Las Vegans may remember Melissa McCarty from her 2005-07 stint as a reporter and anchor on KTNV Channel 13. But viewers likely didn’t realize the anxiety that lay behind McCarty’s carefully modulated delivery, detailed in a recently released memoir.
News Girls Don’t Cry relates McCarty’s struggle to succeed in a hard-driving industry while contending with her bipolar, alcoholic brother and her own shame about her wild teenage years in the San Francisco Bay Area.
McCarty offers raw nuggets of wisdom, pain and beauty in a sometimes melodramatic and unevenly written book. Her chilling depiction of life with an addict, from a late-night suicide call to the social anxiety that grips her brother in the most mundane situations, will bring a pang of recognition from readers who have dealt with a relative’s mental illness.
Spicing her narrative with anecdotes of her romantic run-ins with Leonardo DiCaprio and an unnamed star athlete, McCarty teases out her central theme: Many of us, particularly professional women, construct psychological armor to hide our vulnerability. And sometimes, that keeps us from getting what we want.
As McCarty makes her way up the broadcast ladder from stints in Amarillo, Texas, and Grand Junction, Colorado, to Las Vegas and finally Los Angeles, she finds that the tough chola persona that kept her from getting jumped as a teenager doesn’t play well in the work world, and might be stunting her relationships.
While she eventually tires of “chasing ambulances” and transitions into entertainment TV, a hint of her social commitment comes through when she addresses post-traumatic stress among journalists who visit crime scenes day after day.
“Years of reporting one tragedy after another can forever change you if you’re not careful,” she writes. “It’s a balancing act to control your emotions. You want to empathize with a person’s heartache, but at the same time you can’t absorb too much grief from others lest you become desensitized.”