Mara Wilson is a name synonymous for me with a lot of childhood memories. As the cute kid in ‘Mrs Doubtfire‘, she was adorable. Then came Matilda. One of my favorite stories ever was translated on screen and Mara was there, playing Matilda! Matilda released the year I was born-1996. I saw it much later, around 2003. Like most girls my age, I wanted to BE her. My seven year old self saw no greater joy than in getting to live Matilda’s adventures. Thus, Mara Wilson had contributed to two of my most favorite childhood movies and I considered her the luckiest girl ever.
So, imagine the flood of memories when I chanced upon this book among a selection of recommendations yesterday. I kept staring at the cover for long, and I could not believe I had forgotten about her (Blame adulthood and bad priorities.). A few hours later, I was done with the book and felt weary and uplifted, all at once. The book is a collection of Mara’s experiences in Hollywood and with the turn of very page, she sucks you in. One of the most celebrated child actors of her age and a very precocious kid, Mara found she had to deal with a lot of rejection as she grew up. Failed auditions were getting more frequent and it was not until much later that Mara realized the ‘cute kid’ was no more. Puberty had not been kind to her and she found Hollywood no longer had a place for her. OCD tendencies and panic attacks, which she had been experiencing since childhood, did not make things any better. Coupled with dealing with the loss of her mother at a very young age, Mara describes growing up with fears and insecurities abound.
It is a revealing tale of discovering yourself. Warm, funny and intensely nostalgic, Mara brings to life her experiences, the lessons she’s learnt along the way and talks about making peace with the world. My favorite part was, without a doubt, her letter to Matilda. Definitely a must-read.
Oh, after I was done with the book, I just HAD to take a trip down memory lane- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzJ7pFaEJfc
Mara Wilson also writes here- http://marawilsonwritesstuff.com/
Do take a look!