Title: Odd Woman Out
Author: Melanie Chartoff
Publisher: Books Fluent
Publish Date: February 2, 2021
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "From her 1950s
childhood in a suburb she describes as an "abusement park," to
performing Molière on Broadway, to voicing characters on the popular
"Rugrats" cartoon series, Melanie Chartoff was anxious "out of
character," preferring any imaginary world to her real one. Obsessed
with exploring her talent and mastering craft, fame came as a
destabilizing byproduct. Suppressing a spiritual breakdown while
co-starring on a late-night comedy show, Chartoff grew more estranged
from whoever she was meant to be. But given a private audience with a
guru, she finally heard her inner voice, played by '70s soul singer
Barry White, crooning, "Get out, baby!" All the while, she's courted by
men with homing pigeons and Priuses, idealized by guys who want the girl
du jour from TV to be their baby rearer or kidney donor.
Go backstage on Broadway, behind the scenes on network television, and inside the complicated psyche of a talented performer struggling to play the role of a complete human. Odd Woman Out intimately exposes the nature of identity in the life of a performing artist, snapshotting the hopeful search for a self Chartoff could love, and someone else's self to love, too."
My Two Cents:
"Odd Woman Out" is the memoir by Hollywood actress, Melanie Chartoff. As a kid of the 90s, I know her as the voice behind a couple of the characters on "Rugrats." She had a fascinating career before that in a world that was certainly not easy for actresses. She gives us a glimpse into both the gilded acting world as well as her personal life and background, including a difficult childhood. Candor, humor, and honesty are the hallmarks of this book.
This book is more of a series of vignettes from throughout Chartoff's life. The stories are often funny and also poignant. The beginning of the book starts with Chartoff going to search for a sex toy to cure some of the ills of menopause and ends up being spotted by paparazzi. She touches on her difficult childhood with an abusive father and a mother who shrinks back until she seemingly blends into the walls. She also has some really lovely stories like finding the love of her life late in her life. I loved how Chartoff was able to effortlessly blend the sweet with the sour with the sometimes laugh-out-loud funny throughout the book.
I really liked Chartoff's writing style throughout the book. This book definitely has range. She can be funny and also really serious. Her honesty and self-deprecation draw you in from the beginning and make you feel the full range of emotions represented in the story. This is a very solid collection of stories and would be perfect who welcomes crying as much as they do crying.