“A captivating and heartfelt read, which was simply impossible to put down.”
Rating: 5 *****
Growing up, Matilda was my favourite film, and Mara Wilson was the brilliant actress that brought her character to life. I owned a complete collection of Roald Dahl books, yet Matilda had been the one I’d left unread. I’d already seen the film a million times, I’d thought. Why would I need to experience the same story in book form?
A few years ago, I heard about the publication of Mara Wilson’s memoir based book, and I knew that I had to have it. From the early days when I’d admired her as Matilda, to her inspirational use of the social media platform, Twitter, I’d grown to separate the character from the person who played her – and I’d came to the conclusion that they were both equally great.
So, after planning to read this book numerous times, I finally decided to pick it up for real last week, and instantly regretted having not done it sooner. From the short length, and subtitled sections of each chapter, to the addition of pictures throughout, it was my ideal kind of non-fiction read. It made me laugh, and all too often, tear up, but where Wilson balanced humour within her anecdotes, she also included plenty of raw emotions that made me reflect on her acting days in a different light. When I was younger, I’d watched Matilda, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Miracle on 34th Street, all the while thinking that Mara Wilson was the charismatic and talented kid who had it all. It never dawned on me that she had overcome so many hardships, including the death of her mother at such a young age, and somehow avoided being one of many child stars who rose to fame, and inevitably, fell at the hands of Hollywood.
In conclusion, part of me will always associate Mara Wilson with Matilda. I guess, from my childhood perspective, I’d always viewed them as one and the same. Yet, having now read this book, I also feel as if I know her more for the person she truly is, rather than the character lenses I’d seen her through. And if that’s not a testament to her written talent, I don’t know what is.