25 January 2018

Unqualified by Anna Faris

I knew that this book was coming out for a long time and I had zero interest in reading it until I learned that Faris and husband Chris Pratt were getting a divorce. I hate to even write the sentence that her divorce likely helped the book sales, but I'm sure it did. Pratt wrote the foreword to this book, but it was released in stores after their divorce was announced. I was desperate to see how they wrote about each other in the months leading up to their public announcement. I am also obsessed with celebrities so nobody really had to twist my arm, ya know?

This is another one of those celebrity memoirs I love to blow through on a lazy day somewhere. My boyfriend bought me it for Christmas and I read it in a few hours before we were even into the new year. Faris covers a lot of topics including parenting, becoming an actress, and her podcast (called Anna Faris is Unqualified), but mostly the book centers around relationships and what she's learned so far about herself and men. I enjoyed it, it was cute and entertaining.

While it's clear Faris wrote the book pre-divorce, the foreword by Pratt was not the soul-crushing pre-divorce love letter I expected it to be and I'd guess he wrote it post-divorce. He was likely contractually still bound to the project, although he still has only nice things to say about her. 

I liked this book a lot because I agreed with a lot of Faris' relationship advice. I don't agree with a lot of the mainstream advice like 'don't go to bed mad'... my boyfriend and I literally need to go to sleep if we're fighting so it can be over the next day. It can be 1pm and if we're in a fight I'm all "okayyy bedtime... let's wake up tomorrow nicer to each other". Faris, on the other hand, seems really smart and practical about how she approaches things... for example:

I've heard the suggestion that I don't need a tight group of girlfriends anyway, because Chris should be my best friend. But I've never bought that. The idea that your mate must be your best friend feels to me like an overused mantra that puts unnecessary pressure on your relationship."

She also carries on about weddings in the exact same vein as I do... I love weddings don't get me wrong, but all of the shenanigans associated with them are a bit uncomfortable for me. Especially elaborate engagements. I laughed out loud at this passage:

I don't know where along the way we became a culture that mandates ' you must conceive of some crazy trickery that will later be deemed romantic'. It's fun for the surpriser, but not the surprisee. And then there's some poor woman who's like, "Holy shit, should I be doing this? Well, I can't say no now that he's created a scavenger hunt leading me to a ring on a chain around my dog's neck, who then barked three times and my whole family - in from out of town! - jumped out from behind the couch to start the celebrations before I've even answered... so Okay! Yes! I do!"

Then there's this amazing tidbit:

Both Ben and Chris asked my father if it was okay to propose to me, and in both cases my dad said that while of course he thought it was very considerate of them to ask, it was 'unnecessary because it is completely my daughter's  choice.'"

I'm obsessed with my dad. Obviously I want him to feel respected and considered, but he also raised me to be a whole person who makes good decisions and knows what's best for me... so I also think the whole 'ask the dad' thing is maybe unnecessary. I really think parents just maintain this tradition because they want the scoop first, to be in on the little secret. I'm also 100% confident I'd never marry someone my dad didn't respect anyways. 

I don't know that I'd consider this book funny, but I've also never been a huge fan of Faris' comedic style anyways. I forget a lot of the stuff she's in, and without being insensitive to her well-deserved career as an actress, she tends to play someone a bit dumb and slutty in everything I can remember (House BunnyWhat's Your Number?Scary Movie, etc.)... and I prefer more of a Kristin Wig type role to this type in my preferred comedies... but everyone has their own preferences.

One of the things I forgot she was in was Friends! How could we forget, one of Joey's jillion sisters. Faris wrote this about her time on set with Friends and I think this is one of the funniest scenarios I can imagine because DO YOU join a group hug with the cast of Friends???

During one run-through [on her guest appearance on Friends], Jennifer Aniston suggested a group hug, and I was standing nearby so I started to take a step forward, but then I took a step back, I just didn't know where to go."

One of my closest friends Marijke has a funny story like this from her first date with her now-husband where they went to the movies and he went to a machine to buy a ticket and she wasn't sure if she was meant to go to another machine and buy her own or not... this is so funny to me because I also would be paralyzed over what to do... anyways hopefully Marijke is fine that this is now on the internet.

Lastly, while I did not get the sapfest from Chris Pratt in the foreword that I wanted (because I think he wrote it post-split), I DID get it from Faris herself (who I think wrote the whole book pre-split). There are so many great passages about her relationship with Pratt, how they started dating (she was already married when they met), Pratt as a father, etc. Starting with the dedication...

To Chris. Your wisdom and strength have made me a better person."

Had I not wanted to read this already, this would have sold me. I also loved this quote because it seems like such a Chris Pratt thing to say (not that I know him at all or the things he'd usually say):

It was kind of Chris to not make me feel guilty that we lived in my old house. It was similar to when I asked him if he was bothered by the fact that I was married before and he said, unsurprisingly, the perfect thing. 'Baby, you were just chilling on ice.'"

And lastly, this passage at the very end of the book. This is the stuff I read books for people:

Chris, thank you for an impossible amount of support and love. Thank you for the flowers. Thank you for finding my credit card at the Kmart in Pheonix. Thank you for the deer jerky. Thank you for laughing at my dumb jokes. Thank you for cutting Jack's hair. But that might have to stop. Thank you for being just about the best person I know. I love you. I wish we had more words for love."

Ugh. I could cry over their divorce every time I read this.

If you like celebrity memoirs / Faris herself or are looking for a book with some tried and true relationship advice, I think you'd love this. I wish it could have made it onto the list we did last year on books to help get over a breakup, because it's perfect for that. Was it the funniest or most insightful book I've ever read? No. But I did really enjoy it and I think a lot of females would. I also definitely see Faris in a different (less dumb, less slutty) light after reading this as well...

1 comment:

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