My Squirrel Days

My Squirrel Days

Comedian and star of The Office and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Ellie Kemper delivers a hilarious, refreshing, and inspiring collection of essays “teeming with energy and full of laugh-out-loud moments” (Associated Press).“A pleasure. Ellie Kemper is the kind of stable, intelligent, funny, healthy woman that usually only exists in yogurt commercials. But she’s real and she...

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Title:My Squirrel Days
Author:Ellie Kemper
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Edition Language:English

My Squirrel Days Reviews

  • Robin Bonne

    Ellie Kemper writes about her life and acting/comedy career. The parts I enjoyed the most were the ones about her awkward encounters with other people. These felt the most relatable and a few of them made me laugh aloud.

    While there were plenty of jokes, there were times I wished Ellie had used her platform to dig deeper into emotional content. The stories from her life that she recounted seemed a little shallow at times, and very safe.

    Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free copy of th

    Ellie Kemper writes about her life and acting/comedy career. The parts I enjoyed the most were the ones about her awkward encounters with other people. These felt the most relatable and a few of them made me laugh aloud.

    While there were plenty of jokes, there were times I wished Ellie had used her platform to dig deeper into emotional content. The stories from her life that she recounted seemed a little shallow at times, and very safe.

    Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free copy of this ebook in exchange for an unbiased review.

  • Krista

    Although this Author's intro is meant to be gently ironic, it feels like the most truthful passage in

    : Ellie Kemper was asked if she would like to write a book, so she did. What follows is a series of what Kemper calls “essays”, and what I would call “chapters”, in which she tells the story of her life in a tone of light self-deprecation. This reads less HAHAHAAAHAHAHH than an amusing conversation with a friend of a friend – nothing gets too personal and you don't feel any burning desire to probe deeper as you look at your watch and note that time is passing pleasantly enough – and for what it is, this book is fine. (Note: I read an ARC and quotes may not be in their final forms.)

    (Turns out, although I had never wondered: Yes, the computers on the set of

    were connected to the internet and Kemper spent a lot of her time online shopping in the background.) Kemper seems to have been born under a lucky star, into a loving and well-off family. After what sounds like a trauma-free childhood, Kemper attended Princeton (where she fortuitously dropped out of field hockey to join the improv club) and then Oxford, and when she then still didn't know what to do with her life, Kemper's parents continued to support her so the budding comedienne could move to Chicago for an unpaid advertising internship (where her first attempt at writing copy was turned into a local McDonald's radio spot) and where she took intensive classes with various famous Chicago improv groups. After moving to NYC, Kemper continued to work on improv with her fellow Chicago alumni, appeared in a number of national TV commercials that allowed her to quit her one menial job, and after not being hired at

    , she was offered the role on

    . This bump-free career trajectory – and an acting CV that has two sitcoms, one theatrical movie release, and a turn as the cranky vet tech in a training video for vet techs – doesn't really feel dramatic enough or lengthy enough to merit a memoir at this stage in Kemper's life; but she was offered a book deal and she took it (and who could blame her?)

    While on the one hand

    has this persistently chipper and self-deprecating tone, every now and then Kemper tells a story about losing her cool with underlings, confessing that now she channels her “inner Kimmy Schmidt” to remain positive in the face of setbacks (even her mother had to tell her once that yeah, her job sounds hard, but it's a job that plenty of people dream of having.) While reading this book, I got the sense that Kemper was channeling the kind of cheerful and wholesome character that she is known for playing – smiling on the outside while concealing something more interesting at the heart of her – and while a pleasant reading experience, there's nothing really truthy or fascinating or universal to be found here. Still, I am not unhappy to have spent this time with what Kemper put out.

  • Merry Mercurial

    I’m sure network and Netflix studios are teeming with whiteboards on which the same set of adjectives are written (plucky, charismatic, strong yet sensitive, gritty yet unspoiled by modern living, unglamorous yet cuter than a button on an Easter tux worn by a monkey), meant to describe their next break-out TV heroine.

    works in large part because Ellie Kemper nails those whiteboard qualities in a way that feels authentic, no matter how horrifying her character’s origin s

    I’m sure network and Netflix studios are teeming with whiteboards on which the same set of adjectives are written (plucky, charismatic, strong yet sensitive, gritty yet unspoiled by modern living, unglamorous yet cuter than a button on an Easter tux worn by a monkey), meant to describe their next break-out TV heroine.

    works in large part because Ellie Kemper nails those whiteboard qualities in a way that feels authentic, no matter how horrifying her character’s origin story, how absurd her comrades’ character arcs, how many silverfish rain down on her in her apartment whose origin is a question mark all its own. The show is one of TV’s better recent offerings, and I was sincerely looking forward to reading Ellie’s book.

    As is orthodox for comedians’ books, this one includes plenty of growing-up and rising-to-prominence stories. To really grab the reader, stories like these need loads of punched-up comedic detail, and we sometimes we get it—as in the chapter “Boss,” when Ellie recounts putting on a holiday play titled

    with her sister and friend, the plot of the play involving plot-twist miracles that would fill

    writers with envy. She agilely replicates the high stakes her younger self felt and gives us a peek at the origin of her improv skills. Her comedy-in-the-details aptitude is also at work in the chapter “Hulk,” which shows what happens when Ellie does not receive the lentils Ellie was groomed to expect. At her strongest, she can turn even tripping over a speedbump (in the chapter “Diva”) into straight-up adorkable schtick.

    One thing I think you look for in a book like this is an answer to the question “Why you?” Why did Ellie Kemper make it when the comedy world is notoriously both sardine-packed and tough for women? The chapter “Improviser” gives readers the nearest thing to a complete answer. In this chapter, she describes life after graduating from Princeton. She took some time to study British literature at Oxford; then her love of improv resurfaced but hard, so she and a friend moved to New York. And . . . did well. They enrolled in classes, they completed the necessary steps to perform with house improv teams, they auditioned, they wrote, etc.

    While it’s actually nice to hear the story of someone making it through good ol’-fashioned sticktoitiveness, making smart decisions at double or more the frequency of superiorly dumb ones, and (as Ellie herself is sure to credit) a dab of luck, “Improvisor” isn’t a strong point in the book. It doesn’t have the inherent wow factor of a rags-to-riches story, and, hey, that’s certainly nothing to fault Ellie for. My own fantasy future for the world includes WAY fewer people, across the demographic spectrum, starting from “rags” in the first place; if the average memoir of tomorrow were a nice-starting-place-to-glitter-bomb-of-career-fulfillment story, for everyone, then yay. All the better.

    In the meantime, underdogs are easiest to rally behind. Having such a story isn’t enough, of course—you still have to be compelling—but if you

    have such a story, you really have locate those details about your own history and arc that will connect with readers. And in a comedian’s memoir, the constant has to be humor. "Improviser" doesn't reveal an underdog, doesn't offer any particular insight to readers, and (the real issue) doesn't do enough dowsing for comedy.

    I liked her tone for the most part. Self-deprecating is an obvious route with comedy, and it can wear thin fast. While Ellie engages in some of this, she also shares flashes of genuine-sounding self-confidence; it's refreshing.

    While I enjoyed the book overall, I do wonder if waiting a couple more years—when she would conceivably have more projects to talk about—wouldn’t have been a good move. The material, on whole, is enjoyable, but it does sometimes feel stretched.

    Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this copy in exchange for an unbiased review.

  • Scott S.

    I've enjoyed Kemper's solid work in her comedic supporting roles on NBC's

    and on the big screen in

    and

    . Although it seems a little early in her career to pen a memoir - to be fair, she's not alone in this recent and burgeoning cottage industry for under-40 performers - I gave it a look since my community's library had it on their new release shelf.

    Well, it turns out that she can write pretty well, too. Kemper keeps the tone self-deprecating and down

    I've enjoyed Kemper's solid work in her comedic supporting roles on NBC's

    and on the big screen in

    and

    . Although it seems a little early in her career to pen a memoir - to be fair, she's not alone in this recent and burgeoning cottage industry for under-40 performers - I gave it a look since my community's library had it on their new release shelf.

    Well, it turns out that she can write pretty well, too. Kemper keeps the tone self-deprecating and down-to-earth in discussing childhood, schooling, and early jobs. She had a few interesting stories / anecdotes though minimal laugh-out-loud moments. It was a pleasant but conventional book.

  • Krista Regester

    You guysssss.

    These celebs keep trying to convince us that they have important stories to tell, but I just don’t know if they do! There are laughable moments in this but overall I spent a lot of valuable time reading about a brunch order that was missing it’s lentils. SPOILER ALERT: The lentils were just small y’all.

  • Heather K (dentist in my spare time)

    Look, I really, really like

    as an actress and a person. I relate to her a lot as I have a similar upbeat, somewhat spastic personality and a tendency to pee when I laugh too much (TMI??). However, and there is no nice way to say this, sometimes you can be a funny, interesting person but not in a

    kind of way.

    My husband asked me why I wasn't in love with this book and I asked him,

    He said no. Super quickly, I might add.

    Elli

    Look, I really, really like

    as an actress and a person. I relate to her a lot as I have a similar upbeat, somewhat spastic personality and a tendency to pee when I laugh too much (TMI??). However, and there is no nice way to say this, sometimes you can be a funny, interesting person but not in a

    kind of way.

    My husband asked me why I wasn't in love with this book and I asked him,

    He said no. Super quickly, I might add.

    Ellie Kemper is very talented, but she had a lucky, bump-free rise to fame. She is from a very wealthy, cohesive family who supported her financially and emotionally; she went to Princeton where she was free to explore comedy; she got recognized for her talent early on and was cast quickly as an actress and model; and she met and married a great guy and remains happily married. As one white girl from a happy, moderately wealthy family who played mediocre field hockey to another, I say

    - but that journey isn't compelling to

    about.

    Some parts of the book were really, really funny. Ellie Kemper is witty and smart, both things I adore, and some of her dialogue cracked me up. I liked the insights into

    and

    , and I related to her parenting sections, but I couldn't stop thinking that this book should have been written maybe 10 years from now when Ellie Kemper has more to say.

    I hate to say this, but the story wasn't funny enough to just be a funny memoir without a really interesting backstory about Ellie Kemper's rise to fame. I found her to be charming, but the book never rose above just okay for me.

    *Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*

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  • Raeleen Lemay

    This was... fine. I laughed like two times, but the majority of the book read like Kimmy Schmidt took over Ellie Kemper’s body and wrote it. Maybe that’s just how she talks/writes, but it came across as very forced to me. Still a vaguely enjoyable read, but not exactly what I was expecting. When I read a celebrity biography, I expect funny stories about their life and also for them to talk about the shows/movies I know them from. In this book, there were a tiny chapter each for The Office, Kimmy

    This was... fine. I laughed like two times, but the majority of the book read like Kimmy Schmidt took over Ellie Kemper’s body and wrote it. Maybe that’s just how she talks/writes, but it came across as very forced to me. Still a vaguely enjoyable read, but not exactly what I was expecting. When I read a celebrity biography, I expect funny stories about their life and also for them to talk about the shows/movies I know them from. In this book, there were a tiny chapter each for The Office, Kimmy Schmidt, and Bridesmaids, and the rest were bland essays about rather uninteresting events from Ellie’s life.

    I still love her, but this book wasn’t the best!

  • StMargarets

    Ellie Kemper is a nice Catholic girl from the mid-west. I can say this because I'm a nice Catholic girl from the mid-west and I recognize my own.

    Being a nice Catholic girl from the mid-west, being born into a very wealthy St. Louis family, going to Princeton, and then having your wealthy family support you while you wait to break into show business doesn't make for a very interesting memoir, however.

    From the author's telling and from what I've read in her Wikipedia entry her first 36 years have

    Ellie Kemper is a nice Catholic girl from the mid-west. I can say this because I'm a nice Catholic girl from the mid-west and I recognize my own.

    Being a nice Catholic girl from the mid-west, being born into a very wealthy St. Louis family, going to Princeton, and then having your wealthy family support you while you wait to break into show business doesn't make for a very interesting memoir, however.

    From the author's telling and from what I've read in her Wikipedia entry her first 36 years have been charmed. Not playing much for the field hockey team at Princeton and some disappointing auditions are the few clouds she acknowledges in her sunny life. And that's fine. It's kind of a breath of fresh air to read about someone who has done the right things and is rewarded for it.

    The book is episodic,with short chapters. although arranged in chronological order. Each one would make for a cute story to tell on the Tonight Show.

    The title refers to an incident as a child when she communed with squirrels in her back yard and ended up falling into a stream and having the squirrel laugh unsympathetically. By contrast, Mindy Kaling's memoir is called

    , which spells out her philosophy of success and Tina Fey's is called

    , which explains her drive and ambition. I wish EK would have reflected a bit more in her memoir, but that might be her sunny super power

    - just accepting what comes her way without guilt or worry.

    I wish her all the best as Kimmy Schmidt is winding down. I do like her on screen.

  • Ellie

    I JUST GOT APPROVED ON NETGALLEY BRB SCREAMING :D

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