Mean Baby: A Memoir of Growing Up by Selma Blair

By Selma Blair

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. 

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, devastating 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. 


"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

"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

“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. Whatever agility her body’s been robbed of hasn’t marred her dazzling ability to express it. She writes with a ribald irreverence as darkly funny as anything I’ve ever read. . . . 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 be 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

"If you thought you knew Selma Blair, think again.”  — Marie Claire

Selma Blair. Knopf, $30 (320p) ISBN 978-0525659495