Unqualified by Anna Faris
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This book has been my slow-read, on my iPhone (that's a book on my phone's Kindle app that I read whenever I need to kill time, or can't listen to my audiobook. I only do this with books that are episodic or with anthologies) over the past two weeks.
I've sometimes enjoyed Anna Faris' odd, almost nerdy but still broad form of comedy. I've listened to her podcast once in a while. But I'd have to be honest to say that I don't know what to make of this book. It's three parts love letter to her ex-husband Chris Pratt, two parts all about relationships (not just with her men but with her friends, and even with her son) and one part TMI. (I really don't need to know how long it took her to be comfortable with masturbating or how long it's been since she did while her husband was away for four months...) Faris also talks about acting and the business in some forthright passages. The thing that is confounding about this book is precisely the "three parts." Her love for Chris is written all over this book and yet as a reader, sadly, you question some of the veracity of what she relates because of the breakup and because of their joint statement about how hard they worked to make it work and it didn't, etc. None of that comes across in this book. While I don't need to read anything about the reasons why they broke up, given that they did (which is very sad, mind you) I don't know how much of what she's written about him or about the two of them (which is a lot, by the way) is true or was just sugar coating, Hollywood style. Would I have questioned any of it if they were still together? If she waited five years after they divorced and published it as a memoir of her early life and marriage, would it have been the same book? Who knows. It's an odd feeling to get to the end of a memoir and be wondering how much of this is true. Although, honestly, I guess you can wonder that about almost anyone's recounting of their version of their life. Ultimately, this book made me sad for both Faris and Pratt.
Beyond the veracity issue, I felt the book could have been more tightly edited. I felt it would have served her better as an author to have pinned things down to a rough timeline. After the first chapter things just jump around in an almost ADHD way. It may be representative of Faris' thought processes or it may be because she wrote the book over a period of time in an almost stream of consciousness fashion and her editor didn't want to overhaul it.
All in all, an odd read.
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