Since my glory days of completing a Cannonball multiple times over a couple years in a row, the amount of reading I’ve done has cratered. Amusingly enough, re-reads have comprised most of my reading, which is funny because I’m not the type to re-read anything normally. Rainbow Rowell’s become the exception to that rule, with each of her books making me feel at home and serving as ample distraction from whatever worrisome thoughts or situations happen to be clouding my mind. If she were to somehow up her output to a book a day, you can be damn sure I’d be finding a way to read one a day to keep up. Having exhausted all of her books, as well as nearly all of the ones from my other favorites, I’ve found it difficult to keep an ample enough queue of books for Cannonball Read. Between that, participating in a movie challenge of my own design, and a variety of other time-consuming habits, there’s not much time left to devote to this. Maybe if other Cannonballers hadn’t, in the past couple years, so thoroughly outdid my personal (once record-setting) efforts, I would’ve felt compelled to one-up them. I know I’ll never manage to match someone like badkittyuno, though, so that compulsion wasn’t there.
With that backstory out of the way, it’s onto my first review of the year, and hopefully the first of (at least) 52. If I can’t manage the full 52, years after doing it multiple times over… well, I’ll be disappointed in myself, to say the least. This book is one I read (or, rather, listened to) last year in December, but if memory serves that’s not technically the rules. On my first ever road trip, to Massachusetts (for a concert and to visit my sister, nephews, and niece), I needed something to distract from the monotony of driving 9+ hours alone (nobody I know shares my taste in music), and the memoir of one of my biggest celebrity crushes, the always delightful Anna Kendrick, seemed as good a choice as any for that. If her tweets, and overall personality, were anything to go off of, I thought, there’d be many a laugh to be had. This turned out to be true, but it was the feels that put Scrappy Little Nobody over the top for me. I never expected to find a celebrity so relatable. Despite her fame, Kendrick remains a tiny ball of insecurities who still sorta trips and stumbles through adulthood at times.
Fame doesn’t serve as some hyperbolic time chamber where the pressure speeds up the maturation process, making living and adulting easier. Celebrities can be awkward, imperfect people just as easily as you and I. And seeing Kendrick readily admit (many times over) to that fact, as well as the fact that there’s nothing wrong with a person being that way, was immensely comforting. It also, at times, left me feeling emotionally raw, her words striking nerves I never would’ve expected because of how close to home they hit. I went into Scrappy Little Nobody expecting a light read (or listen, if we’re getting technical) filled with laughs and came away with one of the most personal experiences I’ve had with any type of media in years. To be honest, I can’t even remember an in-person conversation I’ve had recently that felt as real and personal as this book, which reads like a conversation with her readers. After reading it, Kendrick has been motivated from crush to something far greater. Were I able to spend the day with any two celebrities, she’d be the de-facto #1 choice, followed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, AKA sunshine in human form (which we’ll explore in greater detail with my next review). And, to anyone who asks me the reason why, I’ll simply direct them to this book.