I did write a smaller blurb on this comedic memoir, but since this is a newer release, I wanted to write a full-length review in case some of you were on the fence about buying this book. Yes, it seems like almost every remotely funny actor/comedian these days is writing a book, so it can be hard to pick and choose which ones to read. I hope this review will give you insight on whether you should add Anna Kendrick’s memoir to your collection–or check it out from your library/borrow it from you friend and then never give it back because it’s too good.
In Scrappy Little Nobody, Kendrick begins her memoir with her childhood and how she was bit by the performing bug. We learn about her growing up in Portland, Maine, while traveling the six-hour commute to NYC to audition for various musicals, commercials, etc. She talks about her small stature, how that played a part in her personality as a kid, and some of her first gigs, which included Broadway musicals and indie films. She also talks about how she had numerous “fake it ’til you make it” moments when she was getting her first roles in Hollywood. And she makes it known that she still doesn’t “have it all together,” as evidenced by her chowing down on Easy Mac in her sweats and dimond jewelry after every awards show.
Kendrick’s memoir rocks because it’s so blunt and very uncensored. She gives humorous perspectives on personal experiences that, she wholly admits, does not always offer wisdom or moral-of-the-story conclusions. Her perspective seems fresh, especially when she reveals details such as her Twilight money being good to pay her rent. This down-to-earth actress nails having a conversational tone in her writing; similar to Lauren Graham’s novel, I felt like I was reading my best friend’s journal of sorts.
One of my favorite stories she tells involves her first encounter with paparazzi in IKEA. By intertwining her thoughts with conversation-based additions, her experience becomes palpable to the readers. I also like this part because she talks about how she learned to notice when random cars are following her or staking out her apartment, and when she does notice them, she knows it calls for a week of takeout and Netflix. AKA, she’s not leaving her apartment. Which sounds super hard, but I think if I didn’t have to go to work myself, I could probably manage staying inside my apartment for a while without going too crazy. So to end my ramble about this part, what I’m trying to say is–Anna, I feel you.
I also loved loved loved the section in which she explains how she doesn’t want to be considered “nice,” since there are numerous other words she would rather be described as, including passionate, brave, and intelligent. This is also a female-empowerment section because Kendrick is challenging young women to stand up for themselves, since, as Sondheim said (she quotes him), “Nice is different than good.”
I do wish the essays had a better flow to them. I think they were more so arranged by topic than by a timeline, which is fine, but the scattered sequence was distracting at times. It almost feels as if the writing is taking different tangents from one story or essay to the next, but not in an effective way if that makes any sense. I think Mindy Kaling’s book is a great example of how to arrange essays by topic without the narrative seeming too disjointed. Also, the chapter on pretend parties was confusing–I definitely skimmed that part.
To Read or Not to Read
If you love these kinds of comedic memoirs, then definitely pick up this book. I think Anna Kendrick fans will learn more about her beginnings and her struggles; this will probably benefit twenty-somethings the most.