Review: Mean Baby by Selma Blair

Title: Mean Baby – A Memoir of Growing Up

Author: Selma Blair

Pages: 299 Pages

Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group

The Blurb

Selma Blair has played many archetypal roles: gullible ingenue in Cruel Intentions. Preppy ice queen in Legally Blonde. Fire-starter in Hellboy. Muse to Karl Lagerfeld. Face of Chanel. Cover model. Advocate for the multiple sclerosis community. But before all of that, Selma was known best for being one thing: a mean baby. In a memoir that is as wildly funny as it is emotionally shattering, Selma Blair tells the captivating story of growing up and finding her truth. 

The first story Selma Blair Beitner ever heard about herself is that she was a mean, mean baby. With her mouth pulled in a perpetual snarl and a head so furry it had to be rubbed to make way for her forehead, Selma spent years living up to her terrible reputation: biting her sisters, lying spontaneously, getting drunk from Passover wine at the age of seven, and behaving dramatically so that she would be the center of attention. 

Although Selma went on to become a celebrated Hollywood actress and model, she could never quite shake the periods of darkness that overtook her, the certainty that there was a great mystery at the heart of her life. She often felt like her arms might be on fire, a sensation not unlike electric shocks, and she secretly drank to escape. 

Over the course of this beautiful and, at times, shocking memoir, Selma lays bare her addiction to alcohol, her devotion to her brilliant and complicated mother, and the moments she flirted with death. There is brutal violence, passionate love, true friendship, the gift of motherhood and, finally, the simultaneous devastation and surprising salvation of a multiple sclerosis diagnosis. In a voice that is powerfully original, fiercely intelligent, and full of hard-won wisdom, Selma Blair’s Mean Baby is a deeply human memoir and a true literary achievement.

The Review

I have read a lot of autobiographies. I like the nosy insight into the lifestyles of the rich and famous. However, I am fully aware that the choices of what stories are included in these books are a mixture of the highlight reel of someone’s life and the carefully selected stories that paint the writer in the best light. Selma Blair appears to do the opposite. In her autobiography, Mean Baby, she points out every flaw that she has and she owns it. She talks about the strange and unusual things she did as a child and a young adult and she reflects on why she did these things (the main reason being ‘just because’) and she shows you her warts and all self. It is refreshing but also painful at times to watch her reveal herself as she slowly peels layers of her skin off to show the true Selma. Impressive but harsh.

I don’t think I have ever had such a visceral response to an autobiography but Selma Blair manages to have an impact.

Whilst the stories are difficult what is ultimately the saving grace of this hard story is seeing just how thankful Selma Blair is for the things that have happened to her and the people in her life that have helped her along the way.

Mean Baby is an autobiography that will stay with me for a long time.

Mean Baby – A Memoir of Growing Up by Selma Blair is available now.

For more information regarding Selma Blair (@SelmaBlair) please visit her Twitter Page.

For more information regarding Little, Brown Book Group (@LittleBrownUK) please visit www.littlebrown.co.uk.

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