on November 15, 2016
Format: Audio Book
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’ve never really gotten into audiobooks and nonfiction has never kept my interest, but I think I found my jive: nonfiction on audio book! I’ve always eyed-up the big celebrity books Goodreads (Here’s looking at you, Amy Schumer, Tina Fey, and Mindy Kaling) and thought… what if I could actually make it through these books? Would I like them? Could I like them?
Flashback to last weekend and voila! I faced the tedious task of painting my laundry room. In a moment of pure recklessness, I jumped onto my library’s Overdrive and borrowed Anna Kendrick’s Scrappy Little Nobody. I LOVED IT! Narrated by Anna herself, Scrappy Little Nobody was a funny and honest compilation of essays. This delightfully awkward listen absorbed me completely for the weekend and touched on a few interesting points.
Now the tricky part of reviewing this is a) I couldn’t take notes because my hands were covered in ‘mushroom bisque’ paint and b) it’s a personal memoir – so who am I to judge? So instead… here are the five facts and reactions that stuck with me after listening.*
*The following probably deserves one giant spoiler summary. But I’m not sure if you can label non-fiction as a spoiler? Someone help me here.
- Anna grew up on Broadway, receiving her first Tony nomination at age 12, and learned to balance “normal life” in Portland Maine while performing 8 shows a week on Broadway. Can you imagine how stressful that would be? It’s like being growing-up while still in middle school. I still struggle with work-life balance at 31.
- She’s open and honest about sex and it was refreshing hearing that she wasn’t in a rush to have sex as a teenager. There’s a funny series of anecdotes on her first sexual partner and a great commentary on slut-shaming.
- She humorously dissects the word “Nice” and it’s simply a code word for “Not Difficult.” It’s just a pleasant way of saying that someone wasn’t a challenge to work with and for some reason, women seem fearful of losing their “Nice” distinction. I absolutely agreed with this – why shouldn’t we think twice about asserting opinions? What’s so “Difficult” about that?
- The life of a Hollywood starlet isn’t what it seems. Anna was dead broke after Up In the Air, for which she received an Oscar nomination. Her appearances in the Twilight movie franchise is what kept her afloat while she grew her career
- Why did she succeed? Because she didn’t have a backup plan, and even though she was lonely and struggling at first in LA she didn’t let herself give up because… well, she didn’t have any options. Anyone else wonder what they wouldn’t’ have given up on because they chose an easier option?