It’s not very often that I read autobiographies when I’m opting for a new choice of book. I tend to like something short and easy reading, and in general I’m not that interested enough in anyone to want to read about their life, but when I heard Anna Faris was releasing a book I knew it would be one which I ended up getting. If you saw my post about Podcasts a few months ago, you’ll know that her’s is my favourite. When that pops up on my phone as downloaded, I pause what ever else I’m listening to (still making my way through catching up on My Favourite Murder), and put it straight on. Anna has my sense of humour, I find her charming and intelligent and I love the mix of celebrities and “real people” in her podcast and I was hoping to see that in some ways that would be echoed into her book.
I’ve said multiple times in the past that whilst I love reading, I do most of my reading when we’re on holiday, I really struggle to get myself into a the regular pattern of reading whilst at home after a day of staring at a screen I just don’t have the concentration levels for it when I get home, and it needs to be a book that I really, really want to read for me to actually dedicate and set time aside for it. This book was so good it stayed in my handbag, it was read in any opportunity I had, writing blog posts on lunch breaks were swapped for getting a cup of tea and reading the book, a squeeze in of a chapter before Ben got home and when I should have been starting cooking our evening meal. That’s the sign of a good book, a book that I make time for even though I feel like I don’t have time for it, a routine disrupting read.
I wasn’t quite expecting just how much the podcast and the book would be interlinked, it didn’t feel like a repeat of content that you’d heard before, but three of the regularly played segments which are normally presented to the podcasts guests were presented in front of Anna instead. those being ‘How Would You Proceed’ – about weird hypothetical scenarios, often when another celebrity would ask you to do something bizarre, ‘Dealbreakers’ – imagining you’re single and dating someone new and they have an obscure quality about them and would you continue to date them.
This is not a full blown traditional autobiography – it’s a mixture of stories about relationships, mostly romantic relationships – some friendship and family, and also Anna’s relationship with herself. Rather than talking through her life story of what life was like when she was filming Scary Movie, it focusses around relationships at different stages of her life with lessons and advice on what has been learnt along the way.
There are parts of the book which are way more revealing than you’d expect from a traditional celebrity book, there are some points which left me with my jaw open. The Foreword – or Forward from Chris Pratt is funny and touching, when this book was first announced – and with the Foreword being by Chris, within weeks their separation had been announced, somehow, with no doubt a really difficult turn around some tenses have been changed in the book and the acknowledgement that they’re now co-parents rather than a married relationship is reflected in the book. So it doesn’t feel out of date or like it’s no longer current, it feels entirely relevant.
The one issue I had with the book is that it left me wanting more, I felt like the first chapters were the most revealing, the ones where she talked about losing her virginity, getting stoned at college and starting out in Hollywood. But the chapters around the more significant relationships in her life, most of all with Chris felt skimmed over. I wonder whether there were parts of the book that might have been revised or removed post-breakup, it feeling too raw to put parts of her relationship out there. It’s understandable, but I kind of wanted this big gushing chapter and it never really came.
If you’re a fan of the podcast then there’s no way you’re not going to enjoy this book, however you don’t need to be a fan of the podcast either if it’s a book you’d like to read.
The next books I’ve got to read are Louise Pentland’s book (which I’ve had for ages, sorry Lora, I’ll read it soon!) as well as another celebrity book by Anna Kendrick (so many Anna Books).