Book Review: Scrappy Little Nobody
Published by Touchstone Books on January 1st 1970
Genres: Nonfiction, Autobiography
I went into Scrappy Little Nobody really hoping to love it because I am a big fan of Anna Kendrick’s. I think she’s a great actress and I also love her wry sense of humor in interviews and on social media. Overall, I have to say I liked it well enough, but didn’t love it. The book is structured as a collection of humorous autobiographical essays on a variety of random topics, ranging from her childhood days to her entry into show business, her early attempts at romantic relationships, attending award shows, and even a random essay about themed parties she would love to throw. It was all very random, quirky, and still somehow pretty insightful and therefore made for a fun read overall.
As I mentioned, I love Anna’s sense of humor so that was probably the biggest plus for me as I was reading. She is effortlessly humorous and each essay is filled with colorful anecdotes to show just how much of a “scrappy little nobody” she really is.
I especially enjoyed the stories from early on in her career, seeing how she got her start on Broadway while still in middle school, and then what it was like for her to move from the East Coast out to L.A. and into her first very modest apartment.
And of course, any mention of her films that I’m familiar with like Up in the Air, Into the Woods, and especially Pitch Perfect were highlights.
I also liked that even though the series of essays is seemingly quite random, they still move forward in a somewhat chronological manner – with a few detours – and show Anna figuring out how to live and function as a young, independent, professional woman even if she does she feel like a clueless kid.
My biggest issue with Scrappy Little Nobody was that I wanted a lot more behind-the-scenes looks at Anna’s most well known films, in particular, Pitch Perfect. While there were a few nuggets here and there, her more recent works seem to be largely ignored so that was a bummer for me.
I also had a few issues where I had difficulty gauging Anna’s tone. Is she being funny here since most of this is meant to be humorous, or is she trying to be more serious? I think my issue was because I was reading the print version of the book and for that reason I wish I had done the audio version instead. I think hearing Anna tell her stories and share her insights would have helped a lot because there would have been no guesswork as far as what’s meant to be funny and what’s meant to be taken more seriously.
One final issue I had was that sometimes it felt like Anna was trying a little too hard to prove that she’s just like us regular folks even though she’s a famous movie star. Most of the time I thought the stories about her being awkward and not knowing what to do were cute and relatable, but after a few of them, I got to the point where I was like “Okay, I get it. You’re awkward. Let’s move on to a new topic.” It’s probably not something that would bother too many people, but I tend to get irritated if I feel like someone’s hammering home a point too hard.
Even though I had a few issues with Scrappy Little Nobody, I still think it’s a solid and entertaining read overall. I think Anna Kendrick fans will certainly enjoy getting a little more insight into her personality. I definitely recommend trying to get the audio version if possible though. I think hearing Anna’s words will give you the most optimal reading experience.
RATING: 3 STARS
A collection of humorous autobiographical essays by the Academy Award-nominated actress and star of Up in the Air and Pitch Perfect.
Even before she made a name for herself on the silver screen starring in films like Pitch Perfect, Up in the Air, Twilight, and Into the Woods, Anna Kendrick was unusually small, weird, and “10 percent defiant.”
At the ripe age of thirteen, she had already resolved 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 readers inside her brain, sharing extraordinary and charmingly ordinary stories with candor 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 (Vanilla Ice and baggy neon pants may have played a role) 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 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 somebody 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).
I love Kendrick too, and my that is really the only reason why I want to read this book. She comes across as quite funny. I don’t read outside of fiction much (hardly ever), but I did check out one memoire this year (Bossypants) and I really enjoyed it. I think it was because Fey is a funny person, so maybe I would like this. Great review!
Sam@WLABB recently posted…Review: Changes in Latitudes – Jen Malone
From what everyone keeps telling me, the audio version of this book is a lot more entertaining than the print version so if you’re into audio, you might want to go that route to get the most enjoyable experience.
I had a lot of the same thoughts when I was reading this one. I like Anna, so I’m glad I got know more about her in her own words, but I too was looking for more behind-the-scenes stuff, what life is like on a movie set, that sort of thing. And I rarely find books funny, because I feel like I need to hear a tone of voice, so yeah, audio might be good on this one. But, I did feel she had some good things to say.
Yeah, I guess maybe I just went into this book expecting it to be something other than what it was meant to be, but it surprised me how little behind-the-scenes stuff was included.
The audio would have totally helped you with the tone for sure. I definitely got the trying to hard vibe at times. I still enjoyed it a lot though. Great review!
Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog recently posted…Make Me Read It Readathon Sign Up and Voting 2017
Yes, I really wish I had gone for the audio version. I still may go back and try it at some point just because I do like Anna so much.
I’m actually really curious about this one and Lauren Graham’s “Talking as Fast as I Can” and I think for both I’m holding out to get the audio versions – I just think it will present better that way.
I’m glad I’ll be going into this one already knowing a few of the things you brought up (I also prefer not to have points hammered at me time and time again) and now I’m definitely waiting for the audio version even though I already have this one in ‘book’ version. One day I’ll get to it, even though audio isn’t really my thing….
Lovely review as always!
Di @ Book Reviews by Di recently posted…The Blog Squad: A Blogger Collaboration – Part XX
Yes, I would definitely say that at least for Anna’s book, the audio will probably give you the best overall experience.
I think the audio version would be fun. I’ve heard similar complaints from other reviewers – so you’re not the only one. I do have a print copy of this though and I hope to read it soon.
Lauren Becker recently posted…Weekend Trip to Chicago + ALA 2017
Yeah, from what several people have said, the audio is a much better experience overall. If I ever have time, I might go back and re-read it with the audio to see if I feel differently about it since I do like Anna so much.
Anna Kendrick is hilarious but from your review here, I wonder if they rushed to get this out to capatalise on her popularity and didn’t spend enough time refining it in a way? Either way though, she’s still awesome!
sydneyeditor1 recently posted…The Reason You’re Alive: Honesty comes in the most unexpected characters
That’s a good point and seems entirely plausible. Quite a few people have commented and said that the audio version is better than the print version, so if you ever want to read it, it sounds like that’s the way to go. I love Anna so I might try the audio at some point and see if I appreciate the book a little more that way.