“I think I need to become perfect all at once, so I keep getting overwhelmed and putting it off. I can’t remember the last time that I didn’t have something hanging over my head. There are usually about thirty to eighty things. Is that normal? Don’t tell me. If it’s not, I’m a jerk. If it is, that’s super-depressing, and I know I’ll just use ‘this is normal’ as an excuse to procrastinate even more.”
I’ve liked Anna Kendrick since her Twilight days. I mean, come on. That graduation speech in Eclipse? Classic! And while I’m far from seeing every film she’s been in, I’ve seen enough to confidently say I’m a fan. From Into The Woods, to Pitch Perfect, to the movie that always makes me bawl like a baby, 50/50. She’s hilarious, sure. But she’s always seemed to have this blunt, humorous honesty. As far as humans go, she’s always someone I’ve looked at and thought, “She’s so relatable.” And Scrappy Little Nobody proves this in ways that I could never hope to describe. But I’m going to try to anyway, because, well, it’s me. And I think everyone needs to read this book.
Kendrick begins her novel as you might expect, with an origin story. Literally. It’s titled, ‘origin story’. And from the first page, you know that this isn’t just a book you’d find in the humor section. In a way, it feels very much like a coming-of-age story that happens to be hilarious. And I absolutely loved that! Kendrick gets real about every aspect of her life. She’ll have you nodding fervently along, shouting, “Yes! I knew I wasn’t the only one!” every other page. She talks about the inappropriate questions kids think it’s okay to ask when you’re in middle school (which can be found in the chapter titled, Hell, Thy Name Is Middle School). She talks about boys and her complete fear of them growing up. And how when she was nineteen she felt like an alien for never having had a boyfriend. She talks about double standards, and how when you’re younger, dates are often interested in “the number” (of people you’ve had sex with). But her seriousness is dusted with the perfect amount of humor to have you laughing and crying all at once.
“*Some dudes like to say that men have the instinct to spread their seed, while women are supposed to protect their reproductive organs from everything but the best sperm for the strongest potential offspring. By that logic every woman in the world should be saving herself for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and never let any of you shitheads touch her. Seriously, you guys should stop using that argument.”
The most relatable thing in this book, however, and probably about Kendrick herself, is her anxiety. Most (if not all) people I know deal with some level of anxiety. For some, it’s only when large or new events are happening. For others, like myself, taking the bus for the hundred and twelfth time can send me into a panic attack. Kendrick talks about the anxiety she feels in her daily life, and how the smallest thing can send her into an existential crisis. Like buying a mini-fridge, for example, reminds her of just how many things she’ll be responsible for as an adult. I think we’ve all been here. She talks about the nerves involved with award shows, and how performing with Neil Patrick Harris, one of her favourite memories, made her queasy beforehand.
Kendrick is hilarious and comforting all at once. From her anecdotes (“Oh my god, I just made out with Legolas!”) to her inability to notice when people are on drugs, I was literally laughing out loud at just how real this woman is. She, like many of us, both has her shit together and has no idea what she’s doing. Describing herself as ‘squirrelly’ and “a weirdo” at multiple points, it’s her self-deprecating nature that you can’t help but love, and that will have you frantically turning the pages, waiting to see what happens next. Seriously, read this book. Scrappy Little Nobody is the laugh you’ve been waiting for, and the comforting reminder you probably need that you’re not the only weirdo out there. She mentions in the last couple of pages that she hopes readers could relate, and feel less alone by reading her book. Well, Anna (can I call you Anna?), you succeeded.
PS. I really hope she throws one of her fake but incredibly detailed holiday parties, because there is no doubt they would be the best thing ever to happen to us.
PPS. In case you needed another reason to read this fabulous book, here’s one last excerpt.
“If I could have my house decorated for Christmas year-round, I’d do it. In fact, if I could have nothing in my house BUT Christmas decor, that would be ideal. Seriously, if it were up to me, I wouldn’t even have furniture. Wait, it IS up to me? Oh, crap.”