Matthew McConaughey Reveals The One Major Criticism His Mom Has About His Book Detailing Family Issues

Matthew McConaughey in Serenity
(Image credit: (Aviron Pictures))

For almost a year now, Matthew McConaughey’s memoir Greenlights has been out and it remains a New York Times bestseller, along with currently ranking #2 on Amazon’s most read non-fiction chart, just behind Barack Obama’s A Promised Land. The book is based off the actor’s lifetime of journaling about his life experiences and goes between him telling crazy stories, dispelling applicable wisdoms and sharing some dysfunctions in his family life growing up. The latter element apparently rubbed his own mother the wrong way.

Matthew McConaughey details an intense childhood in Greenlights, especially between his parents Jim and Kay, who married each other three times and divorced twice in his lifetime. The book itself opens with his parents having a major fight before getting intimate right in front of a four-year-old McConaughey’s eyes. When speaking about the dynamic he shared about in the book, the Dazed and Confused actor said this:

Look, I didn’t include and my mom it’s what she didn’t like -- what she didn’t take well about the book was, she was like, ’All the stories are true about me and your dad and, yeah, my middle finger was broke four times from him doing that and I deserved every one of ’em. It’s how I needed to communicate. But you could have included more stories about how loving we were and how many times we were hugging it out.’ I go, ‘You’re right.’ And I didn’t. That was 98% of the time we were hugging it out.

As Matthew McConaughey explained, there’s a lot of drama and intensity revealed in Greenlights, but that doesn’t mean he was living in constant agony. His mother was bothered by the lack of positive moments he included in the book, but as he told Mayim Bialik on her show focused on mental health, there was a reason why he chose to focus on the things he did in the book. He continued:

I didn’t include those because for me, these stories I think -- that’s the best I can come up with -- why I choose to tell these stories as the love stories from my family, they were when the love was tested the most. You thought it was going to break down. We thought it was over. Objectively, you would think it was over. I never thought it was over when I watched the fight and mom pulled out the knife, I thought, ‘Here we go.’ It didn’t; they handled it. It was drama looking back at it, but at the time was I crying? No, no.

In other words, Matthew McConaughey’s life may not be as dramatic as the content of Greenlights when looking at a larger picture, but it was the most important memories and stories he felt he needed to tell in order to best record his story. At the time of his experiences, he didn’t think of it as traumatic, as it likely was for him as a child, but now he has some perspective on the events and how they shaped him as a person.

I think it’s fair to say many of our close family members might also have their own criticisms as well if we published our own memoirs. We all perceive life events differently, and what might have been an off-hand comment to one person could be the climax of a tense moment to another’s life story.

Following the success of Matthew McConaughey’s memoir, the actor has started a YouTube channel to share more of his personality and plans to release a journal with personalized prompts that goes hand in hand with Greenlights. The actor has been taking some time off from movies, but he will lend his voice to Sing 2, coming out on December 22.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.