Being a fan of Anna Kendrick, I knew I wanted to read her book Scrappy Little Nobody when she announced it. I enjoy her work (Pitch Perfect, Into the Woods, etc.) and find her hilarious on Twitter so I had a feeling I’d enjoy reading about her life.
As I predicted, I really enjoyed this book. I find memoirs and autobiographical essays really fun and quick reads because you’re getting personal stories and insight into a person you already like or admire. Plus, these books don’t tend to be too long so they’re nice to just read for fun.
Anna wrote various stories from her life ranging from her childhood in Maine and riding the bus to New York City (a 6 hour trip!) for auditions and riding the bus home the same day when just a kid, working on Broadway as a kid, to stories about moving to LA and living in a small apartment and pinching her pennies. It was refreshingly real and was a really interesting read. I’ve read other memoir/autobiographical essay collections before and while I don’t think I’ve ever read one where the person says that everything came easy for them and their career took off immediately, Anna brought even more perspective to the rise of her career. The perfect example of this is her story about being nominated for an Oscar for Up in the Air. She was doing loads of press and traveling all over the world promoting the film and then to be nominated for an Oscar so early in her movie career was both a dream and overwhelming. What many, including me now that I thought about it while reading, mistakenly believe is that when a star’s career takes off and they’re getting a lot of attention both commercially and critically, you think “wow they’ve made it, she must be able to afford a really nice place now and making a nice paycheck.” But in reality, she went home from that first Oscars, back to her small apartment with roommates with stains on the carpet from a mishap that occurred shortly after moving in (detailed in the book). She said she might’ve been nominated for an Oscar, but she still didn’t have much money. I guess that’s something we don’t really think about. Sure, she was nominated, but her movie career was still really young so it’s not like she was getting paid a lot (in relation to other actors).
I fond myself relating to a lot of her stories and more than just because we’re both petite, but some of her thoughts and views as well.
Here are some thoughts I had while reading her book:
- Anna has a chapter where she talks about being a square – always one to be good because – is there another option? I thought to myself “I’m a square too!” But then she talks about dabbling in smoking pot and things like that which I don’t do and I thought “Omg, does that make me a bigger square??”
“I happen to love rules. I love having a plan. I love a film set that’s run like a well-oiled machine. I thrive in structure; I drown in chaos. I love rules and I love following them. Unless that rule is stupid.”
- She writes a section all about the fashion at awards shows. I already knew that most dresses and jewelry are all on loan from designers and jewelers, but I guess I never really thought about it. Like it didn’t register in my brain that that means other people will wear it after you or have worn it before you.
“When you think about it, all these celebrities are borrowing shoes that have been worn by someone else before them. Like bowling shoes. So the joke’s on us.” That definitely makes the whole thing seem less glamorous!
- Another award show fashion story she put in her book was about trying to make sure your dress is wrinkle/crease free by the time you step onto the red carpet. She hilariously details what it’s like having to basically lie down in the back of the car so as to not ruin your dress for your arrival. This is so funny and realistic to me because I know exactly what she’s talking about. That’s why I try to always take my blog outfit pictures immediately after putting them on because I don’t want to sit around and have my outfit get wrinkled!
“A stylist will have steamed my dress to smooth, buttery perfection, and there’s nothing like a long car ride to give you a nice erratic patch of creases just above your crotch, so you brace yourself like a corpse in a diagonal position on your seat. You must not bend at the waist!”
- Anna has a chapter where she talks about her imaginary parties at her house. Basically what she envisions the party to be like if she ever did host the party. When she talks about New Year’s it was so spot on with my own belief about how over-hyped the holiday is and while it’s fun to go out to a fancy party, part of me would much rather be at home in pajamas watching the countdown. She talks about a pajama and slipper party with boardgames, food, and Netflix. Sounds like a great night to me!
“I don’t know what we’ll do at midnight, because there will be no countdown. And if you’re cool with me falling asleep mid-party, you can stay as long as you want.”
- When she talks about her imaginary Thanksgiving party, she talks about how a few hours after sundown it’s basically Christmas season (totally with that) and it’s time for the first Harry Potter marathon (totally with that too!)
- Finally, one last thing I related to her on was her feeling of anxiety and fear. There are so many things you want to do and you think you should do to make yourself a better person or lead a more fulfilling life, but you get anxious or get overwhelmed with the thought of it so you put it off. So instead you tell yourself you’ll do it this summer or next year or whatever. I can definitely relate to this because I do this often! It’s definitely something I’m trying to work on and it’s comforting to know that someone successful and famous like Anna Kendrick can be having the same issues as me.
Overall, I really enjoyed the book and I love how honest she was about everything. Truly. She told stories she felt comfortable enough to share and if she shared them she really didn’t (at least it didn’t seem like she did) hold back. Whether the truth was ugly or embarrassing she told it like it is/was and I respect her for that. It makes her so relatable and real and not just some perfect Hollywood star.