I credit my newfound love of this blog post’s title song to Jay Pharoah, who crushed it pretty hard when I saw him at the Oddball Comedy Fest on September 9! He did a similar bit on the Goddamn Comedy Jam though, so don’t be too jealous of me, guys.
But we’re not here to talk about Justin Bieber! We’re here to talk about Mara Wilson, former child actor and current writer of books!
Mara Wilson’s Where Am I Now? (tongue-in-cheek title AF) dropped September 13, and I obviously pre-ordered it because A. fangirl, and B. pre-sales go towards first-week sales, which put books on the NYT Bestseller list! There’s an Ilana Glazer blurb on the front of this book, so you know it’s dope.
Wilson chronicles what it’s like to grow up in Hollywood (literally: she grew up in Burbank which is a few miles north of the actual Hollywood, CA), having starred in major productions since the age of 5. She’s a girl whose real name you may never have known; you may have just known her for the past 20 years as “Matilda.”
I first reacquainted myself with Mara several years ago, through Twitter & Tumblr. She’s a really insightful writer, and not afraid to share #realshit, like her OCD (the real kind, not the not-so-charming colloquialism). Existing as a child in the business we call show is no joke, but Mara relates her experiences with humor and sincerity. A particularly moving excerpt is “Writing Robin,” Mara’s touching tribute to Robin Williams.
It’s so refreshing to hear a young woman talk frankly about herself and her sexuality without self-deprecation or embarrassment, especially considering her early entrée into the world of adult content. Where Am I Now? is wonderfully frank—Wilson doesn’t shrink from exposing her dorky-ness; nor does she revel in it. She is able to present show-choir (à la Glee) as painfully silly while still admitting that it was the passion of her young heart. It’s a delicate balance, but Wilson straddles the line beautifully.
Were I to say more, I’d be gushing. Go buy this book. There is nothing sadder to me than the notion that changing career paths makes one a “hasbeen.” This book was written by a writer. Not a former child actor, not someone leaning on former fame.
Where Am I Now? is a triumph.
What books have been giving you all the feels lately?