My Squirrel Days by Ellie Kemper


I have recently been trying to read more non-fiction books and post-Christmas with a busy week at work ahead of me I thought I would pick up something that may brighten up a dull January day. As a result I thought My Squirrel Days, a memoir from actress Ellie Kemper, would be a good place to start.

Ellie is a familiar face to many, having starred in the hit 2011 film Bridesmaids as well as a role in The Office which is one of my all time favourite sitcoms. With this in mind I was looking forward to finding out more about her early life, and the events leading up to these roles. From the opening pages I found her voice to be engaging, and there were several amusing stories from her life some of which were certainly relatable. In my case I particularly enjoyed the story of a beloved childhood toy gone astray, as well as a reference back to the Babysitters Club book series which I loved growing up. And I even shared common ground with a pesky squirrel who happened to share my name (and eating habits) Throughout the book we build up a bit of a picture of Kemper’s early life, her loving family, and the path she took to make it in comedy, which subsequently led to the exciting projects she is a part of today.

Onscreen, Kemper’s characters are bright and positive, and particularly in the case of Kimmy Schmidt, offer a cheerful outlook, despite past traumas and the negativity that can surround us. And in My Squirrel Days, she adopts much the same tone, with a largely positive, confident voice, along with a little self depreciation. Amongst the chapters there are stories of friends and family life, awkward encounters and life changing ones. As a fan of The Office in particular, I enjoyed the little snippets about her time on set, and would have loved to read more about this particular role. Whilst I wish these sections were longer, I did find them quite interesting, offering a little bit of insight into life on set for the actors, a little glimmer of a showbiz world. And also, whilst not usually a fan of footnotes, I did find their use here to be entertaining, as were the accompanying pictures which helped add to these stories.

I enjoyed reading My Squirrel Days, and found it to be an entertaining, uplifting collection of tales which was an ideal read to help escape the doom and gloom of modern life, through the humorous stories of a much loved actress.

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