I have not checked in with my reading in awhile, even though I have covered four books between June and July. Per usual, the selections are all memoirs. The TLDR is that they were all fabulous books, for different reasons.
Mean Baby was one of the biggest memoir releases of the spring, maybe the year. However good it was, this will never be a comfort read that I revisit for humor and belly laughs a la Dave Holmes or Jill Kargman.
Selma Blair’s story felt as though it was constantly hurtling towards disaster. She has been through so much heavy stuff. I do not think this would affect me as much had I not read this through my relatively new lens as a mother. She does not leave us with a happy ending. Rather we get an open ending, which like Rachel Dratch (although hers is much lighter), is refreshing. Life does not end after concluding a memoir.
Judy Greer’s memoir was the light antidote to the dark narrative of Selma Blair.
I especially liked reading about her life in 1990s Chicago while she was attending theatre school. Other than that, I cannot remember much about it with the exception of the fact that her father worked for a car brand and got her a free Ford. But again, I Don’t Know Where You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-Star was the palette cleanser I needed to move on from the last haunting memoir.
While Chaos Theory: Finding Meaning in the Madness One Bad Decision at a Time is as dark as Mean Baby, Leah McSweeney’s candid take on her addictions are presented with levity. Her story reminded me a lot of Cat Marnell’s. (I believe they are friends IRL.) Like Selma Blair and Rachel Dratch, she does not indicate that the end of what is addressed in her memoir is concluded nicely and tied up in a bow.
I bought Ali in Wonderland and Other Tall Tales and Ali’s Well That Ends Well by Ali Wentworth after watching an appearance by the comedienne and actress on a late night talk show. I was immediately impressed by her sense of humor.
Ali (can I call her Ali?) was on Kimmel, or Colbert, or Fallon to promote Ali’s Well That Ends Well. She wrote the book during the pandemic. Being a celebrity memoir fanatic, I simply had to buy her book after cracking up at her self deprecating tone. Oh, but this was her second book? That just meant that I also needed to buy and read the first of Mrs. George Stephanopoulos. And on that note, it made her husband more likeable. (Not that he is unlikeable. I am just forever intimidated by how informed the GMA anchor is.)
Ali Wentworth spent her childhood on a residence on Embassy Row. This was one of the major roads that my daily Lyft took every morning to get roundtrip to my office. Her mother, though a registered Democrat, was so respected by both parties that she was employed as Nancy Reagan’s social secretary.
I loved reading about her experiences on the west coast: a failed manic engagement, throwing a party at a neighboring home that was for sale, any of her reasons for checking into the Four Seasons. Though I recall watching it back in the nineties, I did not recognize Ali Wentworth as a cast member on In Living Color, though she does not go deep into that.