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Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman Hardcover – May 17, 2016
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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
"Lindy West has written a really funny, insightful book that you all should buy. I would recommend reading it, too."―Andy Richter
"She's candid and funny, unafraid to criticize rape jokes or explain how airline discriminate against fat people, and her fearlessness has made her one of the most notable voices on the Internet."―Flavorwire
"Lindy West can take almost any topic and write about it in a way that is smart, funny, warm, and unique."―Bustle
"In Shrill...West is utterly candid and totally hilarious....She's also quite moving...In an age in which Internet umbrage is almost as rampant as Internet trolling, West, as funny as she is incisive, distinguishes herself as a writer who cuts to the heart of the matter. Shrill is no exception."―Vogue.com
"One of the most impressive aspects of this book is the level of nuance, self-reflection, and humanity that West displays in her analysis of her own writing and her relationships with others.... She shows that you can be funny and mean and incisive and brilliant, and you can also be thoughtful and considerate and write with intention....Throughout, West proves herself to be a considerate and critical narrator with equal capacity for humor and genuine reflection-a writer who can turn her analytical eye just as easily to society as to her own life. It's the best kind of memoir, and it shows that Lindy West still has a lot more to say-and that we should all keep listening."―Bitch Media
"Lindy West did not set out to be a feminist warrior against the forces that wish to silence and hurt women for doing things that men take for granted...Someone has to fight the misogynists, after all, and West is well-situated for the front lines, lacing her blunt sense of humor with a surprising amount of nuanced empathy, even for those out there who are the ugliest to women."―Salon
"From her early stories to the hot-off-the-press pages of Shrill, there is one ever-present, never exhausted hallmark of West's writing, and that is its unwavering heart. Whether she's writing about being fat-shamed by a stranger or confronting the troll who posed online as her recently deceased father, West has a way of wringing empathy and catharsis out of even the most deplorable circumstances. Reading her book is like taking a master class in inclusivity and cultural criticism, as taught by one of the funniest feminists alive today."―Refinery29
"Uproariously funny...Readers will delight in West's biting clarity....Despite its serious subject, West's ribald jokes, hilarious tirades, and raucous confessions keep her memoir skipping merrily along as she jumps from painful confession to powerful epiphany. Sure to be a boon for anyone who has struggled with body image, Shrill is a triumphant, exacting, absorbing memoir that will lay new groundwork for the way we talk about the taboo of being too large."―Booklist (Starred Review)
"There's some beautiful, joyful writing here: West defies cliches both by being persistently hilarious and deeply loving.....In the same way that West traces the sobering long-term consequences of fighting over big cultural issues in public, she also writes with substance and grace about living in her own body in a way that transcends the sometimes facile cheerleading for body positivity that shows up everywhere, from feminist Tumblrs to the cover of Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue.....It's not easy to talk about the work and consequences involved in changing the world; we crave triumphal stories and incidents to get outraged by. The strength of "Shrill," though, is the way it captures both halves of the equation, the joy of those hard-fought victories and the pain incurred in battle."―Washington Post
"Read her ferociously funny book and you'll be shouting her praises."―People
"Lindy West stares defiantly into the eyes of anyone who reaches to pick it up and dares them not to shed any sexism they might harbor, whether conscious or not...Her writing is sharp, smart, hilarious, relatable, insightful and memorable. She tackles serious and personal subjects-like being fat, getting an abortion, feeling lonely or dealing with harassment online-and is just as capable of eliciting tears as laughter. The combination is part of what makes her voice so effective and absorbing....I dare you to pick up a copy."―Newsweek, Best Books of 2016
"Both sharp-toothed and fluid....To see so much of West's writing in one place is to appreciate her range. She can eviscerate the status quo with raunchy humor....She can attack entrenched sexism with skilled polemic....And she can leave both of those modes behind to write poignantly about growing up, losing her father, and falling in love....West is propulsively entertaining."―Slate
"Lindy West's debut book, Shrill, is an emotional rollercoaster. One moment you're snorting from laughter, trying to avoid all the weird looks you're getting on the train. The next you're silently absorbing a larger truth neatly packaged into the perfect sentence you didn't expect to read."―Mother Jones
"In her incredible and insightful new book Shrill....West gets unflinchingly real about growing up fat and the harmful impact that the media (and its disdain for fat women) can have on young girls....what West ultimately strives for is to incrementally make those small changes that can lead to something so much bigger and better for us all."―Amy Poehler's Smart Girls
"[Lindy is] warm and cutting, vulnerable, and funny in equal measures; her sense of self makes you yourself feel seen."―Buzzfeed
"This is who Lindy West is: A constantly harangued feminist writer ready to transmute your BS into comedy....you need to read [Shrill]. It's hilarious, biting and wise."―The Huffington Post
"West came of age as a writer in the full light of the Internet, a young feminist speaking out against fat-shaming--publicly addressing her colleague at the Stranger, Dan Savage--and writing about periods and rape jokes at Jezebel the Guardian....[reveals] how vital it is for young women to raise their voices."―Los Angeles Times, The 10 Most Important Books of 2016
"A compilation of powerful and brave essays about coming-of-age in a world that's set on silencing girls and women."―Revelist
"Stitch-inducing and searingly honest."―USA Today
"Lindy West is one of the Great Ladies of the Feminist Internet, her writing style alone setting a regal standard for many of us coming of age in these wild online times....250 pages of pure hilariousness...West writes about both the trap of living in a body and identity that is marginalized, but also the power we have to reclaim these identities by being wholly, indefatigably, and - wait for it - shrilly ourselves."―Feministing.com
"You have to be careful about what you read when you're writing, or you can end up in total despair, thinking, 'This is what I wanted to say, only she got there first and said it better.'"―Jennifer Weiner, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Good in Bed and The Littlest Bigfoot
"Read West's ferociously funny book and you'll be shouting her praises."
"Lindy West's name may already be familiar to readers of Jezebel or to anyone who listened to her fascinating, brutal piece on internet trolls for This American Life. Her collection of essays takes on stereotypes, gender politics, beauty standards and other topics she attacks with her thoughtful, clever, cutting and inspiring commentary."―Minnesota Public Radio, Best Books of 2016
"Fearless and funny."
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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Let's get my only complaint out of the way first. The narrative is a tad broken up, so much so that I wasn't sure where in her timeline I was during any given chapter. One minute we're reading about childhood, the next we're post marriage, then back to xxx. It was a bit disconcerting. The lack of flow didn't ruin the book, but I'd be dishonest if I claimed the book was perfect in presentation.
Now the good stuff, and I have plenty to say. First, this is an eye-opening book. West is brilliant and funny, and manages to articulate those soggy unidentifiable feelings so many women have. We know something is up, but the vocabulary needed to voice what is wrong has been socialized out of us and the culture we reside in. West states those feelings of "wait a minute, I know there was something wrong with what you said, but ..."
Unlike many other feminist and body positive book, I felt West used just enough deprecation and sharp language as was needed. Did I mention she's funny? Let me mention it again, because, she really is. Later the book, when things need to be handled with more seriousness, she appropriately changes the tone and draws back on the humor.
I found myself saying, "hey, that's me too" quite often. This is a solid, head-first read.
At the end, I felt like there should have been more. Yes, she was repetitive, but rightfully so. And still - I want more.