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).