“Scrappy Little Nobody” by Anna Kendrick

scrappylittlenobody

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).

-excerpt taken from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29868610-scrappy-little-nobody

Review:

I had just finished reading “The Chemist” when I began browsing my shelves for a new book.  After the heavily-detailed government spy story, I knew I needed something light, funny, and effortless.  “Scrappy Little Nobody” had been on my TBR list for quite some time, and I was positive it would fulfill all my reading needs at the time.

I’ve been a fan of Anna Kendrick since she played “Jessica” in The Twilight Saga movies.  One thing you learn about her, especially if you watch the Saga’s DVD extras, is that she is naturally hilarious.  The directors said they would let the camera roll while she went off on comical tirades, specifically the scene in “New Moon” outside of the theater where she talks about zombies and leprosy, and also when she makes a speech at the wedding in “Breaking Dawn Pt. 1.”  She became much more well-known when she landed the lead role of “Beca” in the “Pitch Perfect” movies, and her song “Cups” was wildly popular, landing on many top music charts.

“Scrappy Little Nobody” is a hilarious autobiography of her life, starting with essays about her childhood auditioning and then landing different jobs.  She is reluctant to admit that she was a child actor, because “they’re crazy”, as she says.  She started mostly as a stage actor before transitioning to movies.

One thing I really enjoyed about this book was her honesty.  She spends a lot of time talking about how she struggled as a poor actress, even after landing some of her bigger roles, including “Up in the Air”, which earned her a nomination for an Academy Award.  She also talks about how parts of fame are very overwhelming and, at times, required her to “say the right thing” to the point of making her feel like a liar.

She says many times throughout the book that she doesn’t want to become an entitled famous person.  People will congratulate her in the street for trivial things like walking places instead of being driven, to which she will respond, “walking is not so bad.”  You can tell from reading this that it’s very important to her to stay grounded.  Her dream was to be a famous actress, and she “doesn’t want to get used to it” – she continues to work hard for fear of being a has-been.

Another thing that I really liked was that she threw in quite a bit of helpful advice throughout the book, mostly from learning things the hard way herself.  She suggests not dating somebody unless they meet your standards, which I wholeheartedly agree with.  She admits to not having it together completely, but says she is getting better at “adulting,” and tries to get a little done at a time so that things don’t pile up on her.  I’m still working on it too, Anna!!  I feel you, girl.

I give this book 3.5 out of 5 cupcakes (No stars for me, thanks.  Cupcakes are better.)  Well, maybe 4 out of 5 cupcakes, but one of them has a big bite taken out of it.  I enjoyed this book and it went down easy, but I thought it would be a little funnier than it was.  Don’t get me wrong, it was funny!  It just wasn’t laugh-out-loud funny, more like internal chuckle funny.  If you want a lighthearted read, and you’re an Anna Kendrick fan, I suggest picking up a copy!

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“The Chemist” by Stephenie Meyer

THE-CHEMIST-jacket

 

She used to work for the U.S. government, but very few people ever knew that. An expert in her field, she was one of the darkest secrets of an agency so clandestine it doesn’t even have a name. And when they decided she was a liability, they came for her without warning.

Now she rarely stays in the same place or uses the same name for long. They’ve killed the only other person she trusted, but something she knows still poses a threat. They want her dead, and soon.

When her former handler offers her a way out, she realizes it’s her only chance to erase the giant target on her back. But it means taking one last job for her ex-employers. To her horror, the information she acquires only makes her situation more dangerous.

Resolving to meet the threat head-on, she prepares for the toughest fight of her life but finds herself falling for a man who can only complicate her likelihood of survival. As she sees her choices being rapidly whittled down, she must apply her unique talents in ways she never dreamed of.

-excerpt taken from http://stepheniemeyer.com/project/the-chemist/

Review:

I was beyond excited when I found out that Stephenie Meyer was coming out with something new.  I am a huge fan, as stated in a previous post, and was hungry for more of her work.

Stephenie Meyer is a big fan of the Bourne series and even dedicated the book to “Jason Bourne and Aaron Cross.”  She mentions seeing “The Bourne Legacy” nine times in theaters in her infographic that she released.  It also mentions that she was on the set of the “Breaking Dawn” movies when the idea for this book was originally conceived.

The main character is a girl who has had many names, but we know as “Alex.”  She moves from place to place, always looking over her shoulder, and setting up chemical booby traps as she sleeps to keep herself safe.  She is a brilliant chemist who was formerly used by the government to torture information out of people using her own sinister concoctions, that not only cause extreme pain, but have never failed her in getting the information she needs.

Tired of looking over her shoulder, and offered a way out, Alex takes one final job.  She is told her target has weapons that could possibly kill hundreds of thousands of people.  When given information about the accused, Daniel seems like a decent guy; a teacher; a volleyball coach, but Alex knows this is all a front.  She is able to find him, sedate him, and eventually torture him through the use of her injectables.  When his thought-to-be-dead twin brother, Kevin, comes crashing into the building to save him, she soon finds out that the man she is torturing has been set up.

Kevin works for the CIA and had faked his own death.  Daniel is very surprised to see him because of this.  They soon find out that the real reason Alex had been asked to do this job was to draw Kevin out of hiding, and, with any lucky, one or both of them would be killed, eliminating problems for their respective agencies.

After a struggle between them, they are able to figure all of this out, and by Daniel’s suggestion, they band together to try to stay alive; a tactic the agencies won’t expect.  They go into hiding, all the time having to watch their backs.  Alex is surprised when she develops feelings for Daniel, and by default he becomes a liability for her that she has to try to keep safe.

I give this book 4 out of 5 strips of bacon (Yes, you heard me – bacon.  This is my book review blog, and I don’t have to rate in stars if I don’t feel like it.  I’m a way bigger fan of bacon than stars anyway.)  This is not my typical genre.  But I still thought it was very enjoyable, and Stephenie Meyer is great at making you care about characters that make questionable life choices (i.e. drink human blood or torture people using chemicals).  I found myself rooting for Alex and Daniel’s relationship.  I’m not an animal book/movie person, but Kevin’s use of trained dogs to keep them safe was more entertaining than I would have guessed.  I kind of want a highly trained dog now, though I would only use mine to bring me treats, and give my children rides on its back.

The only criticism I really have is that it was probably a tad too long and detailed (over 500 pages), but I know that is Stephenie Meyer’s style and you really can’t knock her for that.  Overall, an enjoyable read!