Of course I loved Matilda — both the book and the film. I was that kind of child. I probably strained my eyes squinting and trying to do Matilda’s ‘Whammy’ on various objects. (Mostly books I wanted to come closer…) So as an adult, perhaps it’s not surprising that I looked up Mara Wilson and ended up following her twitter, despite her complex relationship with Matilda (covered, for example, in one of the chapters in this book, which is a letter to Matilda).
I did feel that while it was easy to read, it felt a bit scattered: it’s not chronological, so she discusses the death of her mother, then recounts events which happened before that, leaving me briefly confused. I feel like it lacked an overall structure somehow; without chronology, it needed something else unifying. But it was still compelling, especially reading about her fears and anxieties, the development of her OCD. (Our disorders’ acronyms might only share one letter, but GAD has a fair amount in common with OCD, and I definitely have tendencies of the latter too.) Her relationships with the people around her during filming and after were sweet too — her attachment to Danny DeVito, her reaction to Robin Williams’ death, and her mother’s close involvement with the early years of her career.
I read it all in one go, appreciating the frank and honest person I met here. Mara Wilson is fairly clear about portions of her life where she was pretentious, unpleasant, unwontedly angsty, etc. Her tone both accepts it as normal and gently scolds her younger self for that behaviour. I feel like I would quite like to sit down and have a quiet drink and a bun in a bookshop coffee area with her.