been perfect, and the musical is as amazing as the book and the movie in my mind).
Another movie that she was in that is close to my heart is the Thomas and the Magic Railroad. Ok, go ahead and laugh, but my brother watched this movie thousands of times when we were younger, and so while I would never actually want to watch it again, thinking about it brings me to a nostalgic place. I didn’t even realize that the little girl in the movie was Ms. Wilson until a few years ago, so reading Mara’s accounts about this movie made me smile. It was still a pretty shitty movie, though, no offense to all the wonderful people who made it.