Matilda was one of my favorite movies when I was growing up. I remember asking my babysitter to bring it over every time she came to watch us, until my parents finally got the VHS for me for Christmas.

Where Am I Now? is a nonfiction book written by “that girl from Matilda,” known better as Mara Wilson. Now 29 years old, Mara recalls several memories from her days as a child actor and working with several famous figures, such as Robin Williams, Sally Field and Danny DeVito. The memoir also documents her family life, living in Burbank, California with her three older brothers and younger sister.

I love Mara’s writing style, particularly her references to certain characters and literary works. One such line “Just because Madeline has appendicitis, doesn’t mean that you will too.” (p. 117). I immediately knew what she was talking about, the Madeline books by Ludwig Bemelmans, one of my many childhood obsessions.

On a more serious note, she talks about her struggles with anxiety and OCD. I found this part of the book the most relatable, because I too have experienced the same sort of issues during my life. Her writing in these sections is raw and real, and I loved every word of it. I loved how honest she is in that despite having been an actor, she still experiences the setbacks that we all do: dealing with the death of a loved one, trying to find a job as a college graduate and more.

I also really admire how she made the decision at 13 to stop auditioning and focus on her education, attending high school and eventually graduating from New York University. She now lives in NYC and works at a nonprofit, but still keeps a blog and is active on Twitter. She also performs storytelling occasionally on podcasts and venues. She is a role model of someone who took control of their life and is doing what she wants to do. I look forward to reading more of her work.

 

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