My Squirrel Days

My Squirrel Days

Comedian and star of The Office and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Ellie Kemper delivers a hilarious and uplifting collection of essays about one pale woman’s journey from Midwestern naïf to Hollywood semi-celebrity to outrageously reasonable New Yorker.There comes a time in every sitcom actress’s life when she is faced with the prospect of writing a book. When Ellie Kemper’s n...

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Title:My Squirrel Days
Author:Ellie Kemper
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My Squirrel Days Reviews

  • Brandon Forsyth

    Like a Norman Rockwell housewife secretly plotting to murder her perfect family (WITH COMEDY), Ellie Kemper deliciously sets up and then undercuts her shucks-golly Midwestern persona in this charming collection of essays, loosely structured around the idea of the different "roles" she's played in her life. I found them totally charming and often laugh-out-loud funny. That's right Internet, I spelled out lol. DEAL WITH IT.

  • 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.

  • Lindsay

    I like Ellie Kemper. She seems like a nice, fun person. But as far as her storytelling goes, I feel like not enough of the things she's experience in life are all that interesting. That sounds mean, I'm sorry. For me, I don't find improv that interesting, and she did a lot of that before becoming an actress. I didn't know that about her. I also thought her story about the times she's been to Europe & Japan a little dry. There were definitely some funny parts throughout the book and I want to

    I like Ellie Kemper. She seems like a nice, fun person. But as far as her storytelling goes, I feel like not enough of the things she's experience in life are all that interesting. That sounds mean, I'm sorry. For me, I don't find improv that interesting, and she did a lot of that before becoming an actress. I didn't know that about her. I also thought her story about the times she's been to Europe & Japan a little dry. There were definitely some funny parts throughout the book and I want to check out Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and even rewatch The Office. I did like that it wasn't full of language and she didn't feel the need to talk about her 'first time'. I liked that there were pictures, but there could've been more. People like pictures. But I hated the footnotes, because I just hate footnotes.

  • 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 overloaded with whiteboards sporting the same set of adjectives (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

    I’m sure network and Netflix studios are overloaded with whiteboards sporting the same set of adjectives (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 rainbow-unicorns view of an ideal future has WAY fewer people—across the demographic spectrum—starting from “rags” in the first place; if the mean 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.

  • Chelsea

    DNF @ 48% - Ellie Kemper seems like a lovely person, but this memoir is just so, so average.

  • 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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  • Colleen C

    While I'm a self-professed lover of celebrity memoirs, I wasn't in love with Ellie Kemper's My

    . Although there were a couple of entertaining essays, many of the topics were mundane and sometimes boring (e.g. complaining to waiters about a lentil and quinoa salad; joking about telling grandchildren about taking 500 SoulCycle classes). While I think any topic can be interesting in the hands of the good writer, I just didn't care much for style of writing in this collection. I also wi

    While I'm a self-professed lover of celebrity memoirs, I wasn't in love with Ellie Kemper's My

    . Although there were a couple of entertaining essays, many of the topics were mundane and sometimes boring (e.g. complaining to waiters about a lentil and quinoa salad; joking about telling grandchildren about taking 500 SoulCycle classes). While I think any topic can be interesting in the hands of the good writer, I just didn't care much for style of writing in this collection. I also wish that Ellie had provided more detailed insight into working on the sets of The Office and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

    (Note: Thank you to NetGalley and Scribner for the opportunity to review this ARC ahead of publication).

  • Ellie

    I JUST GOT APPROVED ON NETGALLEY BRB SCREAMING :D

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