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Shrill Paperback – February 28, 2017
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The Amazon Book Review
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"Lindy West's memoir is a witty and cathartic take on toxic misogyny and fat shaming. She comes to accept her body just as Internet trolls congregate en masse to try to rip this new confidence from her, but she's rearing to fight back...In Shrill, West is our fat, ferocious, and funny avenging angel."―NPR, Best Books of 2016
"It made me hurt, both from laughing and crying. Required reading if you are a feminist. Recommended reading if you aren't."―Jenny Lawson, #1 bestselling author of Let's Pretend This Never Happened and Furiously Happy
"Lindy West is an essential (and hilarious) voice for women. Her talent and bravery have made the Internet a place I actually want to be. Thank you, Lindy."―Lena Dunham, #1 bestselling author of Not That Kind of Girl
"Hey reader! I thought I'd read enough in this lifetime about people's childhoods and feelings and such and I'd never want to do it again. But Lindy West is such a totally entertaining and original writer she kind of blew that thought out of my head halfway into the first chapter. I dare you to feel differently."―Ira Glass, This American Life
"It's literally the new Bible."―Caitlin Moran, bestselling author of How to Be a Woman
"One of the most distinctive voices advancing feminist politics through humor...With patience, humor and a wildly generous attitude toward her audience [West] meets readers at their point of prejudice so that she may, with little visible effort, shepherd them toward a more humane point of view."―The New York Times Book Review
"Lindy West is funny. That's the first thing you should know about her essay collection on feminism, fat acceptance, and Internet harassment....Lindy has faced so many intolerable and enraging situations as a fat woman who is outspoken in her writing and on social media, but she always frames her negative experiences with humor and perspective. With her clear-eyed insights into modern culture and her confidence in her own intelligence and personal worth, West appeals to the humanity of even the most parents' basement-dwelling, misogynistic and casually hateful of trolls."―Esquire, Best Books of 2016
"There's a reason Lindy West is such a beloved writer: she gets to the heart of impossible issues with humor and grace. West will have you cringing, laughing and crying, all within one page. Shrill is a must-read for all women."―Jessica Valenti, author of Why Have Kids and Full Frontal Feminism
"The surge of love and joy I felt while crylaughing through this book almost made my cold dead heart explode. Lindy is so smart and so funny that it almost hurts my little jealous-ass feelings. She is my most favorite writer ever."―Samantha Irby, author of Meaty
"Ask West one question, and the feminist writer and film critic's answer feels like wandering into an extraordinarily engaging women's studies class taught by your favorite comedian. West pings back and forth between astute commentary about the role of women in society to clever asides on the idiocy of trolls to riotous observations about life on the Internet."―Cosmopolitan
About the Author
Lindy West is a Seattle-based writer, editor, and performer whose work focuses on pop culture, social justice, humor, and body image. She's currently a culture writer for GQ magazine and GQ.com and a weekly columnist at The Guardian, as well as the founder and editor of I Believe You | It's Not Your Fault, an advice blog for teens. In 2015 she wrote and recorded a story for This American Life about confronting an Internet troll who impersonated her dead father. She also was listed as "Internet's Most Fascinating of 2015" by Cosmopolitan.com, and helped launch the viral #ShoutYourAbortion hashtag in defense of women's reproductive rights.
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When I attended Lindy West’s first reading on her book tour for Shrill last week, she mentioned that she wanted “think pieces” about her work because with those, a person learns what works but also what they can fix.
So, I thought about it and decided I’d try that approach with my little review that, admittedly, probably only two people will read (Hi Mom! Hi random person who thought this was something else!). So, here goes.
In the first sections, the book is hilariously funny and I immediately worried because I wasn’t sure how West could sustain that level of funny. Well, she didn’t. Darn her, she took it at exactly the right moment down a more serious path. It was a perfect shift so she can’t fix that.
But then she kept it a balance of serious and funny for several chapters and I thought, hmmm, is she going to lose the tension here? And whamo, just like that, salty drops of liquid burst from my eye sockets and yet again, she’d achieved a perfect transition and I was left sniffling as I dried the pages of her book. Can’t fix that either.
I am pleased to tell you, however, that I did find one problem. On page 177, second half of paragraph three, she writes “Hari wrote for the show;…” Well, I’ll have you know that by page 177, I’d forgotten who the hell Hari was. So there.
Yeah, that’s it. Truth is, this book is excellent. I would like every woman I care about to read it because I think it will be a salve for her soul. And I would like every other person to also read it because I am certain they will learn something meaningful. I would particularly like the men in my life to read it because I believe it will help you better understand the importance of language and how hurtful words can be, even when that is not the intent.
West takes us on her journey in dealing with issues like body image, social responsibility in comedy, internet trolls, grief and love, in a manner that even if we haven’t had these same experiences, we feel included. Her writing is so fluid and accessible that she brings the universals of the human condition to the surface throughout.
I was particularly moved by sections that evoked emotions around shame that I’ve long tried to suppress and yet was grateful when she followed up with lighter passages using her well honed comedic timing to save you from giving up or crumbling from the visceral depictions she includes.
Perhaps the most important element, however, was that she left me with the key message that what we do in life matters.
What Lindy West has done in her life matters tremendously because she has helped to shift our collective thinking on so many issues – fat shaming, rape culture and abortion, to name a few – and the world (at least my world) is a better place for her actions. Through documenting this work in her memoir, West reminds us that we can all do our part, even if in the tiniest of ways, to make the world better – safer – for one another.
If you don’t already, you should also follow her work in GQ and The Guardian. You should also head over to tumblr and start reading the remarkable essays on the blog West started in 2014 called I Believe You | It’s Not Your Fault. (You might even find one by yours truly there.) Also do yourself a favor and listen to her episode of This American Life. I truly believe she is one of the most important voices of our time.
So, again, add Shrill to your reading list and put it at the top. It is a quick, entertaining read, but also one that may either validate emotions you too may have tried to suppress or at least help you to see new perspectives on how things could be better for all of us.
If nothing else, you’ll laugh. A lot.
There's touching parts and real depth and sadness and a whole range of emotions and things maybe some readers haven't thought about but they totally should if they're human. I heard her on This American Life read a bit from the book with a bit from Hello, I'm Fat and I laughed so hard I had to look her up. I don't partake in online media or network blather because I find it to be too big a pond with a lot of garbage in it, if I did, I'm sure I would have heard of her before. But this is better. A memoir by a young person who you'd absolutely want as a friend or maybe a therapist. Big world issues in here and calling people on the carpet for acting blindly, my favorite, Dan Savage's wake up call. I've never been able to wrap my brain around the appeal of that guy written or oral, for someone who wants to be accepted for exactly who he is he is kinda smug.
We need voices like Lindy West in the world and the World of Women and Internet and Body Image and Humor. A thinking woman's book. I loved it and finished it in 2 days. I haven't done that since I was going to be tested on it the next day.
I could riff here on Al Gore's book about climate change, which is called "An Inconvenient Truth" - Lindy's book could be called "An Uncomfortable Truth" because she takes on the last "acceptable" prejudice. People who wouldn't dream of being biased about gays, blacks, or other religions are still incredibly biased about fat people...especially women. So this is not only a funny and brave book, but an important book. Any woman who has felt even a fleeting few minutes of "body shame" should read it. Any person who is reading this and thinking, "I'm not prejudiced about anyone," should read it. Any woman who has had an abortion, or who has judged another for making that choice, should read this. Frankly, if you are human and you eat, pray or love, read this book.
I have always been resistant to the concept of feminism as portrayed by media and the Church... but this is not the dreadful picture they painted. This book makes you aware of the lies we have accepted about our bodies, and the struggles women face for equal treatment. I feel hopeful about my future in a way I hadn't realized I was missing after reading this book.
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I as a fat person, (and I am using fat to keep this short but also because...Read more