Monday, October 15, 2012

Audiobook Review: A Little Bit Wicked by Kristin Chenoweth

Kristin Chenoweth is kind of a person hero of mine.  I first "met" her in college when I heard her sing "Taylor the Latte Boy" (still my favorite) on Prairie Home Companion.  And then I was introduced to the wonder that is Wicked.  And my love just grew from there.  I was absolutely devoted to her character on Pushing Daisies and I listen to her CDs all the time (fingers crossed that there are more to come).  I even watched her episode on Glee, even though I hate that show.  Not only does she have an amazing talent, but she's also a Christian with very similar beliefs to my own.  This book, her memoir, tells about her successes and failures in show business as well as her years growing up and some of the more controversial aspects of her career (posing in Playboy, going on The 700 Club, etc).

Writing
Adorable.  Exactly what you'd expect if you are familiar with her work at all.  She's cute and chipper and adorable and the book stays totally true to her style, if you're at all familiar with it.  I wanted to say that it's representative of her as a person, but I don't really know her as a person.  It's representative of the person she portrays?  Is that better?  If you are familiar with her adorable stage personality, you will find more of the same in this book.

Entertainment Value
Obviously I loved reading the behind the scenes stories of her roles in Wicked and Pushing Daisies.  But what I identified the most with was the controversy that Chenoweth describes after he appearance on The 700 Club.  Chenoweth recorded an album of traditional Christian music, hymns and gospel songs that she grew up with, as well as some of her own, and was scheduled for an appearance on The 700 Club.  On the show, she discussed her new CD and her own religious beliefs. 

She was unaware at the time of Pat Robertson's outspoken stance against gay marriage and experienced an instant backlash in the form of boycotts against her CD, her shows, and attacks on her own beliefs.  It wasn't because of her own beliefs (Chenoweth is unapologetic in her approval of gay marriage) or even that those beliefs were even mentioned in her appearance.  But the fact that she had allowed herself to be in any way connected with the show made her a pariah in her community.  At the same time, she responded to the criticism by defending her choice to go on the show to promote her music to its intended community, but also made her own beliefs known. 

To add insult to injury, she was then attacked by the Christian community and asked to step down from her scheduled appearances as the Women of Faith events.  She was damned on one side for not shunning all Christian communities who opposed gay marriage and on the other for having "liberal" beliefs on gay marriage.  That was the moment when I fully connected with her story.  I cannot begin to describe how closely I can identify with being "too conservative" for my liberal friends and "too liberal" for my conservative friends.  It can be so hard to find a place in the middle and I often feel like Luke and I are alone in what we believe.  This was an excellent reminder for me that others deal with the same thing - and that my small-scale issues are at least not being enacted in the public eye. 

Overall, I'm so impressed with Chenoweth's personality and the way she stands up for what she believes, even when it's unpopular with the media or with her more conservative roots.  While I'm not sure I agree with every decision she makes, I so admire how she owns those decisions and doesn't back down.  I also love her willingness to admit to mistakes in her career and personal life and the fact that she never seems to take herself too seriously.

Narration
So freaking cute.  Chenoweth narrates, so obviously there is nothing at all to dislike.  I love audiobooks where the author also narrates - it can really give insight into the book.  You get a much better idea about which lines are intended to be sarcastic and which are intended to be jokes and which are meant to be taken seriously when you know the author is reading it the way it sounds to her.

Overall
If you're a fan of Chenoweth's it's a must read.  I think it will also appeal to those who are interested in show business, particularly musical theater.  And of course I really appreciated her take on religion.  If you're not into musical theater, you're not familiar with Chenoweth, and you're not all that interested in reading celebrity biographies, you'll probably want to avoid this one.

4 comments:

  1. Sounds like a great book.

    Does she talk at all about her relationship with Aaron Sorkin?

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    1. She does! He actually narrates certain portions of the book along with her.

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  2. Oh wow that's really cool. I don't know if you ever watched Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (created by Sorkin), but one of the main characters is based on Chenoweth.

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  3. I loved this book - now I wish I'd listened to the audio!

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