My second book of my 2019 Goodreads Reading Challenge is the true story of girlhood fame, and finding a way in the real world after leaving that fame…only to find fame on a different level, much later on.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I kicked off my 2019 with a biography about the honest truth of being in a “rock band with horns,” as told by the original drummer that helped it all come together, only to reach the brutal realization that you can be replaced even if your contributions outweigh everything else that comes in the way of a group’s climb to the top, crash, and recovery.
My second choice for 2019 is another autobiography, this time by a former child actress who was only as noticeable for her next role as she was for her last role. Unfortunately, she was always “that girl from Matilda,” and that, and the business of acting as a whole, wore on her. Plus, she had to grow up and make her way through the world. This is her story.
Mara Wilson (known as “That Girl From Matilda”) was a child actress who made her short acting career based on her ability to “be” and “look” cute and adorable. When this became tiring, she left the business, and pursued a life of normalcy. And in reality she was so grounded in it that she came out of her fame relatively unscathed. Actors with iconic, career-defining roles do spend time trying to separate themselves from that character, but later find that very role worth embracing again. Mara has done that, and carved her own niche as a writer, comedian, and surprised me with an appearance on The Nostalgia Critic. That had been the first time I’d seen her in years, and it was nice to see her.
Her story is one of honesty – she hated the profession that made her a known face, so she abandoned it as she grew up. She was a celebrity, so she was involved in celebrity things, but also lived as a normal person. Her stories are of show choir, college, and navigating a world where you’re always going to be the character who made you famous. But she (thankfully) embraces it.
Mara’s writing style is humorous and engaging. She’s human like the rest of us, and it is refreshing to know her story. She didn’t come out of fame screwed up (it is clear her family wouldn’t have entertained that happening), and it turns out, she is still an entertainer on a different level.
I liked her then (as Matilda, of course), and I love her now. I love her writing style and her honesty. I’m also glad she grew up well and has been able to recapture the audience who loved her then on a whole other level. This is a great read, and I highly recommend it! 🙂
Great job, Mara!