Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick

“I wish more people could tell the different between the ‘leave me alone’ vibe I give off all the time by accident and my actual ‘leave me alone’ vibe.”

Anna Kendrick is my second patronus, the other person I want to be (along with Kate McKinnon). So, I’m sure it will come as no surprise that I pre-ordered Scrappy Little Nobody the second I knew it was coming out.

Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick“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.”” GoodReads.

 

 

“I happen to love rules. I love having a plan. I love a film set that’s run like a well-oiled machine. I thrive in structure; I drown in chaos. I love rules and I love following them. Unless that rule is stupid. And yes, I have felt qualified, no matter my age, to make that determination. Scrupulous people don’t enjoy causing trouble, but they can be defiant as hell.”

I hate it when people compare themselves to someone ‘cool’ and then proclaim they are so alike because it’s usually utter rubbish and they couldn’t be more dissimilar, but I’m also a hypocrite. Anna is basically me (if I were shorter, prettier, and in some way talented).

You can tell Anna is a rather anxious person, she likes to tell the reader all ‘difficult’ traits. As if after telling us, the only way is up, you’ve got the ‘bad’ bits out the way. However, she’s obviously a very hard-working, grateful and humble person. Never sounding as though she deserves what she is getting and constantly afraid it’s going to end – she works her butt off.

She’s also managed to write an entertaining memoir without really mentioning any moment of her personal life that involved any other celebrities, so if you’re hoping for celebrity gossip you won’t get it here. Unless you want to know that Colin Firth can change a tire, you’ll find that out.

The only downside was that I expected a little more than I got from Anna’s memoir. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great. It’s funny, entertaining and managed to keep me involved throughout. However, if you’re after something more like Mara Wilson’s or Patti Smith’s memoir, this isn’t the book for you.

It’s like a long tweet.

And that works!

Scrappy Little Nobody (along with Sarah Moss, who never fails me) ended my reading slump (for now), so I really can’t thank Anna Kendrick enough.

Have you read Scrappy Little Nobody?

 

His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet

His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet, is the second (and last) book shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker short-list that I’ve read, and while it is utterly different to Eileen, it’s left me with a similar aftertaste. I’m both impressed and disturbed.

It’s so good in fact, that I honestly thought it was based on real historical events, I only know it isn’t because the Man Booker is a prize awarded for a novel. Which probably means I need my Ravenclaw access revoked. However, this speaks volumes for the authentic feel of the novel Burnet presents.

His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet

“A brutal triple murder in a remote northwestern crofting community in 1869 leads to the arrest of a young man by the name of Roderick Macrae. There’s no question that Macrae is guilty, but the police and courts must uncover what drove him to murder the local village constable. And who were the other two victims? Ultimately, Macrae’s fate hinges on one key question: is he insane? ” GoodReads.

His Bloody Project is hard reading, it’s not a gripping read. However, I recommend fighting through the lacklustre text to get the overall impression of the murders Roderick Macrae committed. Burnet aptly recreates the tone you would expect from a Victorian setting. Your reading investment will pay off.

The book is split into sections; witness statements, Roderick’s memoir, medical examinations, psychologist reports, and extracts of the trail. Roderick’s memoir is cold and detached. He speaks very matter-of-factly and while he describes situations that clearly pained or upset him you don’t feel that emotion come through. He accepts what he did was wrong, but that death was the only option. At first, it feels as though he is resigned to his fate, but as you read on through the evidence and trial you wonder if this is evidence of his madness, or if he may indeed be a psychopath.

Which ultimately became the mystery of the book, as certain details – which I won’t spoil – come to light, you begin to doubt what you ‘know’. With the added benefit of reading this novel now, with the advancement in the studies of the mind, to perhaps see elements of Roderick’s behaviour that indicate he wasn’t the same as his peers. You’re all at once in the novel, in 1869, and outside of it with modern knowledge.

It’s also a fascinating look at the situation of the poor, and how people of lower-income were (unfairly or incorrectly) perceived. You feel for the Macrae’s, punished for being different and for not being economically fortunate. Burnet’s representation of the misunderstanding of Criminality is excellent. The idea that features of a person that dictate criminality (pigeon chest, high cheekbones, misshapen cranium) are as fascinating as they are maddening.

I found while I couldn’t align myself with Roderick, I couldn’t condemn him either. He wasn’t right, but the situation wasn’t fair.

His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet was a fascinating read, you may find it a little slow going, but it’s more than worth powering through!

How many of the shortlist have you read?

Literary Life: September in Review

I’m wearing a jumper, I’ve switched to a winter quilt, and I’m considering a fringe – it must be autumn.

September was a quiet month and rather depressingly I’m having to check Instagram to see if I’ve done anything. Who needs a memory when you’ve got social media…..

I went to the Brighton Toy Museum, which is adorable if a little train heavy (luckily, I love a train). My friend Agnes and I (almost) aced the child’s puzzle and we felt rather smug about it.

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In other news, I faced a big change last month and I’ve had to do a fair amount of soul-searching to come to terms with the change.

Brace yourselves. I’m a Ravenclaw.

I’ve finally come to accept that my obvious genius utterly overpowers my capacity for evil. It’s not been easy to accept, but sometimes you just need to accept that who you are when you take the Pottermore quiz when it began isn’t the person you are when you take it in your 30s, and you need to deal with that. It does beg the question, what am I going to do with my Slytherin robes…?

Also, my Patronus is a Mastiff, I’m not sure whether to be pleased or not. Thoughts?

Currently Reading:

Bel-Ami – Monpaussant
Parade’s End – Ford Madox Ford

Unfinished:

We Have Always Lived in the Castle – Shirley Jackson (I spoiled myself and then got put off)

I’ve Read:

  1. About My Mother: A Novel – Tahar Ben Jelloun
  2. Eileen – Ottessa Moshfegh
  3. Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame – Mara Wilson
  4. Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide – J.K. Rowling
  5. Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies – J.K. Rowling
  6. Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists – J.K. Rowling

Eileen – as you will have gathered from my review on Monday – utterly disturbed me. I’m still not sure what I think of it.

How was your literary September?