If you're considering picking up Anna Kendrick's memoir, Scrappy Little Nobody
, which was released on November 15, and you are not
one who loves precious self-deprecation, then let me save you some time: Don't do it. But if you truly must, at least skip the hardback and skim it on your Kindle to spare yourself the physical cover, which features the actress (clad in what could be described as "casual business casual" — she's wearing cutoff shorts and a blazer) posed like a Precious Moments figurine
In the grand scheme of celebrity books, Scrappy Little Nobody
isn't especially memorable. Frankly, that's part of the problem. It's full of anecdotes from Kendrick's life, like any good celebrity memoir should be, including lesser-known facts like how the actress, at age 12, lost a Tony to Audra McDonald and has been a "bitter bitch" ever since. It's snarky-funny, and snappy, sort of like it was written on Twitter before being transcribed into long-form.
All that is innocuous enough. The real issue that I had with Scrappy Little Nobody
is that it seemed designed to court readers into believing that Kendrick could be the girl next door who also just happens to be famous. There's something about it, right down to the title, that is emblematic of the idea that celebs, unobserved, are actually "just like us," as Us Weekly
has put it for so long. When, of course, they're not.
Why does it trouble me, this insistence that — apart from the red carpet glamour and the wealth and, obviously, fame — certain stars are Average Joes and Janes while off duty (if, indeed, there is such a thing as an off-duty celeb)? I don't have a completely clarified answer to that. But I'll credit some of it to what I call my Goop Theorem, named for Gwyneth Paltrow's lifestyle brand. Bear with me a moment while I explain the fundamentals:
Paltrow couldn't be less
of an "average" woman. Born into Hollywood royalty, she's sort of like a genetically blessed alien who is allergic to anything that might seem even a touch pedestrian. We came to like her (or not) because of her roles on the big screen. But these days, Paltrow isn't courting Oscar nominations so much as public appeal through her cookbooks, website, and Instagram. These channels are all meant to sell us on a version of Gwyneth that is relatable — but more specifically, sellable. We're being marketed Gwyneth Paltrow™ under the guise of getting to know the real Gwyneth Paltrow.