About the Book:
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, devasting 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 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.
Lovely and tragic and ultimately really beautiful! I’m still struggling with how someone as enlightened as Selma Blair can speak so highly of Roger Kumble, who made a movie based on a book written by a known white supremacist. Nevertheless, Selma’s spirituality and to me innate kindness really shone through in this memoir.
Every memoir I’ve enjoyed focuses on one or two prevalent events or themes in the author’s life. For Selma, it was her relationship with her mother. A brilliant but very difficult woman, Selma still holds imaginary conversations in her head with her mother Molly, who passed away in 2020. Selma becomes the most emotional when discussing their fraught relationship, but with which it seems to me Selma has become at peace with.
All of the usual Hollywood stories are here, along with some brutal stories about sexual assault and alcoholism. Throughout it all, Selma adds her intelligence and wit. I can’t even imagine the physical and emotional toll narrating this book must have taken on her. She was and always will be one of my favorite actresses.
‘Mean Baby’ is one of the most enlightening and enjoyable memoirs I’ve listened to. Highly recommend the audiobook version!
“That’s life. It’ll blindside you, that thing you didn’t know about. Especially when it’s been there all along.”