Scrappy Little Nobody
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 Anna Kendrick. And please don’t think that my love for her resulted in me obviously giving this book 5 stars, because before listening to it I actually thought she was kind of bitchy and pretentious. But hearing this book changed my opinion of her and I just loved it.
Anna’s thoughts are empowering. She celebrates women and their bodies throughout the various essays in here, despite constantly circling back to the fact that it took her a very long time to feel satisfied with hers (she has a short-person complex). Her sexuality is owned with pride, and I respect that a lot. If this book is anything besides an autobiography, it’s somewhat of a feminist manifesto.
At the same time that she’s writing in the vein of rah-rah-sisterhood, Anna’s essays also show her vulnerable side. I relate to her on such a personal level, especially when she starts discussing the concept of nicety versus driven, hardworking, professional, etc. In high school, after suffering for years at the hands of a bully, I developed what I call a protective chip on my shoulder where I dropped my niceness and started being a bitch to people who deserved it. The word “bitch” became a name of pride for me, and I owned it with my head held high when one of my former bullies would call me by it. Anna discusses her own experiences in much the same way and it really opened my eyes to preconceptions and misrepresentations in our (in particular, professional, but also general) culture.
The way Anna narrates her story is endearing, honest, and edgy. I didn’t feel like I was listening to an actress, but a friend instead. If ever there was any doubt that actors aren’t like us regular people, her inner monologue as shown in her essays will make you feel otherwise. I certainly do. And, at the end of it, the one question I’m left with is this: Anna, do you still sleep on your IKEA bed?