Monday, October 16, 2017

Scrappy Little Nobody - Anna Kendrick

Summary: A collection of humorous autobiographical essays by the Academy Award-nominated actress and star of Pitch Perfect, Twilight, Up in the Air, Into the Woods and Trolls. Even before she made a name for herself on the silver screen, Anna Kendrick was unusually small, weird, defiant, and '10 per cent weird'. When she was thirteen, a classmate dropped by her house unexpectedly and discovered written evidence of Anna's social ineptitude. From then on she decided to 'keep the crazy inside my head where it belonged. Forever. But here's the thing about crazy: It. Wants. Out.'

 In Scrappy Little Nobody, she invites her readers inside her brain, sharing extraordinary and charmingly ordinary stories with candour and winningly wry observations. With her razor-sharp wit, Anna recounts the absurdities she's experienced on her way to and from the heart of pop culture as only she can - from her unusual path to the performing arts (her older brother's affinity for Vanilla Ice may have inadvertently launched her career) to her double life as a middle-school student who also starred on Broadway to her initial 'dating experiments' (including only liking boys who didn't like her back) to the perils of reading The Shining while filming Twilight in the isolated Canadian wilderness to reviewing a binder full of butt doubles to her struggle to live like an adult woman instead of a perpetual 'man-child'. Enter Anna's world and follow her rise from 'scrappy little nobody' to someone who dazzles on the stage, the screen, and now the page - with an electric, singular voice, at once familiar and surprising, sharp and sweet, funny and serious (well, not that serious).  (Summary from
*SIDENOTE* After the birth of my fourth child, something peculiar happened to my reading habits.  They hit a brick wall.  Full stop.  As of right now, if I try to read during the day, my kids invariably need something every five seconds until I give up and decide to try again after everyone is in bed.  When that blessed hour arrives, I usually grab my book eagerly, park my butt on the couch, crack it open...and am asleep within seconds. In recent days, I've turned to audio books to squeeze in something that at least approximates reading.  It's going okay.

My Review:  Scrappy Little Nobody is the perfect audio book for the Anna Kendrick fan, in large part because it is read by one of the funniest people in Hollywood -- Anna Kendrick.   I haven't watched Anna's entire body of work, but I am a fan of her talent and I've loved her in everything I've seen her in (Twilight, Into the Woods, The Last 5 Years, Pitch Perfect, and Trolls (voice)).I loved listening to her read.  No one else could project her particular brand of snark, self-deprecation, and dead-pan delivery with any amount of success. She nailed it.  Anna gives a delightfully honest, witty, and down-to-earth perspective on how she made it in Hollywood -- from her childhood on the stage, horrifying auditions, loneliness, paparazzi, and awkward kissing scenes, to relationships, award shows, intimacy, and an inside look at her experiences on the set of shows like Twilight, CampInto the WoodsPitch Perfect, Up in the Air, and stage productions like High Society.  

Even though the author and I don't necessarily see eye to eye on certain moral issues and it was a bit rather inordinately salty in the language department, taken as a whole, I thought Scrappy Little Nobody was a laugh riot and insanely insightful.  Sometimes Hollywood starlettes tend to come across as superhuman Glamazons, but this book wasn't that at all.  I loved when Anna got real and talked about her obsession with baking, how exhausting it was pretend to be someone you're not, or how broken she was after getting dumped.  I never would have imagined that when she was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in Up in the Air that she was sleeping on IKEA furniture, struggling to make ends meet and cover up the tar-stains on the middle of her living room carpet (her roommate did it). Anna also doled out bits of wisdom on the deeper issues women (and men) can face. She's pretty much always funny, but it was when she was encouraging those in abusive relationships to turn to their friends for help, ranting about society's double standards, or talking about the importance of not being a "nice" girl if being 'nice' means always doing whatever you're told, that I really felt her passion come through.

To be perfectly honest, I can't recommend this book to most people I know because most people I know would be completely turned off by all the swearing, but I would definitely recommend this to anyone who loves Anna Kendrick in all her glory.

My Rating:  3.5 Stars.

For the sensitive reader: Anna is adorable and I love her, but she doesn't shy away from swearing or talking about sex.   If you're sensitive to those sorts of things, this is probably not the book (or audiobook) for you.  

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