12/5/17

Anna Faris - Unqualified - REVIEW

 


I really love learning about people. Whether it's individuals, or larger sections of society, I've always enjoyed learning about others - from the most fascinating differences among us, to the mundane details most would find boring. Ironically, I'm not all that comfortable around others, especially strangers (hello social anxiety, meet introversion), but I love learning about their lives. So when I come across a memoir, I'd definitely a sucker.




I think what I love most about memoirs is that a good one has the ability to let us into the lives of people, typically with some sort of status, and allow us to realize that they're not always as different as they might seem. A good memoir challenges the idea that all famous people are alien beings with no ounce of "normalcy" within them. Famous people are imperfect - they struggle, they fuck up - and I like when they're brave enough to share that in book form. I love learning where people grew up, what their childhood was like, and how they navigated life up until now. It's just fascinating to me.

I typically am drawn to memoirs of actors it seems. I've never had any interest in being an actor, but I'm a huge TV junkie so I like learning more about the people behind some of the roles I've loved over the years. Anna Faris is one of those people. I just love her on MOM, which I personally think is a lovely, and underrated show. It's not just a comedy - it's a comedy that challenges people's assumptions of others, explores difficult topics, and it's just plain comforting and enjoyable to watch! So when I heard she had come out with a book, I wanted to read it immediately. Of course, I was busy with grad school classes at the time, so it had to wait - but I finally finished it today and I wanted to sit down and share some of my thoughts on the book.

First let me say that it was really challenging, yet enjoyable to try and pace myself with reading this book. I have a bad habit of trying to rush through books and pump out as much "pleasure" reading as possible when I'm in between semesters. Of course, doing so sort of takes away a bit of the pleasure and I'm trying to be better about that. I'm trying to remove the pressure I put on myself when it comes to reading for enjoyment. I often feel that if I want to review a book, I need to read it ASAP in order to be relevant. I've always felt pressure to read quickly, but I think that the way the book community has evolved in recent years through social media has amplified the pressure some of us feel when it comes to reading. Ariel Bisset did a wonderful video on this recently - in many ways, she took the words right from my mind! I have always loved reading, and now, I'm trying to just allow myself to read as casually (or aggressively), as I feel like in a particular moment.

Now back to the book. Unqualified is in many ways, your typical memoir. However, Anna has sort of refreshed the format a bit by also making the book part advice/self-help. It's an interesting set-up that I feel allows the reader to feel more engaged as they progress through the book. It also makes it feel like you're flying through the book quicker because some chapters are more dense, while others are quote collections or lists.

Although I typically don't find an interest in advice style books, I did find aspects of this element to be rather interesting. I enjoyed how she intertwined the advice she has given through her podcast, with her own personal experiences. It allows for her advice to feel less preachy, and more like introspection. Also, although the advice aspect is typically directed toward romantic relationships, I actually feel that much of it can be applied to other relationships in our lives as well. There is a theme through the stories and advice given about trying to avoid, and get out of toxic relationships. Bad relationships aren't saved exclusively for romantic ones. Sometimes we need to cut out bad friends, or even family. Sometimes a job can be more mentally draining than it is worth. The advice in Unqualified easily translates to many conflicts we might face in life.

While I did enjoy the advice in the book more than I thought I honestly would, my favorite aspects were still the more traditional memoir style sections where Faris shared her story and life experiences. It's just what draws me to a memoir in the first place. Despite often discussing her ego, I think that Anna actually comes off as being quite humble. She has found her niche in the world of acting and I think it suits her. She might not be a top "Hollywood name", but everyone can't be - and perhaps shouldn't be. Maybe I see the value in this because I'm not as into movies as I am television anyways. I'm a sitcom obsessive and I honestly could name ten favorite actors and they'd all be from TV. I feel like TV actors are more approachable for lack of a better way of explaining it. Perhaps its because they're frequently playing roles that have realistic elements.

Anyway, I enjoyed reading Unqualified, but the personal stories were definitely my favorite. I actually would have preferred more. As much as I enjoyed reading the book, I would have loved if it had been more personal, and less advice. I realize that the book is meant to be a pairing of both, but it's just what I prefer. To anyone who is a fan of Anna Faris, or any of her work, I would recommend you read Unqualified. It was a nice, enjoyable read and it definitely made me a bigger fan. That's typically what a memoir does for me - a good memoir breaks down some of the walls that exist between us and the person the book is about. It allows them to become more relatable - and more "human". Unqualified does this - I just craved a bit more. ;)

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