Genre: Nonfiction, Comedy, Memoir
Release Date: October 9, 2018
My Book Rating: 🍪🍪🍪🍪
I was initially drawn to Ellie Kemper’s memoir because of the title. Having grown up surrounded by forest in New Hampshire, I took one look at the cover and thought, “Were those years, in fact, MY squirrel days?” Once the idea was planted in my mind, I realized that is exactly how I would classify my entire childhood (and maybe a little bit into the present? Who can say really). In any case, I knew I had to read this, plus, I love Ellie* in both The Office and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
I’m not sure that I’ve ever actually laughed out loud while reading a book before. I loved both of Mindy Kaling’s memoirs, and it’s been a while since I read them, so there may have been a chuckle or two going on while I perused those, but nothing earth shattering. My Squirrel Days had me consistently giggling to myself. Each essay that Kemper includes in her book is a precious nugget of humor that made me A. Want to meet her, B. Never want to stop reading, and C. laugh until I cried. (I refrained from this last one as much as possible because I wouldn’t want to soil the pages of such a fantastic read with my tears).
In addition to being funny, I found a number of these stories relatable beyond Ellie and my mutual childhood interest in squirrels. For instance, Ellie includes an entire story focused on her “fervent devotion to the sign-off “Best,” which I too, refuse to waver from at the end of every work email I have ever sent. Ellie’s also not afraid to make fun of herself. One of my absolute favorite stories she includes, towards the end of the book, centers around her being a little bit of a Hollywood diva. My favorite line from this segment is inserted here for your enjoyment:
“I don’t have a thong,” I said softly, my chin quivering. “I need to wear a thong underneath my Jeggings so there won’t be any underwear seams showing, but my thong isn’t here.”
Celebrities, they’re just like us. (Okay so maybe not all of the stories are that relatable).
With all the praise I’ve been aggressively throwing at this book, you may be wondering ‘Why only four stars then? What about the fifth?’ This guy got four stars for a couple of reasons. First off, it was too short. I know that kind of seems like a cop out “too much of a good thing” and all that, but really, this was a very short collection of stories. I guess it was probably on par with the length of most celebrity memoirs, but I was still disappointed with how quickly I whipped through it. The acknowledgments took up quite a few pages at the end, so I didn’t even realize my reading was about to be cut short when Ellie announced that she wanted to end her memoir with the word “pants,” and then proceeded to do so.
Additionally, I’m used to reading narratives with a little more grit, stories that are heftier, so flying through essays about thongs and lentils seemed a little, I don’t know, too easy? I felt like I needed to be reading something else concurrently in order to really be reading something, but I sped through the book so quickly that I didn’t even have a chance (see point number one about how short it was).
All in all, Ellie Kemper’s writing was delightful, and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for her. If you’re looking for a fun light read, or just need a good laugh, I would highly recommend grabbing a copy of My Squirrel Days (and maybe a cupcake to go along with it).
*Referring to her by first name only may give off the impression that I know her — I don’t — including her full name was just getting repetitive.