Man, I’ve been in such a book slump lately; I’ve barely read a thing. Thanks to Beth at Booksnest for recommending this read to me and getting me through it! I’m not a big reader of biographical novels, that is to say, I don’t really read any… at all. However, I found this one to be both refreshing and entertaining so perhaps it’s time for me to change my tune.
Author: Anna Kendrick
Date published: November 2016
Summary: A collection of humorous autobiographical essays by the Academy Award-nominated actress and star of Up in the Air and Pitch Perfect.
“I’m excited to publish my first book, and because I get uncomfortable when people have high expectations, I’d like to use this opportunity to showcase my ineptitude and pettiness and the frequency with which I embarrass myself. And while many of my female inspirations who have become authors are incredibly well educated and accomplished comedy writers, I’m very, very funny on Twitter, according to BuzzFeed and my mom, so I feel like this is a great idea. Quick question: Are run-on sentences still frowned upon? Wait, is ending a sentence with a preposition still frowned upon? I mean, upon frowned? Dammit!” (Anna Kendrick)
Anna Kendrick’s autobiographical collection of essays amusingly recounts memorable moments throughout her life, from her middle-class upbringing in New England to the blockbuster movies that have made her one of Hollywood’s most popular actresses today. Expanding upon the witty and ironic dispatches for which she is known, Anna Kendrick’s essays offer her one-of-a-kind commentary on the absurdities she’s experienced on her way to and from the heart of pop culture.
It feels weird to review an autobiography; it feels far too much like I’m judging another person’s real life so I won’t write too much. I will say that it was perfectly paced and I could’ve devoured it in one sitting had I enough time. There were enough personal stories that I felt I could better understand Kendrick but not so many that I felt as though I was probing, or being told too much.
I found a lot of Kendrick’s narrative incredibly easy to relate to. Mostly the way she looked at things and less so her talent and experiences (obviously!) She is an established artist whilst I’ve never auditioned for anything beyond a small student run play in an empty classroom (but that’s something that really can’t be remedied so what the heck, I’ll stick to my low traffic book blog and supermarket cashier chic thank you very much.) Despite all her fame and experience there was no point in the book where I felt her to be anything other than humble. And she wasn’t the kind of humble that is taught, or even really deliberate, she was unapologetic and honest and it made her stories so easy and enjoyable to listen to.
It was nice to listen to her read it as well. No doubt if I’d picked up a hard copy I would’ve tripped over a few words I hadn’t heard before or at least stopped every 30 pages to look up the name of a costume designer or actor because I didn’t know them or had completely forgotten what they looked like. Audio books take the pressure off. More than that though, with the author reading about things they actually experienced it felt way more honest. Like a super long one sided conversation (only, because it’s a book, the person doing all the talking isn’t being obnoxious.)
I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to understand that famous people are very similar to regular people but Kendrick has certainly helped me realise that this may in fact be possible. In one part she describes a time when she experienced more-than-choppy sea conditions whilst on a boat with friends. She describes the power of the sea (In chapter 22 I think) and how small and naive she felt to not have feared it and it unsurprisingly comes from a place of intelligence and respect rather than wholly from fear. Whilst this is a book written about her it actually takes on the world as a whole and she really paints herself as this “scrappy little nobody” defined by these experiences. It was enthralling and had me completely reevaluating how I perceived the autobiographical genre. I haven’t read many (I can’t even think of one I can name) autobiographies but I’m definitely going to have to give them more of a chance.
If you have any other suggestions or insights feel free to message me or leave them in the comments section below!
– Cat –