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Book Review: Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick

Touchstone
Book: Scrappy Little Nobody
Author: Anna Kendrick
Genre: Nonfiction
Subgenres: Memoir, short stories, humor

My Review and Thoughts: Oh, Anna Kendrick. Girl crush of so many girls, actual crush to pretty much all of the male population. You are funny, real, awkward but honest about it, and talented as hell. Stage actress, screen actress, and a talented singer to boot. Is there anything you can't do?

Well, we can't add "write a book" to the minuscule list of things you can't do now, can we? Dammit, Kendrick, why are you so relatable and real??

I was actually maybe-kinda-sort-of hoping that her book would be mediocre. I mean she's hilarious on Twitter and just plain ol' charming whenever I see her interviewed on talk shows or even at press junkets. She can't do it at all, right? But nope, Scrappy Little Nobody reads like Anna is literally your best friend, divulging all of her funny yet meaningful and wildly entertaining stories to you as you're both sitting in your living room couch drinking coffee (or maybe something with alcohol in it. I don't judge, and neither does Anna, I'm sure). And now I'm kicking myself for ever doubting Anna Kendrick in the first place. That'll show me!

Anna begins the book with the meaning of Scrappy Little Nobody, a reference to her small stature (even as a young child), her tenacity, and the fact that she works hard, but never quite believes she'll ever be that celebrity status figure; which she actually is now, but as she explains, it's all a matter of perspective. From her start as a girl who learned she had a desire to sing and act, her amazingly supportive parents (and then later her brother, who must be as hilarious and likable as she is, since apparently she stole her sense of humor from him!) took her on numerous trips from her home-state in Maine, and into New York City, to audition for commercials and plays, her trademark humor and realism showed, even in her young life. (Her descriptions of the child actors and their parents were hilarious AND terrifying) From there, she tells us amusing and hilarious stories about her younger days in school (elementary, junior high, and high school), ups and downs with friends, and boys (more like about her equal parts liking and fearing boys, which I totally get and still kind of am like now. Anna's a literal spirit animal, I tell ya!). Anna's eventual move to Los Angeles after high school to start her movie acting career is where her adventures get even more funny and crazy as she tries to settle in LA (without a car at first!), make friends, have relationships (ugh, boys, right?), and audition for movies.

Along with stories about her childhood stint on Broadway in High Society, Anna also includes tidbits about her breakout role in the indie movie Camp (where her nonunion film really felt like a camp while filming and the cast got to crash the Sundance Film Festival when the film was nominated), her roles in the Twilight movies (Pro: literally only working for a week or two on each film, plus she got to avoid all of the fan hysteria that was focused on the main cast; Con: filming in the cold), Up in the Air (yeah, she hung out with George Clooney. Your point?) and Pitch Perfect (and Pitch Perfect 2. You may have heard of those little movies). She went from pretty much picking out (and buying!) her own clothes and doing her own makeup without a stylist to go to premieres or award shows, to, as her career blew up, having a whole team of stylists, makeup artists, and hair stylists working on her dress, hair, makeup, shoes, jewelry (!!!) for award shows (like the Oscars, where she performed with Neil. Patrick. Harris!!). She also devotes a whole chapter, which I so thoroughly enjoyed, to theoretical parties she could throw if she had, you know, the time, energy, and the parking space for all of her party guests (same, girl. Same). And also how Zac Efron is literally a god (can't argue with that).

But as famous as Anna gets, one of the major themes throughout her book is her social awkwardness: never knowing quite what to say or even just saying something than immediately start questioning in your head why you ever said that, or even worse, realizing what you said hours or days later and then just obsess over that interaction for years to come (I mean, been there, done that). That fact that she's so upfront about her own social awkwardness, her doubts about herself, her normal life and her "famous" life, is incredibly refreshing and quite frankly incredibly brave in her honesty. In everyone else's eyes, she has it all, she's famous, she's an award nominated actress, but she's still just Anna, flaws and all. But she knowingly acknowledges it and twists it in her favor, adding humorous commentary to her socially awkward interactions and thoughts, which makes it an amusing quip to us, but it must be a cathartic expression of acceptance and self-awareness for her. She's taking control of something that could deeply and negatively impact her life and instead is owning it and therefore empowering herself and others who may be thinking those same worrying thoughts. If she wasn't endearing already, I think her endearing levels went through the roof.

So basically, Anna Kendrick is talented, funny, witty, smart, honest, tenacious, hard-working, sometimes brassy, swears a bit, a bit awkward and just plain old awesome. If you don't want her to be your BFF, I think you're lying to yourself and everyone else. Anna Kendrick is all of us, and everything we should aspire to be in terms of accepting and being honest with yourself. You'll finish the book with a big smile on your face, from her frank, genuine, and just freaking funny stories and feel like you're less alone in the world and have gained a super cool new best friend.

Should You Read It: Yes! I seriously think every young teen girl, or young woman should read this book. Anna's writing style really does feel like she's talking to you, her brand new friend, as she almost reassures you that you're not alone in your socially awkward or silly ways, she understands, she GETS YOU. Plus the book is super stupid funny. Like, ridiculously funny. Have I said that enough? ANNA KENDRICK'S BOOK IS SO FUNNY AND HILARIOUS AND WITTY AND SMART THAT YOU SHOULD GO READ IT RIGHT NOW. Did I finally get the message across yet? 😉

Stay Weird,
Emily

Where to Buy:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Or, check out a copy from your local library!

Goodreads:
Scrappy Little Nobody

Check Out the Author (and singer and actress aka the jack of all trades that is Anna Kendrick):
Twitter

Library Books Haul! Vol. 2


It's that time again! Time for me to do a library books haul! Is there a better feeling than walking out of the library with a stack of books you're just dying to dive into? I'm pretty sure there isn't. Oh, well, maybe sitting down in a comfy chair to read one of said books and then your furry pet (preferably a cat) jumps on your lap and purrs away as you start to read. Now that is the better and perfect feeling! But I digress. Here are the books I brought home for my library haul and what I thought of them. Enjoy, fellow bookworms!

Follow You Home by Mark Edwards

Thomas & Mercer
Read or Returned? Read

My Thoughts: A young couple decide to travel across Europe before they make the big decision to settle down (aka get married, start a family) and while on a train in Romania, their passports, IDs, tickets, and credit cards are stolen and they are thrown off the train in the middle of a giant forest, without a way to call for help. And on their walk to find help, they encounter and experience something so horrible, that they refuse to ever speak of it ever again. But when the couple finally arrives back home in London, they find that they can't move on and forget the terrifying events they saw. The knowledge of their actions (or lack there of) drive them to intense feelings of paranoia and insomnia and soon makes their relationship splinter and fall apart. They can't seem to escape the memories and the overbearing presence of something that may have followed them home from the trip. Something or someone sinister and wanting revenge.

I had no idea going into the book or what exactly the story was and I'm very glad that I didn't. Follow You Home was definitely 100% a thriller, but with a slight supernatural undertone. I genuinely didn't know where the story was going, and every character in the book was relatable, even when they were at their worst. I can usually see a thriller's twist coming from a million miles away but the twist in Follow You Home was actually pretty original and I didn't see it coming at all. And the ending was equal parts simple and yet oh so chilling. I finished the book in less than two days, I was so enraptured in the book. If you love thrillers with an original story-line and a bit sick and twisted, this is the book for you.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stolen passports taken on a train in the middle of nowhere forest of Romania (read the book, it'll make sense)


Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, & Growing Up by Naya Rivera

TarcherPerigee
Read or Returned? Read

My Thoughts: Not going to lie, I love me a good celebrity tell all! Naya Rivera, who most famously portrayed Santana on Glee, was a child star from a young age and so has been in the business for a very long time. In her memoir, she talks about her work ethic from working as an actress, awkward teenage years, dating, and how getting a boob job changed her life (well, I would hope so!). While her journey to where she is now is very interesting (there are obviously highs and lows in the world of acting and life in general), it was the dirt and gossip that I really wanted to read. Naya gets honest about the supposed feud about her former Glee costar Lea Michele and what really went down about her engagement (then very public breakup) with Big Sean (with an Ariana Grande cameo, which I'm sure Ariana did not appreciate), all of which I thoroughly enjoyed (what can I say, I love celebrity gossip!).

Was it the best book ever? No. (Pretty sure she used a ghostwriter to help her write it. But what celebrity doesn't use a ghostwriter?) But was it fun to read and did it have surprisingly moving moments in it that actually made my heart swell a bit and feel for her? (Mostly her memories and thoughts about Cory Monteith's passing; and the abortion she had during the filming of Glee and her process to finally accepting it and moving on)? Definitely. If you're in the mood for an easy celebrity memoir and don't mind the tell all aspect of it, you're in for an enjoyable read.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 boob jobs (that's a lot of boob jobs, right? Like, that's not a normal amount?)


Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

Penguin Press
Read or Returned? Tried to read, but ended up returning

My Thoughts: Okay, okay, hear me out first! I love Aziz Ansari. He's hilarious and so smart. I loved him on Parks & Recreation and pretty much everything I've seen him in. So I was very excited to find out that he wrote a book all about modern dating, because hello! I'm a modern dater (more like chronically single, but whatever). What I thought would be a book about his humorous experiences dating in this digital and iPhone obsessed world, was actually more of a sociological research book about different facets of modern dating. Aziz wondered why it was so difficult to find love in this day and age, when we have so many options to find a soulmate or partner. How come our parents or grandparents found love at 18 or 21, but us millennials are waiting till we're in our 30's to settle down? Aziz and sociologist Eric Klinenberg drew up these questions and began a massive research project where they interview people and couples from all over the world and of different ages, about their views on love and dating and how technology in this modern world affects the quest to find love.

While the book was so well-written, fascinating, and funny as hell (as only Aziz can make a research project sound), I honestly just wasn't in the mood for nonfiction. I know that sounds terrible, because the book sounded genius and ground-breaking, but what I was craving at the moment was just another genre of book. So I started the book, but switched to something else. Sorry, Aziz! It wasn't the writing or subject matter. It just wasn't what I was expecting. Maybe when I'm in the mood for nonfiction I'll read Modern Romance and then after I'm done kick myself for not having read it in the first place when I initially got it from the library. Which is probably an accurate description of the future. 😉

My Rating: I can't rate it since I didn't read it. Sorry! But it seemed like it was well-written and humorous!


Bridget Jones's Baby: The Diaries by Helen Fielding

Knopf Publishing Group
Read or Returned? Read

My Thoughts: Does absolutely loving the Bridget Jones's Diaries books make you a stereotypical girl? If so, then sign me up and hand over some Uggs boots to wear and a pumpkin spice latte to drink, cause I guess that makes me a stereotypical girl! (Actually, I hate Uggs and I despise coffee, no matter what kind of seasonal flavor it's infused with. Give me a pair of flats and hot chocolate any old day) I was thrilled to know that there was a nice Bridget Jones book out, and even more thrilled that there was a big difference between the book and the movie version: Daniel Cleaver (played by Hugh Grant in the movies) was one of the potential fathers, not Patrick Dempsey (no offense to McDreamy, but you can tell they wrote him in since Hugh Grant decided not to be in the movie). AND it was a prequel to Mad About the Boy because- SPOILER ALERT!- in MATB, they kill off Mark Darcy so Bridget can start dating in the age of texting and Twitter. I had major issues in MATB, despite it being good, the major one being that they offed Mark, as if he was so perfect that they had to get rid of him so his and Bridget's relationship wouldn't be marred with anything bad and we wouldn't see him as a flawed character or human being. But I digress.

Since the book is a prequel, Mark and Bridget aren't in the beginning, and after two separate nights, Bridget sleeps with Mark AND Daniel (bitter enemies, if you remember) and oops! Bridget ends up pregnant. But with who's baby? The book is short but sweet, compiled as a series of diary entries for Bridget's first child as a way of explaining how he came to be. I read it in an evening and it put a big smile on my face. Sure, it was a light, chick-lit read, but sometimes that's what you need. Two potential baby daddies, a pregnancy, funny supporting characters, and Bridget's brilliant awkwardness and humorous insights on the world, and you've got yourself a winner. (At least in my eyes!)

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Bridget Jones awkward moments


In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

Harvill Secker
Read or Returned? Read

My Thoughts: I was first introduced to Ruth Ware this year when I read The Woman in Cabin 10, which was being hailed as the next Gone Girl, so obviously I had to read it (I'm a sucker for anything that's on the book charts and popular at the moment. If everyone else is reading it, I feel like I have to join in too!). I enjoyed it, but when I heard about her first book In a Dark, Dark Wood, I was way more interested in this story. A twenty-something year old who hasn't heard from her best friend in ten years, gets an invite to her former BFF's bachelorette party (actually, hen night, since it's set in the UK). And then a MURDER happens?? Now you have my attention! I read it in less than two days, I was so riveted by it. The writing was excellent, the characters had depth (well, some of the them) and were interesting to observe as you try to deduce if they're guilty of said crime and what their motive might be. And, of course, there are secrets waiting to be uncovered.

As with most thrillers, the less I say about it, the better, because you want to go in without bias or expectations (well, that's how I like to go in to them) and trust me, you won't be disappointed. Sure thrillers can get a little convulated with the twists at the end, but In a Dark, Dark Wood was a hell of good time- for the reader, not the hen night party goers. For them it was just plain hell. Because who pulls a gun at a bachelorette party??

My Rating: 4 out of 5 bachelorette/hen nights from you-know-where (and you thought going to weddings were bad!)


What did you guys think of my second volume of my Library Books Haul? Have you read any of the books I checked out? What book (or books) are you reading now? Let me know!

Stay Weird,
Emily