Gemma Gamberdell ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
In her new book Scrappy Little Nobody, actress Anna Kendrick declares herself the queen of reliability as she narrates her life from childhood to the present in a comedic, self-effacing, and original memoir.
The book itself and the approach taken are far from unique, instead following a recent and popular trend in literature. Within the last few years a young crowd of actors, comedians, and YouTubers have been publishing autobiographical memoirs despite their budding ages. In the past, most staples in the biography section were the stories of seasoned writers, victims of society that struggled their way out of hardship, established entertainers on the brink of retirement, and historical figures. These individuals had paid their dues, worked their way up the ladder, and were ready to impart wisdom onto the next generation of readers. Now it is not uncommon to find a book chronicling the success of a well-known twenty or thirty-something at the front of the bookstore under “New Releases.”
However, it is clear that Kendrick, regardless of the fact she just turned 31, was born to write a comedic memoir. Published by Touchstone and released on November 15 of this year, her new book is a fresh take on the countless stories that are circulating around about finding confidence as a woman in the entertainment industry, and it’s quickly climbing the Amazon’s best sellers list.
Despite having almost unbelievable success for someone her age, (she was nominated for her first Tony at age 12, has starred in award winning films and movies, and already has a triple-platinum single) Anna Kendrick’s writing in Scrappy Little Nobody is incredibly relatable. Her tone is casual and light as she invites the reader into her head and uses humor to create a connection with her audience. Kendrick is not spelling out her life and listing achievements one by one—she instead acts as if she is sharing wisdom to a friend, at one point even asking, “We’ve been hanging out long enough that it’s cool for me to make jokes like that, right?”
Kendrick is the master of the humble-brag, highlighting accomplishments that are necessary to the plot of the story while using self-deprecating humor, and ostensibly seeking her audience’s approval and acceptance as a fellow “cool kid.” Kendrick doesn’t seem to know why anyone finds her interesting or how she qualifies as an certified adult—making her all the more charming and in touch with her millennial audience.
There are unfortunately elements of the book that fall flat despite Kendrick’s best efforts. In the introduction and conclusion Kendrick includes footnotes with additional “quirky” jokes that feel completely unnecessary considering they do not appear anywhere else in the novel, and do not indicate a change in style, or add any pertinent information. Furthermore, though the audio book is receiving rave reviews because Kendrick reads it herself, her tone in the first few chapters is almost bored and does not do justice to the comedic material in spite of the fact it does get more lively later on. If you’re looking for the best way to experience Scrappy Little Nobody, stick to the book itself.
Regardless of these faults, Kendrick’s wit pulls through, entertaining the reader in each and every chapter. While highly praised, her humor in Scrappy Little Nobody was definitely not unexpected. As her almost 6 million Twitter followers could have told you years ago, Kendrick’s satire and banter is beyond compare—her tweets (such as “Oh God. I just realized I’m stuck with me my whole life”) routinely get over a hundred thousand “favorites” and “retweets.” If you know what Anna Kendrick can achieve in 140 characters, you’ll be delighted by what she can do with 340 pages.