Mean
Myriam Gurba's debut is the bold and hilarious tale of her coming of age as a queer, mixed-race Chicana. Blending radical formal fluidity and caustic humor, Mean turns what might be tragic into piercing, revealing comedy. This is a confident, funny, brassy book that takes the cost of sexual assault, racism, misogyny, and homophobia deadly seriously.We act mean to defend ourselves from boredom and from those who would cut off our breasts. We act mean to defend our clubs and institutions. We act mean because we like to laugh. Being mean to boys is fun and a second-wave feminist duty. Being mean to men who deserve it is a holy mission. Sisterhood is powerful, but being mean is more exhilarating.Being mean isn't for everybody.Being mean is best practiced by those who understand it as an art form.These virtuosos live closer to the divine than the rest of humanity. They're queers.Myriam Gurba is a queer spoken-word performer, visual artist, and writer from Santa Maria, California. She's the author of Dahlia Season (2007, Manic D) which was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, Wish You Were Me (2011, Future Tense Books), and Painting Their Portraits in Winter (2015, Manic D). She has toured with Sister Spit and her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach. She lives in Long Beach, where she teaches social studies to eighth-graders.

Mean Details

TitleMean
Author
ReleaseNov 14th, 2017
PublisherCoffee House Press
ISBN-139781566894913
Rating
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Glbt, Queer

Mean Review

  • MariNaomi
    January 1, 1970
    Hilarious and brutal. This is a must-read. I mean, damn!
  • Verity Sturm
    January 1, 1970
    Myriam Gurba’s Mean is a powerful, creative, uproariously candid memoir of a woman between a slew of extremes. Set in the heat of California and adolescence, Mean bluntly unveils the racism, sexual violence, and homophobia braided into a queer Chicana’s coming of age–flavors of hatred that have taught Gurba the vital art of being mean. Featuring art, ghosts, true crime, and a whole lot of black humor, Gurba’s floating prose and topic matter (like herself) refuse to submit to any one genre or for Myriam Gurba’s Mean is a powerful, creative, uproariously candid memoir of a woman between a slew of extremes. Set in the heat of California and adolescence, Mean bluntly unveils the racism, sexual violence, and homophobia braided into a queer Chicana’s coming of age–flavors of hatred that have taught Gurba the vital art of being mean. Featuring art, ghosts, true crime, and a whole lot of black humor, Gurba’s floating prose and topic matter (like herself) refuse to submit to any one genre or form. Mean is a generously honest and refreshingly real ownership of the unjust, bound to challenge readers to recognize the vectors of oppression potentially woven into their own lives and face them with appropriate meanness.
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  • Genevieve
    January 1, 1970
    A wry, searing book about growing up as a queer brown girl in California in the 80s and 90s -- and about sexual assault. If you loved Speak when you were 14, and now you're 30 and have some idea of how much more cruel the world can be, read this. It's very funny and very dark and very smart and very real and will tear you into little pieces.
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  • Katy
    January 1, 1970
    Buzzfeed Books List, "28 Exciting New Books You Need to Read This Fall," August 2017
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