- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 6 hours and 9 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Hachette Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: May 17, 2016
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01DDZ3EY2
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman Audiobook – Unabridged
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For example, she's irreverent about the issue of abortion. She doesn't appreciate the perspective of those who might disagree with her - which pretty much causes me to immediately lose respect for people. She likens abortion to having oral surgery and completely ignores the fact that many individuals see it as a moral issue. Instead she takes the "it's my body" angle, ignoring the rest, and then beats the reader over the head with her perspective. It doesn't seem to occur to her that abortion could be viewed as a tool of oppression and that there's plenty of crossover in viewpoints about it, such as Feminists for Life whose motto is "Women deserve better than abortion." Women, including West herself, have abortions because they feel trapped, not empowered. Then people like her perpetuate the entrapment and call it liberation. It's not. Regardless of your view on women's rights, abortion is not a tool of empowerment.
She also makes huge generalizations about our culture that I find to be ignorant. She talks about how our culture is obsessed with, "punishing female sexuality and shackling women to the nursery and the kitchen." Really? Because as a stay at home mom I find the opposite - the moms in my neighborhood think I'm a freak for having more than two kids and not having a real "career." So really a lot depends on your own perspective and I just really don't appreciate being denigrated for being "shackled" to my children. Is that what feminism is? Maybe feminism should be women loving and respecting each other for the choices that they make in life and not insulting other women for making different choices.
I could go on, but basically I hated it. I hate that she builds straw men arguments around people who disagree with her and then mocks them for their beliefs. I hate that she's irreverent about really sensitive issues that demand more caution. I hated that she assumes certain viewpoints are married to one another. I wouldn't recommend this book at all.
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.
I just finished reading this book and tried to be as objective as possible. That being said:
Sweet baby Jesus this book is terrible.
The writer attempts edginess and only comes off as offensive and stupid. The structure is all over the place and confused. Her anecdotes are poorly written and her humor misses the mark almost every time.
"coming of age in a popular culture that is hostile to women (especially fat, funny women)" - From Amazons own description. If this does not tell you how completely out of touch this books writer is, I don't know what will. Hint: our "society" is not hostile to women! West seems really pissed off about something but she can't really ever get to the bottom of it to cohesively and directly tell you what exactly it is.