kylajaclyn's Reviews > Melissa Explains It All: Tales from My Abnormally Normal Life

Melissa Explains It All by Melissa Joan Hart
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did not like it

So my gripe is not the common one with this book. Most have said that her subtitle is misleading with all the names she drops and the mostly lavish life she lives. But I had a teacher that said that the very fact that we have things like "Stars- They're Just Like US!" proves how NOT like us they are (since we have to emphasize it). So, no, I didn't expect to read about Melissa being quote unquote "normal." What I did hope to read was a relatable book by a 90s star who did not get eaten by fame. I never watched all of Clarissa, and Sabrina was always too over-the-top for me (also, a pox on that show for beating Boy Meets World in the ratings), but, nevertheless, they were present in my childhood. After watching a lot of Sabrina and a few interviews with Melissa, I just felt like she was a nice, relatable person. I figured this would be a fun, breezy read. Well, don't meet your heroes, indeed (though she is not that for me at all, but you get my point). Melissa Joan Hart is not a nice person. And if she really is a nice person but was putting on an act for this book, then she's a fake person, and that's even worse. I'm not sure where to begin with the multitude of sins this book racks up.

The most obvious theme throughout the book is, sadly, how bitter Melissa is at not being more famous. I think all of her name-dropping is not an attempt to seem cool and less C-list but, instead, an attempt to show us that she is better than these people. This is because she insults almost all of the celebrities that she mentions. She completely reams Drew Barrymore for calling her (Melissa's) mom a bitch, even though Drew was only 10 and in a very troubled period in her life. The clincher? Melissa says, "I'm sure she'd take it back now if she could." Ouch. Ironically, I would say actually that Drew is the most normal celebrity I can think of now. She has two beautiful daughters, she has a normal body, and she found the love of her life. Also, she's fucking nice. Like genuinely. Melissa isn't. At all.

It really bothered me when she dissed Lizzie McGuire, citing that show as an example of someone wearing "a full face of makeup, hair extensions, and daring clothes." Okay, when did Lizzie EVER wear a full face of makeup? She looked normal. And I don't think Hilary had hair extensions at the time, though she and Miranda wore funky hairstyles. And Lizzie's clothes were as mismatched and crazy as Clarissa's! But they were never inappropriate for a 12 year old. Good lord. Has she even seen the show? She also dissed Wizards and Hannah Montana, so I'm guessing this was also meant to be a dig at how Disney portrays girls. Ugh.

Melissa's relationship with her mom is most troubling. She praises and praises her (after all, she is her momager), but the behavior she talks about sounds very controlling and disturbing. When Melissa went to auditions as a child and afterwards if she told her mom that she didn't think she got the part, Melissa's mom would immediately start screeching and telling her that they were done, that they would never go on another audition. Mrs. Hart also had serious problems with Melissa getting married. Instead of wishing for her daughter's happiness, she got majorly bitter that she was no longer the center of her child's life. Not a stage mom my ass.

Speaking of controlling, this is a word that also defines Melissa. Look, I'm super type A as well. But I try to portray the good side of that and acknowledge how annoying I can be. Melissa never really does this. She just gets pissed when she cannot control every aspect of life. Even things that should happen to a person naturally (like losing one's virginity) Melissa planned to a tee. This controlling nature leads to her fighting with her husband over things like ketchup. Yes, ketchup. One likes it room temp, the other likes it cold, but instead of coming immediately to the conclusion of having two separate bottles of ketchup, they fight about it until Mark locks Melissa out of the house. She also seems baffled that she has to give up so much of her husband to football but it's like... how did you not know the man you were marrying? If your interests are so disparate, why stay together? Good grief.

Horrifyingly, she makes a dig on Farrah Fawcett that is overheard when she says that the reason she was chosen for a story in People is because Farrah hadn't died that week. She has absolutely no tact or class whatsoever (Melissa, not Farrah).

The most horrific story for me was one she shared at the end about parenting. She couldn't get her son Mason to potty train, so she cut a hole in his diaper so that his poop would fall into the potty and he'd believe his feces was too strong for a diaper and thus quit wearing one. But instead of falling into his toilet, it fell onto the floor before he could make it to the toilet, and he ran around in his own poop, terrified about what had happened while Melissa stood by and laughed hysterically, wishing she had recorded the whole thing. It takes too much energy to hate celebrities, but boy did I come close when I read this.

One last thing: Dearest Melissa, the casts of Breaking Bad, Pretty Little Liars, Full House, The Wonder Years, Degrassi, Boy Meets World, The Golden Girls, et. al. all disagree with your statement that casts aren't close outside a TV show. The public isn't disappointed by your insight that casts generally don't grow close, because it simply isn't true. All the ones I listed and many more are thick as thieves, even years later. If you're not close with your cast then it's you, honey, not them.
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Reading Progress

July 27, 2015 – Started Reading
July 27, 2015 – Shelved
July 28, 2015 –
page 65
August 1, 2015 –
page 113
40.94% "Melissa does indeed explain everything except why she's such a bitch."
August 3, 2015 –
page 165
August 5, 2015 –
page 203
August 5, 2015 –
page 203
73.55% "She is just the worst. The very worst. Ughhhh."
August 6, 2015 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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Stephen O'brien Wow, that was some comment, haha. But, I agree with you I always thought she'd be a nice person in real life...wrong! And most of the book just bored me to tears. I really enjoyed reading your comment, well said.

Jenny Kruschke I also thought it was weird that she said casts don't stay close in real life. Certainly actors jobs keep them moving and busy, but while listening to that I thought of the casts of some of my favorite shows, like Gilmore Girls, Parenthood, Friends, One Tree Hill, Scrubs, Full House... I think it's just that no one wanted to stay friends with HER.

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