There is something part-Tudor about this enterprise, from the ornate high-necked collar to the fact that the pattern looks like it could be hanging on a wall at Hampton Court (or on a throw draped casually on one of Henry VIII’s beds). It’s vibrant and a little weird — much like Ellie Kemper herself, from what I can glean, and that’s not an insult — and in all looks completely cute on her. The eye makeup might be a little heavy, though, because it’s changing the shape of her face somehow. Also, can we discuss celebrity memoirs for a moment? There are WAY TOO MANY of them, and all of them written by people fairly early on in their journeys. Ellie is promoting My Squirrel Days, which they are pegging as not a traditional memoir, but rather… a collection of essays about her life. (So… a non-linear memoir.) And her life is that of someone who grew up well-off in the Midwest and then had a lot of great career things happen to her, so… there isn’t really a hook there, unless it’s, “Hey, the lady who plays Kimmy Schmidt sure is nice.”
I’ve decided that publishing should nix memoirs from anyone under, say, 55. Is that ageist? Maybe. And yes, I realize that means we’d have been denied an early read of — for example — Rob Lowe’s delight of a tome. But for the most part I think a person’s stories are best retold with as much as possible of the hindsight that age and wisdom can bring, and the younger you are and the more you still think you have to lose, the less honest you might be — with yourself or with anyone else. A friend recently brought up Amy Schumer’s book in this capacity, as that of someone with an interesting and messy backstory who lacked the distance and perspective to commit it to the page at this point in time. Or, yes, Posh Spice’s book she “wrote” about herself, Learning to Fly, was amusing. But it was also skin-deep at best; get back to me when she’s 80 and she’s ready to stick it to David and Anna Wintour and anyone else. Justin Bieber was practically still in puberty when he published the first book he supposedly penned about his life, and while I’m all for keeping a diary and remembering how you feel during the insane rise to megafame, you cannot tell me his wouldn’t be a WAY better read when he’s in his fifties and can look back at that plus all the rumors and truths of what’s happening now, and won’t care about laying it all bare. And I’d much rather have read 75-year old Amy Poehler’s musings than her hot-off-Parks-and-Rec book that frequently references how hard it is to write a book, and whether we’re bored, and whether she can stop writing yet. To me, the best and most enlightening autobiographies are often the ones from people who’ve really LIVED. The older they are, the more they’ve seen, the more they’ve reflected — and the fewer f*cks they have to give, so the juice factor will increase. They are gonna SPILL IT.
Anyway, I’d be curious to know where you fall on it, and which memoirs you think were worth not waiting for — I’m sure someone will say Tina Fey’s, although I’d heard mixed reviews on that one, too — and which would’ve benefited from space and time.