Selma Blair has played many roles: Ingenue in Cruel Intentions. Preppy ice queen in Legally Blonde. Muse to Karl Lagerfeld. Advocate for the multiple sclerosis community. But before all of that, Selma was known best as … a mean baby. In a memoir that is as wildly funny as it is emotionally shattering, Blair tells the captivating story of growing up and finding her truth.
"Blair is a rebel, an artist, and it turns out: a writer." —Glennon Doyle, Author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller Untamed and Founder of Together Rising
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.
SELMA BLAIR is an actress best known for her roles in Legally Blonde, Cruel Intentions, The Sweetest Thing, and Hellboy. Blair was named a Time Person of the Year in 2017 as one of their Silence Breakers, and she was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for her narration of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. She is the subject of the documentary Introducing, Selma Blair, which reveals Blair’s intimate and raw journey with multiple sclerosis. Blair lives with her son in Los Angeles.
“Selma Blair is not afraid to go there when it comes to sharing the ups and downs of her personal life — particularly in the wake of her 2018 Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis — but never before has she shared such shocking details from her past.”
—Kara Warner, People Magazine
“Selma Blair has written a book on survival. Mean Baby, the first book released by the actor, examines the often darker moments of her life. From being violated by an educator during her childhood to seeking refuge in the bottom of alcohol bottles by age 7 and experiencing physical pain that she now believes could have been early signs of MS, she reflects back on it all.”
—Alex Portée, The TODAY Show
"If you thought you knew Selma Blair, think again.”
"Selma Blair is one mean baby and one mean writer! Blair honestly writes about the uncertainty, messiness, joy, and weirdness of living in a ‘broken’ body. Disability is not always constant or known and Mean Baby depicts this reality with compassion and grace.”
—Alice Wong, editor of Disability Visibility
“Mean Baby, Selma Blair’s brilliant book, demands attention. It grabs you by the collar and says listen to all that I have to say: about love, pain, motherhood, illness, celebrity, and the tidal ferocity that pours through all our lives. Read it and be caught in the voice of one of our luminous stars.”
—Esmé Weijun Wang, best-selling author of The Collected Schizophrenias
“Selma Blair will take every expectation you have and shatter it with this beautiful book. It’s less about illness than it is an effluence of hope, just when you can’t imagine anyone having the spirit to summon it. If you’ve ever felt broken or lost, you’ll find yourself on the pages of this book and maybe see a way to the high road when the author writes, To have been so lucky. The rejects and outsiders have spoken, Selma, and we’ve elected you Queen.”
—Mary-Louise Parker, best-selling author of Dear Mr. You
“Mean Baby is straight-up terrific — bold, intimate, sassy, profound — and a vital reminder that the hectic glitter of the exterior rarely reflects the hard-earned wonder of the interior. So, while you might reach for Mean Baby because of the author’s celebrity, you’ll read into the night for her candor, eye for detail, and stunning prose. In an embarrassment of riches, Selma Blair is as talented a writer as she is an actress.”
—Adrienne Brodeur, best-selling author of Wild Game
"Mean Baby is a fascinating exploration about the power of prophecy, of labels, and of one woman's determination to defy them all. Blair is a rebel, an artist, and it turns out: a writer."
—Glennon Doyle, author of the #1 New York Times best-seller Untamed and Founder of Together Rising
“Actress Selma Blair always thought of herself as a sidekick or character actress, never a leading lady, but in this illuminating and authentic memoir, she takes center stage as the teller of her own story... The book's first and third parts, covering her childhood and her MS diagnosis (along with the birth of her son), respectively, are spellbinding… A compelling story… remarkably good writing.” -Booklist, starred