I’ve been waiting to read this collection of humorous autobiographical essays for months and months, and I can now say that the wait was definitely worth it. Anna Kendrick’s humor is even more hilarious on paper.
In Scrappy Little Nobody, she invites readers inside her brain, sharing extraordinary and charmingly ordinary stories with candor and winningly wry observations.
Sidebar: her honesty in this was kind of inspiring. It was like siting down to gossip with your friends and family (similar to Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi). There were a lot of situations where she managed to describe feelings similar to mine that I hadn’t thought someone capable of writing so perfectly. I found this collection to be entertaining and along the way made me feel less alone, which is why I’m loving memoirs as of late.
Also, I knew I was in for treat when the very first page made me crack a smile (at 6am nonetheless). Kendrick’s got a bunch of embarrassing, inspiring, hysterical stories and I managed to laugh out loud at least once during each one. I kind of never want to leave her brain.
And as she mentioned at the start, she’s a pretty private person so we don’t get to go into really intimate details of the past, but what we got was definitely satisfying. She made me feel alive with her energy.
Whether it be her lazy observational humor or razor-sharp wit, Anna Kendrick knows how to keep my eyes glued to the page. I seriously could not stop reading and then rereading some of my favorite essays.
Insert favorite quotes and passages
the mayor of squaresville
“I like to tell people that I’m a square. It’s a charming way to warn someone that I’m a finicky little brat without freaking them out. I got to work with Lisa Kudrow recently, and when she told me she thought she was probably an even bigger square, I maintained that couldn’t be true. We traded stories for a while, trying to out-straitlace each other.
For example, I told her about the time my friend found out I’d never seen a movie without paying and he forced me to sneak in to Iron Man. I did not enjoy the film at all; I felt guilty the entire time. And when I found myself at dinner with Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr. a year later, I confessed my crime and insisted on giving them cash or buying them something on the menu of commensurate value.”
…did she actually? This made me happier than I thought humanly possible.
boys and the terror of being near them
“Even my tender-faced teen crushes inspired pretty elementary goals. I knew I found them interesting, I knew I liked their faces, and I knew if we met (like if they maybe moved to Maine to escape the pressures of stardom) I’d want them to like me. Beyond that I wasn’t sure what was supposed to happen. And once I found out, I was so nauseated that my daydreams would only reach the point where I kissed the object of my affection (a.k.a. the middle brother from 3 Ninjas) before the dream cut out like a busted VHS and started again from the beginning.”
The level of specificity rattled me because this is 100% me.
Kendrick also took the time to address “friend-zoning” and it made my heart sing:
“I wrongly assumed the late ask and casual tone meant “as friends.” I was grossed out and frankly kind of hurt when he drove me to a motel after the dance. I had to pull the old phone call to Mom where I loudly whine “Why not?” and say my mom’s being a bitch and I have to go home. (An excellent tool for getting kids out of situations they don’t want to be in. My mom always played along and I would recommend this trick to any parent.)”
She handled that horrible situation like a pro.
“Some bitter boys reading this might accuse me of “friend-zoning,” but I’d like to say that even if a girl has misinterpreted a situation that someone else thinks was obvious, she does not owe her male friends anything.”
!!!And not only that, but she also addresses slut-shaming, sex-positivity, double-standards, abusive relationships…
The amount of respect and admiration I have for her is difficult to articulate, so I’m going to continue inserting my favorite passages.
he’s just not that interesting
“It was a real lesson in my endless capacity to hold a grudge. I do it so well, I don’t even notice that it’s happening. I walk around with these calcified resentments for years until someone points them out and I can go, “Good lord, is that still in here? Let’s get rid of that. And throw out ‘pretending that watching boys play video games is fun’ while we’re at it.”
I had to take a moment to wonder who else fell into this category of default enemy. I went through a mental list of people who, in theory, I’d want to hit in the face with a meat tenderizer. My coworker from ten years ago who owes me like three grand? It was ten years ago! You were addicted to OxyContin! Go! Be free! My seventh-grade teacher, who told me that most child actors don’t succeed as adult actors? You just wanted to scare me into having a backup plan! Farewell! Good luck! Tori from fourth grade, who accused me of writing mean stuff about all our friends on the playground wall? BURN IN HELL, TORI. I KNOW IT WAS YOU!!!
I’m still working on it.”
I can’t stop laughing at that ending.
making movies is a fool’s errand
“Sometimes you don’t like the people you’re working with. It’s temporary, but facing another sixteen-hour block with people you don’t like can feel insurmountable even when you know it’s only for a few months. Getting on Skype with your best friend to talk shit helps, but you gotta go to sleep and do it all over again in six hours, so make your shit talk count!”
My new motto: make your shit talk count!
Along the way, we were also taken behind-the-scenes on various movie sets, award shows, and so much more. It was pretty epic.
“The highs and lows were so extreme! Just when I’d reach a tipping point—convinced that I’d become nothing more than a commodity, disgusted with myself for taking this artistic experience, which had been so fulfilling, and packaging it up to be sold in pieces to people who couldn’t care less about me—something amazing would happen. I was trudging up the steps to my apartment when I got an email with the subject line: Dreams Do Come True. I walked through my door and onto my tar-stained carpet and opened it. It was Peter Travers’s review for Rolling Stone. It read: Kendrick is a revelation. I stood on that tar stain and wept.
I was a revelation, but I was still broke. At the end of one New York press tour I asked Paramount if I could stay in a less expensive hotel on the next trip and . . . keep the difference. They said no because “that’s not how it works.” I wanted to know why that wasn’t how it worked, but I could tell I’d already embarrassed myself, so I dropped it. Then I stole a roll of toilet paper out of the bathroom and put it in my suitcase because I knew I wouldn’t have the time or energy to buy any when I got home.”
That’s the story she told in her interview with Ellen that made me even more excited to read the book.
Also, this piece on the paparazzi struck deep.
“He took the picture, and, true to his word, he left. He called someone else from his agency to follow me home, so technically, he kept his promise. For the next three weeks or so, someone was outside my apartment. What they didn’t count on was my god-given ability to stay indoors and do nothing. The real beauty of it was I didn’t even have to alter my behavior. I wasn’t holed up Waco-style; I was just doing me. Every now and then a similar thing will happen. I’ll notice a strange car outside, and, as an experiment, I’ll take a trip to Home Depot, and when the car follows me, I think, Looks like a two-week stretch of takeout and Netflix is in order; this poor man doesn’t know who he’s dealing with.”
How many times can I repeat I LOVE YOU before it starts to annoy everyone?
“You know that feeling when you see a pretty girl and you immediately hate her because you assume she’d never talk to you (this metaphor works if you’re a girl or a guy), but then she smiles and introduces herself and you’re like, how could I have misjudged you, you are clearly the best person alive! That feeling is intensified tenfold with movie stars. Ugh, look at Kate Beckinsale across the room with her perfect hair and her perfect laugh and I’ll bet she’s an ice queen bitc— Oh god, she’s coming over here. She gives you a compliment and tells you one dirty joke and you are ready to blindly pledge your life to her service. Long live the queen!”
the world’s most reluctant adult
“I’m trying to make big decisions without asking “an adult.” Because that’s me. I’m the adult. For ten years I drove Charlie, my scrappy little used Toyota. When it came time to buy a new car, I decided to do it on my own. I’m financially stable, I am a homeowner, I vote, but I’ll admit, it felt weird not consulting my parents. I’d bought Charlie when I was a teenager—I’d used my own money, but my mom was with me the whole time. I had no idea how to buy a car completely on my own. So I brought Aubrey Plaza. Aubrey’s got kind of a father-figure vibe, so she gave me a certain confidence walking into the dealership.”
I love that I now know this because I kept thinking of this next scene while reading:
“The real problem is that I let anxiety cripple my relationships. I blame this paralysis on different things. It started as a money issue: I was too broke to go out. I didn’t want to spend money I didn’t have on dinners and drinks and the movies. I didn’t want to invite anyone over, because my place was gross. Once I had an income, it became a time issue: I’m working too much to go out. Even when I do have a free day or two, there’s this overwhelming guilt about planning anything recreational. I haven’t been to the dentist in a year and a half, but I’m gonna go to Lacy’s party? Out of the question. I mean, I still won’t go to the dentist, but making fun plans would force me to acknowledge that I’m not going to go to the dentist.”
Is she inside my head??
Anna Kendrick is a force to be reckoned with. I can’t stop thinking about everything she managed to describe so on point. I am over the moon happy that I finally got to read Scrappy Little Nobody. And I know for a fact that I’ll be thinking about nothing else for the next few days.
Plus, Kendrick included some great photographs that really managed to capture the magic of the moment: “Man-eater.”“Trying to blend in with the established Sundance crowd and succeeding.”“Does this wig make me look out of my depth? Or is that just my face?”“Covered in blood, but her foundation is flawless. Movies make sense.”