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Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame

Mara Wilson


  • Paperback
    $23.99
ISBN: 9780143128229
Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame
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  • Paperback
    $23.99
ISBN: 9780143128229

Publisher Description

Mara Wilson has always felt a little young and a little out of place. As the only child on a film set full of adults, she started out with accidental fame and journeyed to relative (but happy) obscurity, learning a lot about growing up along the way. Her collection of essays illuminates a universal struggle: learning to accept yourself and figuring out where you belong. Exquisitely crafted, revelatory, and full of the crack comic timing that has made Wilson a sought-after storyteller and Twitter star, Where Am I Now introduces a witty, perceptive new voice.

Author Biography

Mara Wilson is a writer, playwright, actor and storyteller perhaps best known as the little girl from Mrs. Doubtfire, Miracle on 34th Street, and Matilda. A graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, she regularly appears at live storytelling and comedy shows, including her own, What Are You Afraid Of?. Her writing can be found on Jezebel, The Toast, McSweeney's, The Daily Beast, and Cracked.com, and on her blog, MaraWilsonWritesStuff.com. A voice actor on the podcast Welcome to Night Vale, she will guest star on upcoming episodes of Broad City and BoJack Horseman. She lives in New York City.

Review

"Wilson's humorous literary voice tells the story of growing up as a young female in the spotlight (and eventually stepping out of it) and the road of self-acceptance, discovery and everything in between." --BuzzFeed "[Wilson] returns as a talented writer with this collection of essays." --Entertainment Weekly, "15 Books You Have to Read in September"

"Funny [and] insightful." --GoodReads, "Best Books of the Month"

"Wilson has left the acting (almost) completely behind -- and moved on to become a talented writer and playwright." --Bustle,"12 Memoirs By Badass Women to Add To Your Wishlist in Fall 2016"

"Candid...witty and insightful. A-" --InTouch

"Contains engaging, poignant accounts of the actress-turned-storyteller's struggles to find her identity after losing her mother and Hollywood's adoration...Wilson covers difficult topics but can leaven a painful anecdote with incisive wit...When fans ask for a picture with her, she panics: 'I don't photograph well, and...they're going to put it on the Internet, where not everyone knows I'm funny and charming and generally a decent person.' And that's exactly how she comes across in this memoir." --ShelfAwareness

"Lyrical and affecting . . . humorous, relatable, and ultimately real. . . [Where Am I Now?] is more than just another Hollywood memoir; it is a truly refreshing coming-of-age story." --Library Journal

"A heartfelt portrait . . . [Mara Wilson] has experienced a great many highs as well as lows in her young life, and she shares them all with honesty, humor, and humility." --Publishers Weekly

"A coming-of-age story that is not only entertaining, but also wise. . . . A readably candid, sharp memoir." --Kirkus Reviews

"Uplifting...charming and accessible." --Booklist

"Refreshingly earnest...If Where Am I Now? and its biting wit and charming self-awareness is anything to go by, [Wilson is] very easily running in the same league as the Lena Dunhams, Rachel Blooms and Ilana Glazers of the world." --National Post (Canada)

"Growing up, I wanted to BE Mara Wilson. I always loved that she portrayed strong characters, especially as a female, even as a young child. Where Am I Now? is a delight." --Ilana Glazer, co-creator and star of Broad City

"Genuine and authentic, funny and heartbreaking, Where Am I Now? is a book that reminds you that no matter how unique your life is, some things bind us all together." --Jenny Lawson, author of Furiously Happy and Let's Pretend this Never Happened

"Former child star Mara Wilson has grown up to be a moving, funny, and thoughtful storyteller. Well, not up. As I understand it, she's still approximately the same height." --Megan Amram, author of Science...for Her!

"You don't have to be a fellow neurotic Jew who grew up in Southern California to adore this book. Though Mara Wilson's childhood was unique, the themes of Where Am I Now? are universal." --Rachel Bloom, creator and star of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Review Quote

"Wilson's humorous literary voice tells the story of growing up as a young female in the spotlight (and eventually stepping out of it) and the road of self-acceptance, discovery and everything in between." --BuzzFeed "[Wilson] returns as a talented writer with this collection of essays." -- Entertainment Weekly, "15 Books You Have to Read in September" "Funny [and] insightful." --GoodReads, "Best Books of the Month" "Wilson has left the acting (almost) completely behind -- and moved on to become a talented writer and playwright." --Bustle,"12 Memoirs By Badass Women to Add To Your Wishlist in Fall 2016" "Candid...witty and insightful. A-" -- InTouch "Contains engaging, poignant accounts of the actress-turned-storyteller's struggles to find her identity after losing her mother and Hollywood's adoration...Wilson covers difficult topics but can leaven a painful anecdote with incisive wit...When fans ask for a picture with her, she panics: 'I don't photograph well, and...they're going to put it on the Internet, where not everyone knows I'm funny and charming and generally a decent person.' And that's exactly how she comes across in this memoir." --ShelfAwareness "Lyrical and affecting . . . humorous, relatable, and ultimately real. . . [ Where Am I Now? ] is more than just another Hollywood memoir; it is a truly refreshing coming-of-age story." -- Library Journal "A heartfelt portrait . . . [Mara Wilson] has experienced a great many highs as well as lows in her young life, and she shares them all with honesty, humor, and humility." -- Publishers Weekly "A coming-of-age story that is not only entertaining, but also wise. . . . A readably candid, sharp memoir." -- Kirkus Reviews "Uplifting...charming and accessible." -- Booklist "Refreshingly earnest...If Where Am I Now? and its biting wit and charming self-awareness is anything to go by, [Wilson is] very easily running in the same league as the Lena Dunhams, Rachel Blooms and Ilana Glazers of the world." -- National Post (Canada) "Growing up, I wanted to BE Mara Wilson. I always loved that she portrayed strong characters, especially as a female, even as a young child. Where Am I Now? is a delight." --Ilana Glazer, co-creator and star of Broad City "Genuine and authentic, funny and heartbreaking, Where Am I Now? is a book that reminds you that no matter how unique your life is, some things bind us all together." --Jenny Lawson, author of Furiously Happy and Let's Pretend this Never Happened "Former child star Mara Wilson has grown up to be a moving, funny, and thoughtful storyteller. Well, not up . As I understand it, she's still approximately the same height." --Megan Amram, author of Science...for Her! "You don't have to be a fellow neurotic Jew who grew up in Southern California to adore this book. Though Mara Wilson's childhood was unique, the themes of Where Am I Now? are universal." --Rachel Bloom, creator and star of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Promotional "Headline"

Honest, insightful, and hilarious, Where Am I Now? introduces Mara Wilson as a brilliant new chronicler of the experience that is growing up female.

Excerpt from Book

The Junior Anti-Sex League My mother could not have picked a worse time to teach me about sex. One night, when I was five years old, she turned on the TV to a special about sex education. Kids my brother Danny''s age were holding bags of flour, calling them their "babies," and scrambling to find "babysitters" for them. "Why are they doing that?" I said. "They''re learning about babies, how to take care of them, and how they''re made," she said. "Oh." I knew the last part: they were made in their mothers'' bellies. I had seen my mother pregnant with my sister. But now the kids on the screen were in a classroom, and a teacher was talking to them about cells and body parts. "What''s she talking about?" I said. "She''s explaining sex to them." I had heard that word before. I knew it was a loaded term, something grown-ups only said in whispers. "What is that?" "It''s how you make a baby," she said, and went on to describe the most absurd, unappealing process I could imagine. She had always believed in telling children the truth, at least to the extent that they were capable of understanding. She was open about private parts and calling them by their real names. Her instincts about openness and honesty were right on, but still, I was horrified. "You did that?" I blurted out. She nodded, and with a sickening feeling I counted up myself, my brothers and sister, and realized she must have done it at least five times. "Any other questions?" I had only one more. "When you did it, did you say ''Whoa''?" My mother had the best of intentions. She made it clear this was not something to be discussed in polite company, that it needed to be kept a secret. But I had a tendency to blurt out secrets. I have always been compulsively honest, and usually at the wrong times. Five months earlier I had ruined my father''s birthday surprise party by asking, "You don''t know about our cakes, right?" Objectively speaking, sex seemed shockingly gross and ridiculous. But as the shock wore off, the world felt different. I could tell that sex was a Big Deal. It was something new and exciting, a secret grown-ups kept to themselves. Just knowing about it made me feel powerful. I had to tell someone. And I had a big scene on the set of Mrs. Doubtfire the next day. It was not my mother who had gotten me into acting. Not really. She was not a stage mother. But she was an actress: she had studied theater in college and never missed an opportunity to perform. My brothers and I went to Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School, and every year on Teddy Roosevelt''s birthday, Teddy himself would come by, in person. ". . . And I said, ''Don''t you dare shoot that bear!'' They made a little stuffed bear and named it after me, and that''s why we call them teddy bears today!" "Teddy" was only about five foot two, with D-cup breasts and a hat I had seen in my mother''s closet, but her performance was convincing enough to make some of the kids ask, "Is that really him? I thought he was dead." My mother disappeared into the role, morphing from a tiny woman into one of the most macho men who ever lived. We lived in Burbank, in Southern California''s San Fernando Valley, twenty minutes away from Hollywood. My mother always said of our hometown, "It''s as if someone picked up a small city in the Midwest and plopped it down in the middle of Los Angeles." Burbank tried its hardest to stay quaint, but it was also home to Warner Brothers, NBC, and Disney Studios. The tentacles of the entertainment industry reached into everyone''s lives. My father worked as an electronics engineer at CBS, NBC, and the local channel KTLA. Classmates came to school in cars with license plate frames reading part of the magic: walt disney company, and my brothers would borrow movie screeners from friends with well-connected parents when we didn''t want to wait for video. Given the omnipresence of the entertainment industry, getting into acting wasn''t an unusual thing for a Burbank kid to do. Children all over the world do ridiculous, borderline dangerous things, and no one around them questions it, because it''s ingrained in their culture. So it was with child acting in Southern California. When I was a toddler, the oldest and most outgoing of my siblings, Danny, started trying out for commercials. He was cute and a quick study, booking a few TV ads, and even some small parts in movies. Watching my mother and Danny rehearse, I had an epiphany. What they did was like when I performed my stories at home, only better, because people wanted to see you perform! Shortly after my fifth birthday, I went right up to my mother and told her, "Mommy, I want to do what Danny does." "No, you don''t," she said. They were already starting to feel burned out. She was relieved that Danny had never become recognizably famous, and that he didn''t want to be an actor when he grew up. He had been a confident, resilient kid, but the cycle of auditioning was getting to him. It would be worse with her anxious, oversensitive daughter. "How about this," she said when I kept asking to audition. "Your brothers and I are going to pretend to be the people at a commercial, okay? We''ll tell you what to do and then tell you if you got the part." As always, I took playing pretend very seriously. I "acted" the lines about cereal or Barbies as well as I could, but every time my mother would say, "You were great, but you didn''t get the part." And every time I would shrug. "That''s okay," I''d say. "I can just go on another one." For the first time in her life, my mother had no idea what to say. I would follow Danny''s example: get a few small roles, have fun with it, save some money for college, then give it up after a few years. I would never be famous. But after getting a few commercials, I was called in for a movie. "So what would you think if your dad dressed up like a woman?" a man asked me, along with a few other girls who were auditioning. The other girls looked at the ground, murmuring, "I guess it would be funny." I burst out laughing and said, "I would be on the floor!" I got called back. And then got called back again, and again. We were called to do a screen test in San Francisco, and before I knew it, I had the part. I was going to be in a movie. But just because I''d gotten the part didn''t mean I knew what I was doing. There was definitely a learning curve. For example, how was I supposed to know what to do if I had to go to the bathroom during the pool scene? (My mother and I eventually came up with a code so I wouldn''t end up peeing on the lovely and handsome Pierce Brosnan.) How was I supposed to know that asking some of the crew members to "clap for me" was inappropriate? Everyone clapped for me when I sang in the kindergarten holiday concert. Why couldn''t they do it here, too? My mother was, predictably, furious, pulling me aside and saying, "''Clap for me'' is not acceptable!" She and my father were determined not to let being in a movie go to my head. I always knew they loved me and they were proud, but they had to keep me grounded. If I said something like "I''m the greatest!" my mother would be right there to bring me back down to Earth. "You''re not the greatest," she said. "You''re just an actor. You''re just a kid." The day after the sex talk, we were shooting a scene where we helped Sally Field choose a dress to wear to her birthday party. Her ex-husband, Robin Williams, has been denied custody of their kids, and to spend more time with them, he answers her ad for a housekeeper and nanny. Robin, dressed in full drag as an eccentric Scottish nanny named Mrs. Doubtfire, was supposed to come in, ask about the party, and realize he had a major conflict. Lisa Jakub would say her line, then I would say mine. But I wasn''t focusing on the scene. I was bubbling with excitement, because I knew this thing, this big open secret, and I could not keep it in any longer. My mother had stressed that sex was something that happened only when you were married, so when Virginia, one of the hairdressers, came over to touch up my bangs, I impulsively asked her, "Are you married?" "Yes," she said. "Oh," I said. "So you''ve done it, right?" She looked surprised, then laughed, embarrassed. She didn''t answer, and I felt unsatisfied. As soon as she walked away I announced in a singsong voice, "I KNOW ABOUT SE-EX! I KNOW ABOUT SE-EX!" The whole crew was laughing, and I was giddy. They knew that I knew what they knew! I was triumphant, full of pure childish glee-until I saw my mother standing off to the side of the set. She was enraged. When my mother was angry, she was terrifying. She looked like Margaret Hamilton as the witch in The Wizard of Oz, or Emma Goldman''s mug shot. How many times had she lectured me about behaving properly on the set? How many times in our conversation had she stressed that this was not something to talk about in public? How had I forgotten both of these things? I immediately stopped singing, and with a sinking feeling I knew I had done something bad, and that I was going to be in deep trouble. Instantly, I felt humiliated, and worst of all, I knew I had brought it all on myself. I thought I might start crying. I wanted to apologize, tell my mother I would never do it again, anything to get that scary look off her face and rescue what was left of my pride. I watched as Robin, in full Doubtfire drag, walked up to Chris, the director. "Did you hear that Mara was as

Product Details

Author
Mara Wilson
Short Title
WHERE AM I NOW
Pages
272
Publisher
Penguin Books
Language
English
ISBN-10
0143128221
ISBN-13
9780143128229
Media
Book
Format
Paperback
Year
2016
Subtitle
True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame
Country of Publication
United States
Publication Date
2016-09-12
Illustrations
1 Illustrations, unspecified
Audience
General/Trade