Kendrick talks a lot more about work than most of the other memoirs I've read. A lot of essays are devoted to single films, for example, rather than an essay on making movies in general. This has it's pros and cons. It's definitely not as interesting to me as the personal stuff but she makes it funny and gives a lot of behind the scenes details about other celebrities (which I love) for example... this amazing description of Zac Efron:
"People are just drawn to this guy. They behave like monkeys around him. Women behave like monkeys around most famous men, but it has more of a Magic Mike, aren't-I-being-naughty vibe... But you know those movies where some remote culture sees a dude in armor for the first time and mistakes him for a god? It's like that with Zac. People are drawn to Zac because he has the confidence of The Alpha. In Hawaii, I once watched a pack of local teenagers shadow him around a series of waterfalls like they were baby birds on the Discovery Channel. It was as if they had no choice in the matter."
It's also cool to hear how humbled she was doing huge productions like Into the Woods (2014)... that we watch and sort of take for granted but actually take so much work. To be honest I have not watched Into the Woods because it is just not for me but I can appreciate what she was saying. There is still a good amount of personal stuff layered into this, but I definitely found it to be work-heavy.
"It was Peter Travers's review [of Up in the Air] for Rolling Stone. It read: Kendrick is a revelation. I stood on that tar stain and wept. I was a revelation but I was still broke. At the end of one New York press tour I asked Paramount if I could stay in a less expensive hotel and keep the difference. They said no because 'that's not how it works.'"
The first film Kendrick ever did was Camp (2003) and she writes about it in a lot of detail because naturally it was a large turning point in her life. She touches on one of my favourite topics in this essay, about how in our lives we become so close to individuals and then change chapters and may never see them. This is true for actors on nearly every project they work on and it seems so deeply sad to me (and I know it's not just me because there's a picture of the cast of Harry Potter hugging on their last day of filming that can instantly bring Meghan to tears). Kendrick says it's something you just learn to move on from but I know that would never personally work for me. I would die.
My main impression after reading this is that Kendrick is so normal you almost wonder how much money it would actually take to become the kind of celebrity who doesn't have anxiety anymore. She's also one of those actresses that I think (save a few exceptions) plays the same character in every movie. There are few actors like this... Miles Teller, Aubrey Plaza, Jennifer Garner, etc. and it makes you wonder if that's because the character they're playing is actually just themself. I have to say after reading this book I feel that theory is 100% true. Kendrick always plays this sarcastic, bratty, but kind-hearted character and that's the personality that comes across in the book too. I will stop gushing now before it comes out that I'm secretly in love with her.
"I expected to take an interest in my retirement plan, understanding general car maintenance, and doing my laundry on a schedule instead of three days after I ran out of underwear. But just thinking about that stuff makes me want to lie on the floor and eat packets of Easy Mac until I feel too swollen and turgid to do anything but dream up elaborate ways to murder everyone who says 'life hack'. I power through. I'm still an embarrassment to civilized society, but now I change the toilet paper roll instead of resting it vertically on top of the old one."
If you are a female (or a really cool male), in your twenties, freaking out about your life, enjoy movies, enjoy dry humour, or are looking for something light and fun to read, please read this. I wish now I had put this in my Christmas recommendations over Amy Schumer (sorry Amy) because for the same audience it just is better. The only essay I didn't like was around hypothetical parties she wants to throw. Based on topic alone the essay is sort of dumb. Having read nearly all the other memoirs in this weird female pop culture genre, this was definitely my fave.