Selma Blair (Hachette Australia: Virago) 2022, 301pp, RRP $32.99 (paperback); $59.99 (hardback); $35.99 (audiobook)

Blair’s autobiography is warm yet harsh and related with a candour that could be disturbing for anyone who only knows her from 1999’s original Cruel Intentions.

Something of a star-character-actress, this author grew up in Michigan with three sisters and a troubled Mom she loved desperately, despite being thought of as a ‘mean baby’ due to her intense scowl. When she moved to LA in those golden ‘90s, she found fame of a sort and a party culture that did nothing to help her lifelong struggles with mental illness.

Selma thought that the pain she often felt – a pain that doctors typically refused to believe was real – was the result of drink and drugs, and she later found out was the beginnings of Multiple Sclerosis. And that’s a story similar to that of Australia’s Tim Ferguson during the height of Doug Anthony Allstars fame, who thought that the hangovers he was experiencing were unusually horrible until he, too, was finally diagnosed with MS.

There are plenty of show-bizzy tales here: how she snogged Sarah Michelle Gellar in Intentions; how Guillermo del Toro loved her darkness so much that he cast her as Hellboy’s girlfriend; or the time that Claire Danes advised her about acne treatment, or when she went out for a big night with Scarlett Johansson, or her long friendship with the late, great Carrie Fisher. But they eventually take a backseat to Selma’s description of dealing day-to-day with her illness, and how she hopes to keep on fighting.

Give it Hell, mean baby.

Dave Bradley

This title is available through the Hachette Australia website. Click HERE to purchase your copy.

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