Shrill
Coming of age in a culture that demands women be as small, quiet, and compliant as possible--like a porcelain dove that will also have sex with you--writer and humorist Lindy West quickly discovered that she was anything but. From a painfully shy childhood in which she tried, unsuccessfully, to hide her big body and even bigger opinions; to her public war with stand-up comedians over rape jokes; to her struggle to convince herself, and then the world, that fat people have value; to her accidental activism and never-ending battle royale with Internet trolls, Lindy narrates her life with a blend of humor and pathos that manages to make a trip to the abortion clinic funny and wring tears out of a story about diarrhea.With inimitable good humor, vulnerability, and boundless charm, Lindy boldly shares how to survive in a world where not all stories are created equal and not all bodies are treated with equal respect, and how to weather hatred, loneliness, harassment, and loss--and walk away laughing. Shrill provocatively dissects what it means to become self-aware the hard way, to go from wanting to be silent and invisible to earning a living defending the silenced in all caps.

Shrill Details

TitleShrill
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMay 17th, 2016
PublisherHachette Books
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Feminism, Writing, Essays, Humor

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Shrill Review

  • Hannah Greendale
    January 1, 1970
    Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.Society has long held women to near-impossible standards of beauty and urged them to remain quiet and reserved. Outspoken women, who champion women’s rights and advocate the importance of feminism, are often labeled with a slew of derogatory terms with negative associations. Lindy West – brave feminist, bold writer, and delightful humorist – was never destined for a life of submissive silence. In her savvy m Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.Society has long held women to near-impossible standards of beauty and urged them to remain quiet and reserved. Outspoken women, who champion women’s rights and advocate the importance of feminism, are often labeled with a slew of derogatory terms with negative associations. Lindy West – brave feminist, bold writer, and delightful humorist – was never destined for a life of submissive silence. In her savvy memoir, West recounts her transition from a shy child who was ashamed of her body to a successful woman who loves her body and isn’t afraid to be loud. I felt something start to unclench deep inside me. What if my body didn’t have to be a secret? What if I was wrong all along – what if this was all a magic trick, and I could just decide I was valuable and it would be true? Why, instead, had I left that decision in the hands of strangers who hated me? Denying people access to value is an incredibly insidious form of emotional violence, one that our culture wields aggressively and liberally to keep marginalized groups small and quiet. No topic is off limits in West’s memoir, and humor is always close at hand. She opens with an amusing examination of the weighty existential question adults love to toss at children: What do you want to be when you grow up?The answer was ballerina, or, for a minute, veterinarian, as I had been erroneously led to believe that “veterinarian” was the grown-up term for “professional animal-petter.” I would later learn, crestfallen and appalled, that it’s more a term for “touching poo all the time featuring intermittent cat murder,” so the plan was abandoned. (The fact that ANY kid wants to be a veterinarian is bananas, by the way – whoever does veterinarian medicine’s PR among preschool-aged children should be working in the fucking White House.) Whether she’s writing about abortion, America’s obsession with female thinness, or her ailing father’s battle with cancer, West comes across as candid and genuine. She begins her memoir with amusing stories before diving into more serious topics like the dangerous precedent set by comedians casually telling rape jokes and the tragic consequences of internet trolling and fat shaming. Her words are a rallying cry for activists and feminists. Some may find her words offensive, uncomfortable, or difficult to accept, but she makes no apology for plainly stating painful truths. Some readers, whose thoughts align with West’s, will find themselves nodding considerably; while others are liable to find their worldviews challenged and will, therefore, find West’s memoir to be a thoughtful provocation. There’s a difference between church groups boycotting JCPenny because JCPenny put a gay couple in their catalog and gay people boycotting Chick-fil-a because Chick-fil-a donated millions of dollars to groups working to strip gay people of rights and protections. Gay people wearing shawl-collar half-zip ecru sweaters does not oppress Christians. Christians turning their gay children out on the streets, keeping gay spouses from sitting at each other’s deathbeds, and casting gay people as diseased predators so that it’s easier to justify beating and murdering them does oppress gay people. While West tackles feminism, misogyny, internet trolling, abortion, relationships and the shortage of “young, funny, capable, strong, good fat girls” in television, movies, video games, and books, the topic of fatness permeates everything she writes. West embraces the word fat with a refreshing sense of confidence and empowered self-assurance, as evidenced by the time she went head-to-head with an apologetic internet troll who had previously taken trolling to an absurdly new low (view spoiler)[by impersonating her dead father to send her demeaning comments over the web (hide spoiler)]. His voice was soft, tentative. He was clearly as nervous as I was. “Well,” he said, “it revolved around one issue that you wrote about a lot which was your being heavy – the struggles that you had being a woman of size, or whatever the term may be.” I cut in. I hate euphemisms. What the fuck is a “woman of size,” anyway? Who doesn’t have a size. “You can say fat. That’s what I say.”“Fat. Okay, fat.” Funny, poignant, and personal, Shrill showcases a powerhouse female taking some of society’s worst behaviors by the ear and dragging them into the limelight for a proper spanking.
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  • Esil
    January 1, 1970
    Lindy West doesn't come across as shrill in Shrill but as really smart, funny and gutsy. This worked really well as an Audiobook. I had never heard of West before reading Julie's excellent review, which got me curious. Shrill is what essentially amounts to a collection of personal essays. West is a proud outspoken feminist. She writes about many topics, including her extreme shyness as a kid, her parents and upbringing, her battles with herself and others to change perspectives on what it means Lindy West doesn't come across as shrill in Shrill but as really smart, funny and gutsy. This worked really well as an Audiobook. I had never heard of West before reading Julie's excellent review, which got me curious. Shrill is what essentially amounts to a collection of personal essays. West is a proud outspoken feminist. She writes about many topics, including her extreme shyness as a kid, her parents and upbringing, her battles with herself and others to change perspectives on what it means to have a big body and her battle with male comedians to tone down the prevalence of rape jokes. I love West's candid funny fearless smart voice. I love the way she skilfully and cleverly calls foul foul and an ass an ass. I am at least a generation older than West, and I'm excited to see smart young women like her reinvigorate the concept of what it can mean to be a feminist. My guess is that there are a few Lindy Wests out there who have popped up over the last few years while I wasn't paying enough attention. But all the better if her message and gutsiness aren't earth shatteringly original. It gives me hope for the world my teenage daughter is growing up in.
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  • Lola Reviewer
    January 1, 1970
    I say no to my own instinct to stay quiet. I don’t know if you’ve kind of gotten this vibe from my reviews (who am I kidding, you probably have), but I’m a person who has an opinion on many things. Just like Lindy West. It took me a good couple of chapters to realize that that’s exactly why I couldn’t seem to enjoy her ‘‘voice’’ at first. I liked what she was saying; I just didn’t like how she was saying it.And then I realized that I didn’t like her tone because it was too… well, loud. Because I I say no to my own instinct to stay quiet. I don’t know if you’ve kind of gotten this vibe from my reviews (who am I kidding, you probably have), but I’m a person who has an opinion on many things. Just like Lindy West. It took me a good couple of chapters to realize that that’s exactly why I couldn’t seem to enjoy her ‘‘voice’’ at first. I liked what she was saying; I just didn’t like how she was saying it.And then I realized that I didn’t like her tone because it was too… well, loud. Because I am loud, too, and it’s something that I, until recently, have tried my best to change. Because, when I talk about something that I strongly believe in, I talk about it passionately. So much that I come off as aggressive and arrogant oftentimes. Just like Lindy West. But, unlike Lindy West, it makes me sad.This is Lindy West’s book. And we are very much aware of that. What I mean is that, unlike some memoirs I’ve read previously in my life, this book talks about things most of us think about or find important—but not only that, she puts them in perspective by frequently using her own personal experiences as examples. Plus, she defends her opinions. Repeatedly. This is another thing that took me time to understand. I kept thinking, ‘‘Why does she defend herself so much? Does she really need to? If so, **why** does she feel the need to?’’ And the answer is, ‘‘Yes, yes, she does need to.’’ And she is very much entitled to defend herself. How could she not?In fact, in retrospect, if she hadn’t defended her opinions, it would have been harder for her to convey, in a fierce, convincing way, that abortion is okay, that fat people deserve your respect and deserve to be treated fairly, that rape jokes are not funny and that misogynistic thoughts are not welcome in today’s society, among other things.You know, when I was younger, before I knew I needed to choose my battles wisely, I would constantly get into trouble for fighting back, for defending myself, for talking back when I should(???) have kept quiet and I always hated that part of me that felt the need to do all those things regardless of whether my actions would have consequences or not. But I’m tired of feeling sorry I’m not more pliable, softer, quieter, lovelier. Because, after all, it got me this far.Blog | Youtube | Twitter | Instagram | Google+ | Bloglovin’
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  • Sarah Andersen
    January 1, 1970
    I'm a cartoonist and I face extensive online harassment, so I picked up this book in the hopes that Lindy's writing about her own experiences would help me my grasp my own."Men, you will never understand. Women, I hope I helped. Comedy, you broke my heart."Thanks Lindy, you did help.
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  • Shannon
    January 1, 1970
    In early 2015, Lindy West confronted one of her most horrific internet trolls on This American Life. But long before that confrontation, West wrote her way into the public eye by taking on rape jokes and fat shaming. (She also wrote about the outfits in Troop Beverly Hills, awful commercials, and re-watching Garden State, just to drop a few of my personal faves.)In her new book, Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman, Lindy West digs deep into her own experiences with sexism, fat shaming, and harassmen In early 2015, Lindy West confronted one of her most horrific internet trolls on This American Life. But long before that confrontation, West wrote her way into the public eye by taking on rape jokes and fat shaming. (She also wrote about the outfits in Troop Beverly Hills, awful commercials, and re-watching Garden State, just to drop a few of my personal faves.)In her new book, Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman, Lindy West digs deep into her own experiences with sexism, fat shaming, and harassment (in hilariously titled essays, like “You’re So Brave for Wearing Clothes and Not Hating Yourself!” and “Why Fat Lady So Mean to Baby Men”) while also touching on her childhood and the recent loss of her father. Each essay in Shrill feels like a vital read, particularly in an election cycle that adds fuel to the garbage fire of internet comments and online harassment. While West fights against the bigotry that stokes that fire, she also highlights the importance of seeing humanity—even the humanity of internet trolls.“This story isn’t prescriptive. It doesn’t mean that anyone is obliged to forgive people who abuse them, or even that I plan on being cordial and compassionate to every teenage boy who pipes up to call me a blue whale. But, for me, it’s changed the timbre of my online interactions. […] It’s hard to feel hurt or frightened when you’re flooded with pity. It’s hard to be cold or cruel when you remember it’s hard to be a person.”Shrill had me rolling in giggle fits on one page, furious with rage on the next, and reaching for tissues by the end. And isn’t that how life is? All those emotions are wrapped up in one little package made for a more than perfect way to spend the weekend.More at rivercityreading.com
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  • Joanne Harris
    January 1, 1970
    Profoundly intimate, funny, raucous, articulate; this is a book for every man who ever thought of women as an alien species; and for every woman who was ever made to feel like a stranger in her own skin. It's not a memoir; it's a reminder that ultimately, we ourselves, and no-one else, get to determine who were are. Terrific.
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  • Hannah
    January 1, 1970
    Really thought provoking and anger inducing but still very funny.I had not heard of Lindy West before listening to this book but I had read quite a few very positive reviews of it - so when Audible recommended this book to me, I did not hesitate to download it. And man am I glad I did! This is a brilliant book that made me think and laugh and very angry. Lindy West is my absolute hero. Lindy West talks about a whole range of topics - from fat shaming, to rape jokes, to the misogyny she experienc Really thought provoking and anger inducing but still very funny.I had not heard of Lindy West before listening to this book but I had read quite a few very positive reviews of it - so when Audible recommended this book to me, I did not hesitate to download it. And man am I glad I did! This is a brilliant book that made me think and laugh and very angry. Lindy West is my absolute hero. Lindy West talks about a whole range of topics - from fat shaming, to rape jokes, to the misogyny she experiences online, to abortion (her own in fact). The book and her opinions are super feminist at their core and while lots of her arguments weren't particularly new to me, she still makes her points very clear - and manages to stay funny at the same time. And we need humour! I love that she made me laugh as much as she made me angry. I like that this is her way of coping and it really made this a great book to listen to. I really enjoyed listening to Lindy West read her own essays - her delivery is perfect and her dry humour really shines through in this format. This is the book I wanted So You've Been Publicly Shamed to be - because even though Lindy West talks mostly about her own experiences, she manages to do in a much more measured and politically aware way. She shows how the internet hive mind IS in fact misogynistic (and racist for that matter) - a point that I wish Jon Ronson had made better. The abuse she suffers from countless trolls is impossible to grasp. She quotes mails she got, comments people left, tweets aimed at her and so on and it is so so hard to even listen to. I have no idea how she copes and I have the utmost respect that she continues her work and continues to try and make the world a better place - I don't know if I could do what she does given all the hate she receives.
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  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    January 1, 1970
    I have been a big fan of Lindy West for a few years now. I use one of her stories from Back Fence PDX when I teach Storytelling, as a jump off point to encourage students to tell about a time they overcame adversity. When I heard she was coming out with a book, I was excited, and knew I'd want it in audio. This was no mistake! This was the book I needed even though I didn't know I needed it! Lindy covers fat shaming, feminism, abortion, marriage, and internet trolls - if you know her work at all I have been a big fan of Lindy West for a few years now. I use one of her stories from Back Fence PDX when I teach Storytelling, as a jump off point to encourage students to tell about a time they overcame adversity. When I heard she was coming out with a book, I was excited, and knew I'd want it in audio. This was no mistake! This was the book I needed even though I didn't know I needed it! Lindy covers fat shaming, feminism, abortion, marriage, and internet trolls - if you know her work at all none of these topics should be a surprise. She continues to fearlessly write for the internet despite horrific trolling experiences, and perhaps, she and I like to think, she has had a hand in changing the culture from being permissive about online harassment. One can only hope.I think there are two audiences for this book - people who already agree with everything Lindy West writes about, and the people who started to dismiss this review the minute I used the phrase "fat shaming." Lindy delves deep into her own life and shares her experiences, and I hope this can produce empathy in some readers. She is braver than I am."I don't want the people who love me to avoid the reality of my body. I don't want them to feel uncomfortable with its size and shape, to tacitly endorse the idea that fat is shameful, to pretend that I'm something that I'm not, in deference to a system that hates me.""Please don't forget - I am my body. When my body gets smaller, it's still me. When my body gets bigger, it's still me. There's not a thin woman inside me awaiting excavation; I am one piece."
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    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." But here's the thing -- there can never be too many stories about growing up as a big girl in a world that wants its women small. And Lindy's defense of Ursula the Sea Witch as a role model gives me life, as the kids say.
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  • Thomas
    January 1, 1970
    In 2017, society still expects women to keep quiet, move aside for men, and comply to the rules. Lindy West's courageous and humorous memoir, Shrill, details her journey in breaking free from these expectations as a successful stand-up comic, popular internet writer, and fat woman. She blends the personal and the political well, moving from how she developed her love of comedy to how she confronted sexist bosses and internet trolls. West addresses an array of unpleasant subjects - misogyny, rape In 2017, society still expects women to keep quiet, move aside for men, and comply to the rules. Lindy West's courageous and humorous memoir, Shrill, details her journey in breaking free from these expectations as a successful stand-up comic, popular internet writer, and fat woman. She blends the personal and the political well, moving from how she developed her love of comedy to how she confronted sexist bosses and internet trolls. West addresses an array of unpleasant subjects - misogyny, rape culture, fatphobia, etc. - with admirable self-awareness and an important thesis: we must stop men from harassing women, and we must empower women to speak up against this harassment. The jokes she injects into several sections of this book speak to the power and precision of her voice, that she can both view herself with self-deprecating humor and still slay the patriarchy with her insights. One of the many quotes I loved:“Women matter. Women are half of us. When you raise every woman to believe that we are insignificant, that we are broken, that we are sick, that the only cure is starvation and restraint and smallness; when you pit women against one another, keep us shackled by shame and hunger, obsessing over our flaws rather than our power and potential; when you leverage all of that to sap our money and our time—that moves the rudder of the world. It steers humanity toward conservatism and walls and the narrow interests of men, and it keeps us adrift in waters where women’s safety and humanity are secondary to men’s pleasure and convenience.”I appreciated so much about Shrill, and out of all of its stellar qualities, I really connected with West's honesty about her struggle. She writes about how, as a fat, opinionated woman on the internet, she receives so much toxic vitriol from men who cannot stomach the idea of a large, outspoken woman sharing her brilliant ideas and cultivating success in the world. West articulates how she overcomes men's discriminatory views toward women, and she also shares the pain and heartbreak these men made her feel. Her willingness to expose this deep reservoir of emotion within herself moved me, and I could not help but cheer for her as she turned her sorrow into art and activism time and time again. In 2017, the era of toxic masculinity and unregulated racism, we need more loud women (who also understand white privilege) like West more than ever, as well as men who will guide other men to a more loving path. I would recommend Shrill to everyone in search of a fierce, funny, and oh-so-necessary read. I will end this review with a quote from the end of the book, a snippet of West's final rallying cry for us all:"I think the most important thing I do in my professional life today is delivering public, impermeable "no"s and sticking to them. I say no to people who prioritize being cool over being good. I say no to misogynists who want to weaponize my body against me. I say not o men who feel entitled to my attention and reverence, who treat everything the light touches as a resource for them to burn. I say no to religious zealots who insist that I am less important than an embryo. I say no to my own instinct to stay quiet...... It's a way of kicking down the boundaries that society has set for women - be compliant, be a caregiver, be quiet - and erecting my own. I will do this; I will not do that. You believe in my subjugation; I don't have to be nice to you. I am busy; my time is not a public commodity. You are boring; go away.That is world-building."
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  • Book Riot Community
    January 1, 1970
    All hail Lindy West! This collection of essays is one of the funniest and most infuriating books I have read. West is an expert in exposing the absurd messages women (and men) receive about our bodies, sexuality, and autonomy. From the first chapter where she lists the pathetically small (and ultimately flawed) list of fat female role models she had in her youth, I was hooked. The list includes Ursula the Sea Witch, The Neighbor with the Arm Flab from The Adventures of Pete & Pete, and Baloo All hail Lindy West! This collection of essays is one of the funniest and most infuriating books I have read. West is an expert in exposing the absurd messages women (and men) receive about our bodies, sexuality, and autonomy. From the first chapter where she lists the pathetically small (and ultimately flawed) list of fat female role models she had in her youth, I was hooked. The list includes Ursula the Sea Witch, The Neighbor with the Arm Flab from The Adventures of Pete & Pete, and Baloo Dressed as a Sexy Fortune Teller. A disturbing chapter that begins with West calling the FBI to report vicious harassment by a Twitter follower is delightfully titled “Why Fat Lady So Mean To Baby Men?” It’s this dichotomy that makes Shrill an such an entertaining and important read.–-Katie MacBride from The Best Books We Read In July 2016: http://bookriot.com/2016/08/01/riot-r...
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  • emily
    January 1, 1970
    This should be required reading for everyone who is alive right now. Lindy West is just so smart and so interesting and she writes about phenomenons that are happening in our current society so well. She writes about being a fat woman, about having an abortion, about how her weight has affected her relationships with people, about being verbally abused online, about losing her father, and, my favorite, being a woman in comedy (those 2 chapters were so, so incredible). Just please read her book.
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  • Oriana
    January 1, 1970
    I have read exactly six pages so far and have already laughed out loud four times. I LOVE YOU LINDY WEST.***I am now exactly 23 pages in and was just rendered literally, gaspingly helpless with laughter at this line, in the (phenomenal) chapter on childhood role models for little fat girls, where she is discussing Mrs. Potts from Beauty and the Beast: "How come, when they turn back into humans, Chip is a four-year-old boy, but his mother, Mrs. Potts, is like 107? As soon as you become a mother, I have read exactly six pages so far and have already laughed out loud four times. I LOVE YOU LINDY WEST.***I am now exactly 23 pages in and was just rendered literally, gaspingly helpless with laughter at this line, in the (phenomenal) chapter on childhood role models for little fat girls, where she is discussing Mrs. Potts from Beauty and the Beast: "How come, when they turn back into humans, Chip is a four-year-old boy, but his mother, Mrs. Potts, is like 107? As soon as you become a mother, apparently, you are instantly interchangeable with the oldest woman in the world, and/or sixteen ounces of boiling brown water with a hat on it."
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  • Julie Ehlers
    January 1, 1970
    There are a lot of awesome-looking feminist books coming out in 2016, and although I have longed to add all of them to my collection immediately, I vowed to wait for the paperback for most of them for the sake of my wallet. Shrill seemed like an obvious book for this "waiting" strategy—although I was aware that Lindy West was a prominent young feminist writer, I knew very little else about her and could barely even remember where I'd seen her work before (I guessed maybe Jezebel, and I turned ou There are a lot of awesome-looking feminist books coming out in 2016, and although I have longed to add all of them to my collection immediately, I vowed to wait for the paperback for most of them for the sake of my wallet. Shrill seemed like an obvious book for this "waiting" strategy—although I was aware that Lindy West was a prominent young feminist writer, I knew very little else about her and could barely even remember where I'd seen her work before (I guessed maybe Jezebel, and I turned out to be right about that). But for some reason this book called out to me in the bookstore, so when I got a Barnes & Noble gift card for my birthday, I spent part of it on a copy of Shrill.Immediately I was glad I did. The opening chapter, where Lindy talks about the various female role models she had while growing up, made me laugh out loud multiple times. Lindy has a comedy background, which is on obvious display here; anyone operating under the delusion that feminists can't be funny should stay away from this book if they don't want their belief dispelled forever.Admittedly, the book doesn't sustain this level of LOLs throughout—given the topics Lindy takes on, that would be impossible. But it's in the more serious parts of the book that its true value is revealed. I had no idea that Lindy was so much more than a pundit or commentator—she has in fact had a major influence on three of the most controversial cultural debates of recent years. She was the one who took on Dan "It Gets Better—Unless You're a Fat Kid" Savage in his bizarre vendetta against overweight people, eventually leading him to recognize that weight has no bearing on whether one has value as a person. Given the high level of influence Savage wields among his followers, that's no small thing. She also played a role in getting male comedians like Daniel Tosh to realize that falling back on (usually not very funny) rape jokes was, in most cases, not just reflecting but actually perpetuating rape culture, and she exhibited a lot of bravery in the process. Perhaps most significantly, her writing (and subsequent "This American Life" piece) about a horrible Twitter troll who had assumed the online persona of her recently deceased father actually convinced Twitter to address the issue of trolls and do something about it—and other websites followed suit. So while trolls can still be as vicious as ever, at least complaints about them are taken more seriously, and those who are hounded by them have some recourse.I was deeply impressed by Lindy's tireless work to effect positive change, and equally impressed by her writing on personal topics such as her father's death and her (mostly sad, then finally happy) love life. If I had one complaint about Shrill, it's that it suffers from the fact that most of Lindy's past writing has been for internet outlets, with all that entails; namely, TMI on some topics, such as menstruation, and a maddeningly casual structure. The chapters are too interrelated for this to be viewed as a book of essays, but not cohesive enough to produce a seamless book. As more and more writers go straight from online writing to book deals, we're probably going to see this lack of structure more and more. I hope that publishers will start to pick up the slack and nurture their writers until they produce something that's recognizably booklike in its presentation.Still, I do recommend this book to anyone who's even remotely curious about it. Lindy has put in the hard work of fighting the good fight, and it makes for a story that undeniably deserves to be told.ETA: Here is a link to the "This American Life" episode, which is definitely worth listening to even if you don't read the book: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio...
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  • Joodith
    January 1, 1970
    I had expected something shocking, rowdy and intense, and it's all of those, but there's something slightly immature about it. It's almost as if the author is showing off with her “no holds barred” writing. She uses a lot of slang and words are abbreviated, almost like “text speak”, and maybe it's a generational thing, but it just didn't come across as humourous, just an attempt to shock older readers, and be “cool” for younger ones. I believe the author is also a live performer - maybe her view I had expected something shocking, rowdy and intense, and it's all of those, but there's something slightly immature about it. It's almost as if the author is showing off with her “no holds barred” writing. She uses a lot of slang and words are abbreviated, almost like “text speak”, and maybe it's a generational thing, but it just didn't come across as humourous, just an attempt to shock older readers, and be “cool” for younger ones. I believe the author is also a live performer - maybe her views are funnier in that situation than on paper.This is one of those books you can dip in and out of as it's split into chapters dealing with different topics – or, should I say, similar topics that don't need to be read consecutively from the beginning. Easy enough to read – I read it in a day – but not to my taste. Having said that I respect Ms West's feminist views and the fact she feels the need to shout them loudly, so I shall remain neutral in my voting.My thanks to Amazon who sent me a complimentary copy to review.
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  • Ivonne Rovira
    January 1, 1970
    I hadn’t heard of Lindy West until I discovered that this book was coming out, and the description of the book was so intriguing that I had to pre-order it on Audible. And it lived up to that high expectation — especially as she narrates her debut book herself.West, a zaftig feminist and award-winning writer, explores society’s innate discomfort with women’s bodies — especially, although not limited to, the heavy ones in this book of essays with a dollop of memoir thrown in for good measure. Men I hadn’t heard of Lindy West until I discovered that this book was coming out, and the description of the book was so intriguing that I had to pre-order it on Audible. And it lived up to that high expectation — especially as she narrates her debut book herself.West, a zaftig feminist and award-winning writer, explores society’s innate discomfort with women’s bodies — especially, although not limited to, the heavy ones in this book of essays with a dollop of memoir thrown in for good measure. Menstrual blood, abortion, death, feminism, female friendship, some ridiculous New Age stuff, Internet trolls, and, of course, fat shaming come in for scrutiny. Now, as a fat girl myself, I find it very difficult — even at age 58 — to be comfortable in my own skin. Thanks for the help, Lindy.
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  • Obsidian
    January 1, 1970
    Wow.This was such a great book! I can see why it won on Goodreads last year. I wish I had heard of West before cause her writing speaks to me.Told in a semi-chronological way, West's "Shrill" goes into her childhood through her adult years taking a hard look at herself and those around her for seeing her as less than cause she was "fat". I use that word cause West does in this memoir. She makes no apologies for her size which I loved. West touches upon her professional career writing for publica Wow.This was such a great book! I can see why it won on Goodreads last year. I wish I had heard of West before cause her writing speaks to me.Told in a semi-chronological way, West's "Shrill" goes into her childhood through her adult years taking a hard look at herself and those around her for seeing her as less than cause she was "fat". I use that word cause West does in this memoir. She makes no apologies for her size which I loved. West touches upon her professional career writing for publications like Jezebel as well as internet trolls as well.I honestly don't get why anyone in the world has no problem just being nasty to someone cause their fat. But shit, we got people who don't think POC should be treated the same way as whites. That's to say in my own way, y'all are broken and I'm tired of the world making excuses for you and ignoring those you hate and ridicule.West also touches about Hillary Clinton and Trump at the beginning of this book (she wrote the introduction two weeks after the 2016 US Presidential Election) and mentions how Hillary's voice was mocked and how "shrill" is often thrown at women who dare to reach above their station. Well West loops this back into internet trolling and what do we do when we elect an internet troll as President.My favorite passages dealt with West's no nonsense mom. Her dismay at periods. And her sadness at watching her father die.I also had no idea West was part of the stand up comic circle through MCing some shows. She mentions Patton Oswalt and others. Can I say how grossed out and dismayed I was at West recounting the horrible crap said to and about her when she came out against those defending Daniel Tosh for his rape jokes. West also goes into debating Jim Norton on Totally Biased about rape jokes in comedy. Can I ask something here? What the hell is so funny about rape jokes? Cause I don't get those. I have been at comedy shows before and have laughed zero times. Doesn't matter if the comic is male or female and or telling a story about how they "raped" someone wink wink nudge nudge.The internet trolling sections had me upset. The amount of crap sent West's way was disgusting. Recounting a story of how an internet troll, found out about her, her recently dead father, and used his account to screw with her was awful. She forgave. She's better than me, my family motto is "God forgives, we don't forget".I also at times want to quit Twitter. I did for a while the other day but popped back in since I have so many authors and friends I met on online communities there. But I can see why West finally quit. The harassment against women is awful. See Gamergate, Leslie Jones, any woman anywhere having an opinion a man doesn't like, etc. Gamergate was eye opening to me. People we're doxxing, swatting, and threatening to murder and rape women and people would shrug and go free speech and grow a thicker skin. West's passages clue you in why this is wrong and just messed up to expect a victim to just get over it. I thought the writing was very good and flow smooth. I cracked up a few times out loud and had to explain while I was at the hair dresser what was I reading that was so funny. I read some passages out loud. Dear Lindy West, a bunch of black women in Alexandria, VA totally concur with your opinions about periods. The setting jumps around in this from her growing up in Seattle to LA and I think back to Seattle. West doesn't really give descriptions of places much, but the things she says resonates. A very good memoir that doesn't hold back on punching you in the gut and also making you cry. I'm so seeking out her posts at Jezebel and elsewhere.
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  • Taryn Pierson
    January 1, 1970
    I recently finished two audio books that on the surface don’t have much to do with each other, but upon reflection, I realized they both exposed major biases I didn’t know I had and forced me to rethink my views. Shrill is one of those books; I'll be back in a few days to tell you about the other. These reviews actually make me squirmy to write because it’s hard to admit I harbor these prejudices, but hiding them or pretending they don’t exist won’t make them go away. And that is the goal, defin I recently finished two audio books that on the surface don’t have much to do with each other, but upon reflection, I realized they both exposed major biases I didn’t know I had and forced me to rethink my views. Shrill is one of those books; I'll be back in a few days to tell you about the other. These reviews actually make me squirmy to write because it’s hard to admit I harbor these prejudices, but hiding them or pretending they don’t exist won’t make them go away. And that is the goal, definitely—to make them go away.Lindy West is a humor writer, and her book is a collection of hilarious memoir-ish essays dealing with issues from body image to reproductive rights to fat role models in Disney movies (spoiler alert: it’s not a very inspiring list). The thing I want to stress the most about Shrill is how knee-slapping hysterical it is. Within the first few minutes I was cackling gleefully, all attempts to apply eyeliner abandoned, and I am not really an out-loud laugher when it comes to reading. (One tiny example from a sea of delightful anecdotes: she once wore an old-fashioned menstrual belt to school while on her period. If you are not familiar with those, fear not, Lindy West will explain it to you. In detail. I died.)But here's my uncomfortable confession: I had no idea before reading West’s book that I had a bias against fat people. For much of my adult life, I’ve been generously proportioned myself. I didn’t realize it was possible to be biased against a group I myself have been a part of, but now I know better. I’ve held the belief, though never overtly acknowledged it, that fat people deserve to be looked down upon or judged, and if they didn’t want that judgment, they should lose weight. So basically, I thought that fat people needed to meet a certain standard before they deserved to be treated like human beings. Of course, when I phrase it so baldly now, the idea sounds horrific—and it is. But I hadn’t ever interrogated those latent beliefs before.West is an outspoken feminist advocate, and as such is a target of the constant vitriol of Internet trolls, but she somehow continues to fight the good fight with dignity and a healthy dose of sarcasm. She’s also a master of tone, considering she’s able to deliver so many important messages and be raucously funny at the same time. I recently listened to and loved Amy Schumer’s The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, and listening to Shrill reminded me of that experience. Both writers somehow manage to tackle incredibly difficult, touchy topics with their fabulous wit intact.I've never read a book that made me both laugh and think so hard. More book recommendations by me at www.readingwithhippos.com
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  • Jenny (adultishbooks)
    January 1, 1970
    Beautifully written, empowering, and important.Edit: This was also really hilarious at points. I almost cackled out loud coming back into my office after going on a walk and listening to this.
  • Eilonwy
    January 1, 1970
    Thank goodness I had this book while my plane sat on the runway for 2-1/2 hours in Montreal while waiting out a string of thunderstorms. I hardly noticed the time. This book is put together as a blend of memoir and opinion, as Lindy West recounts how she's spent her life being scorned for her weight/size, but nevertheless got over any shyness about public speaking, got involved with stand-up comedy, and developed a thick-enough skin to tolerate the absolutely appalling trolling she receives in h Thank goodness I had this book while my plane sat on the runway for 2-1/2 hours in Montreal while waiting out a string of thunderstorms. I hardly noticed the time. This book is put together as a blend of memoir and opinion, as Lindy West recounts how she's spent her life being scorned for her weight/size, but nevertheless got over any shyness about public speaking, got involved with stand-up comedy, and developed a thick-enough skin to tolerate the absolutely appalling trolling she receives in her current job as an opinion columnist. Lindy West is a true crusader as she's spent much of her working life taking on fatphobia and attempting to make male comedians understand why rape "jokes" just aren't funny. This book could be "shrill," that word all-too-often used to attempt to silence women who speak up for themselves. But I found it very funny, because she finds the humorous and the absurd in every situation or subject, even the most serious, and uses that humor to make sharp, well-analyzed, insightful points. My favorite aspect of this book is its optimism. Change may not come overnight, and may be barely visible. But Lindy West is able to point out progress over 15 or so years of the fat acceptance movement, and direct changes she's affected in how the male stand-up comedy community talks about rape and rape "humor." I also appreciate that she's quite aware that not everyone is tough enough to say what they think and handle the onslaught of hatred, especially the outright and frightening misogyny directed at women opinion columnists. I deeply appreciate that she's committed to speaking up and speaking out for all the women who can't manage to do so, and that she's not condescending about it or disappointed by other women's silence--she understands how truly hard it is to withstand the repercussions. I hope lots of people, male and female, read this book, and that it gives all of its readers the courage to speak our minds, at least sometimes, politely, empathetically, and compassionately.
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  • Jeanette
    January 1, 1970
    No rating. From the introduction and the first/ next 20 pages I was repelled. Not for me on at least 4 or 5 different facets. Shrill means, to me, shrieking in unpleasant vibrato. This is beyond that, it is not only dark humor. It is filled with venom. Hate, anger and stereotype rule. No good intent is assumed for "the other". Self definitions and core are entirely self-involved to "value". Her "we think" is also in many ways self abusive. But most of all the crude language and context foul dial No rating. From the introduction and the first/ next 20 pages I was repelled. Not for me on at least 4 or 5 different facets. Shrill means, to me, shrieking in unpleasant vibrato. This is beyond that, it is not only dark humor. It is filled with venom. Hate, anger and stereotype rule. No good intent is assumed for "the other". Self definitions and core are entirely self-involved to "value". Her "we think" is also in many ways self abusive. But most of all the crude language and context foul dialog becomes beyond dumb and not worthy readable time. She reminds me of George Carlin in his last years when he became the core of bitter and when his act became the opposite of funny. We saw his show in 3 successive decades. The last one was so bitter and so filled with vile emotional context and hateful to "other" intent, at least a tenth of the audience actually left. It was sad to see that brilliance become so tainted and so personally miserable. That this vitriol can be interpreted as humor becomes hard to understand for those of us who have different, and some of us who may have had far harder luck, health, life experiences and cultural contexts of our own. That she believes progress will occur from this shrieking calling out vitriol exposes how little she knows about homo sapiens emotional and cognitive reality.This goes on my abandoned shelf.
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  • Lorilin
    January 1, 1970
    I wasn’t familiar with Lindy West before reading this book, but, wow, what an intense first impression! West is crazy outspoken–definitely to the point of being abrasive (and even obnoxious) at times. She is shockingly honest and relentlessly blunt about her opinions, her feelings, her experiences. Reading this book is like being slapped in the face. Over and over and over again. There is nothing gentle about it.Initially, I wasn’t even sure I was going to enjoy the book. The first essay, “Are Y I wasn’t familiar with Lindy West before reading this book, but, wow, what an intense first impression! West is crazy outspoken–definitely to the point of being abrasive (and even obnoxious) at times. She is shockingly honest and relentlessly blunt about her opinions, her feelings, her experiences. Reading this book is like being slapped in the face. Over and over and over again. There is nothing gentle about it.Initially, I wasn’t even sure I was going to enjoy the book. The first essay, “Are You There, Margaret? It’s Me, a Person Who Is Not a Complete Freak,” is the least powerful one in the bunch, in my opinion. It feels forced, more of a showboat piece, like “Look how gross I can be! Girls can be gross, too!” Truthfully, I was mentally writing her off after that one.But I kept reading–because I am a faithful reader–and once I got to “Bones” and then especially to “How to Stop Being Shy in Eighteen Easy Steps” and then especially-especially to “Hello, I Am Fat,” well, holy smokes. I was hooked.Because beyond all the sass and attitude, beyond the snarky, slightly pretentious “We, as a society, need to…” comments, there is also plenty of good, insightful, powerful, and heartfelt writing in here. For example:“It’s flattering to believe that we transform ourselves through a set of personal tangibles: Steely resolve and the gentle forbearance of a mysterious young widow who wandered in off the moor, but reality is almost always more mundane. Necessity. Luck. Boredom. Exhaustion. Time. Willpower is real, but it needs the right conditions to thrive.”Or “It was no kind of relationship, but, at age twenty-seven, it was still the best relationship I’d ever had, so I set my jaw and attempted to sculpt myself into the kind of golem who was fascinated by the 10k finishing times of someone who still called me his ‘friend’ when he talked to his mom… I thought, at the time, that love was perseverance.”I mean, she’s got a way with words. And she puts it all out there. When she talks about “being fat” in “Hello, I Am Fat,” I felt like I understood something–someone–that I didn’t before. It’s powerful stuff…even if it isn’t the most pleasant.Bottom line, West has a strong perspective–and presence–and, though she can be over-the-top at times, I think the world is a better place for having her in it. I’m glad I read this book, and I’ll be interested to hear what West has to say next. I’m going to steal (slash modify) her words and say, “Write, little soldier. Write.” We’re listening.ARC provided by Amazon Vine. See more of my reviews at www.BugBugBooks.com.
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  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    The first half of the collection is stronger than the second -- it wades too far into personal/relationship stuff that, as someone without an interest in comedy or in other people's love lives, I just don't care about. Within the first half, there are some real gem essays. West's strength really lies in talking about being a fat woman and expressing how we're human, how we deserve heroes and visions of ourselves in pop culture, and how people treat us day in and day out. But her weakness is ther The first half of the collection is stronger than the second -- it wades too far into personal/relationship stuff that, as someone without an interest in comedy or in other people's love lives, I just don't care about. Within the first half, there are some real gem essays. West's strength really lies in talking about being a fat woman and expressing how we're human, how we deserve heroes and visions of ourselves in pop culture, and how people treat us day in and day out. But her weakness is there's not much depth here. I love her Twitter and I love her work on Jezebel, but here, something isn't quite clicking. The pieces aren't as strong, aren't as powerful, and didn't resonate quite as much as they do in her online forums. It feels like she tries a little too hard to make some stuff funny when she has the capacity to nail it closed with her smart, sharp analytical skills.It's fine, but it's uneven. It's one that, if you like feminist essays, you should pick up and poke through. But it's not essential in the same way Gay's Bad Feminist is nor is it as deep and engaging and exciting as Benincasa's Real Artists Have Day Jobs.
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  • britt_brooke
    January 1, 1970
    I commend West for what she's doing, but this book was nothing earth shattering. The self-love message is of utmost importance. (Well done!) But, I was unable to connect with much of the book. It just wasn't for me.
  • Fatma
    January 1, 1970
    4.25 stars “Please don’t forget: I am my body. When my body gets smaller, it is still me. When my body gets bigger, it is still me. There is not a thin woman inside me, awaiting excavation. I am one piece.” I absolutely loved this. Lindy is such a brilliant writer. She never misses a beat, regardless of what she's talking about, whether that be abortion, women in comedy, her relationships—you name it. You know you love a book when you wanna audibly shout YES!! YES!! as you're reading it. Lindy g 4.25 stars “Please don’t forget: I am my body. When my body gets smaller, it is still me. When my body gets bigger, it is still me. There is not a thin woman inside me, awaiting excavation. I am one piece.” I absolutely loved this. Lindy is such a brilliant writer. She never misses a beat, regardless of what she's talking about, whether that be abortion, women in comedy, her relationships—you name it. You know you love a book when you wanna audibly shout YES!! YES!! as you're reading it. Lindy gives a voice to so many things I've always known but haven't been able to voice, and also to so many things I never knew or thought much about. Oh, and by the way, LINDY IS HILARIOUS—something which is, I think, made more apparent when she reads you the book herself, via the audiobook.
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  • Rachel Smalter Hall
    January 1, 1970
    If you are a person who appreciates unapologetic feminism, body positivity, and a well-placed poop joke, Lindy West's Shrill might wind up being the best book of essays you have ever listened to in your life. Sandwiched between HILARIOUS jokes about reading high fantasy by Robert Jordan on the bus, and the situation with deeply disturbing high school choir outfits, Lindy has gifted us a "fat feminist abortion manifesto" (her words), because "people don’t expect to hear from women like that. And If you are a person who appreciates unapologetic feminism, body positivity, and a well-placed poop joke, Lindy West's Shrill might wind up being the best book of essays you have ever listened to in your life. Sandwiched between HILARIOUS jokes about reading high fantasy by Robert Jordan on the bus, and the situation with deeply disturbing high school choir outfits, Lindy has gifted us a "fat feminist abortion manifesto" (her words), because "people don’t expect to hear from women like that. And I want other women to see me do that and I want women's voices to get louder."I've long loved Lindy West's amazing comedic timing in her writing for The Stranger, Jezebel, and The Guardian, and listening to her deliver her jokes on audio was kind of the most fantastic thing ever. She confesses that she never wanted to be the poster child for fighting virtual trolls and calling out rape jokes, yet she does it every day for everyone who wants women’s voices to get louder. She's doing it for me, and she's doing it for you. Thank you, Lindy West <3
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  • Chessa
    January 1, 1970
    Fuck YES, Lindy West.I don't think I've EVER dragged out a book so long. And it's totally on me - I basically didn't want it to end, for there to be no more book, so I just kept putting it down and looking at it out of the corner of my eye to see if maybe the page length had increased in the interim. It did not. I decided to just plow through and finish because, goddamn, I needed some feminist pumping up in this horrific alternate timeline of political upheaval that we've wandered into.It did no Fuck YES, Lindy West.I don't think I've EVER dragged out a book so long. And it's totally on me - I basically didn't want it to end, for there to be no more book, so I just kept putting it down and looking at it out of the corner of my eye to see if maybe the page length had increased in the interim. It did not. I decided to just plow through and finish because, goddamn, I needed some feminist pumping up in this horrific alternate timeline of political upheaval that we've wandered into.It did not disappoint. I'm still sad that there is no more book, but I'm guessing she'll write another one. Plus! They're making it a TV show! I will no longer have to suspend my feminism to enjoy a half hour TV show. Maybe we are making progress as a society.Funny, vulnerable, and brutally honest. What more could you really want?
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  • Ashley
    January 1, 1970
    This is a 4.5 star reading experience, but I'm rounding it up to five because the audiobook increased my appreciation for Lindy as a writer and overall human person.The essays in this relatively short (but not too short) book cover a range of topics, from living with a female body, period shame, abortion, a multitude of essays covering her experiences across all parts of her life as a fat person, dealing with online trolls, sexism, rape jokes in comedy, the death of a parent, and learning how to This is a 4.5 star reading experience, but I'm rounding it up to five because the audiobook increased my appreciation for Lindy as a writer and overall human person.The essays in this relatively short (but not too short) book cover a range of topics, from living with a female body, period shame, abortion, a multitude of essays covering her experiences across all parts of her life as a fat person, dealing with online trolls, sexism, rape jokes in comedy, the death of a parent, and learning how to be in an adult relationship. But she approaches all of these topics from a standpoint of personal experience, not from some theoretical pulpit on high. She is funny and relatable, even compassionate, when she's not being skewering (sometimes she is both at the same time). There were only a couple of essays in the book that didn't work completely for me, and one was simply because it nearly gave me an anxiety attack, and had nothing to do with her writing ability. While I was listening, I wanted to quote the whole thing. Every once in a while I would just stop the audiobook and go, YES. And then hit play again immediately. (I need a hard copy so I can have the words physically in front of my face.) I would definitely listen to it again, probably even soon.There were a couple of standout essays in here, and I'd heard versions of a couple of them before on episodes of This American Life, specifically "Hello, I am Fat" and the one where she talks to one of her meanest trolls. But her essay on rape jokes in comedy was probably my favorite because it packed the biggest punch. But really, the whole book is worthwhile.Here are some quotes (mostly) out of context that I bookmarked on Audible.Talking about getting her period for the first time:"If Google had existed when I was eleven, my search history would have looked something like this: How much comes out? How many cups come out? How to stop periodCancel your period People with no periodSpells to delay periodMagic to stop periodBlood magicWitchcraftWitchesThe WitchesRoald DahlNew Roald Dahl booksFree Roald Dahl books for kidsPriorities.""The most significant source of my adolescent period anxiety was the fact that in America in 2016, and far more so in 1993, acknowledging the completely normal and mundane function of most uteruses is still taboo."Talking about how useless and harmful it is to shame fat people into being skinny:"If anti-fat crusaders really want what they claim to want--for fat people to be healthy--they should be on the front lines of size acceptance and fat empowerment. There's hard science to back this up. Shame contributes measurably to weight gain, not weight loss. Loving yourself is not antithetical to health; it is intrinsic to health. You can't take good care of a thing you hate."On the time a troll registered an account under the name "LindyWestLicksMyAsshole", and her workplace refused to take it down because it didn't violate their terms of service by being "gendered":"It is gendered, though. Of course it's gendered. It's sexualizing me for the purpose of making me uncomfortable, of reminding my audience and colleagues and detractors that I'm a sex thing first and a human being second. That my ideas are secondary to my body. Sure, if you strip away cultural context entirely, you could construe 'LindyWestLicksMyAsshole' as having nothing to do with gender, but that's willful dishonesty."On flying as a fat person, and what she knows people think of her:"This is the subtext of my life: You're bigger than I'd like you to be. I dread being near you. Your body itself is a breach of etiquette. You are clearly a fucking fool who thinks that cheesecake is a vegetable. I know that you will fart on me. Nobody wants to sit next to a fat person on a plane. Don't think we don't know."When an acquaintance brought his troll-like behavior into the real world, concerning a disagreement over rape jokes in comedy. This one works much better in full context, but I'm including it anyway, mostly as a note to myself:"Dave brought a knife and a gun to a comedy show. Because of a disagreement about whether or not comedy clubs are safe for women. Because the way people talk on stage has no bearing on how they behave in real life."On her troll, and trolls in general:"If what he said is true, that he just needed to find some meaning in his life, then what a heartbreaking diagnosis for all of the people who are still at it. I can't give purpose and fulfillment to millions of anonymous strangers, but I can remember not to lose sight of their humanity the way that they lost sight of mine. Humans can be reached."And just because I thought it was funny:"Whale is the weakest insult ever, by the way. 'Oh, I have a giant brain and rule the sea with my majesty? What have you accomplished lately, Steve?'"
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  • Sebastien
    January 1, 1970
    Lindy West is so awesome. I discovered her some years back when she was on NPR, I think it was This American Life, featuring one of her stories. It was riveting. Ever since then I've followed her writings, her columns, her political analysis. She is an incredibly perceptive and brilliant writer imo. What makes her shine is her razor sharp humor and wit, she is very clever and I mean that as a compliment not as some sort of sneaky snide diss. I respect cleverness hehe. She consistently makes me l Lindy West is so awesome. I discovered her some years back when she was on NPR, I think it was This American Life, featuring one of her stories. It was riveting. Ever since then I've followed her writings, her columns, her political analysis. She is an incredibly perceptive and brilliant writer imo. What makes her shine is her razor sharp humor and wit, she is very clever and I mean that as a compliment not as some sort of sneaky snide diss. I respect cleverness hehe. She consistently makes me laugh, and I love the way she puts words together. Bit of downside to the book was that certain sections were a bit repetitive and a bit, I don't know, humming at a constant angry pitch that made it harder to appreciate the anger because it was not contextualized, it didn't stand out. I think sometimes a point can be better illustrated if there is a crescendo rather than operating at a constant fever pitch. Does that make sense? I mean, look, I don't mean to criticize her anger I just think at certain points it could have been more effectively illustrated. And to be fair if I had to face a hundredth of the bs West has faced I'd be a fire-breathing dragon wanting to burn everything down. And this problem really only happened in certain sections of the book, not the whole book and should not serve as a disincentive to read this, because I think it is really good. And tbh I feel a bit guilty even pointing out this issue, like I am committing sacrilege and questioning West's anger and pain. I hope it doesn't come across that way.The most powerful writings in her book for me were her personal battles in regards to her body (she is a large woman) and her depictions of how society and people judge her, throw bigotry at her, attempt to silence her, and literally go all out to try to psychologically break her. Much of the body issues are intertwined with misogyny and gender power dynamics, and she gives a lot of great insights into this stuff in general. But damn, some of it is very very hard to read. It makes me embarrassed for us that we still do this to people, what we humans are capable of in regards to cruelty is frightening. I have a lot of admiration for her, she is very honest about her journey, her pain, her sufferings. The greatest part of the book is the intimacy, intensity, and honesty of her story, she lays it all out there and her voice truly shines through. It feels like she is literally talking to you (actually she was to me, I listened to the audiobook). It has not been easy (I don't know how she survived all the abuse, it's frankly astounding), but what I think is cool is how she has managed to leverage humor, use this as a weapon as a way to both protect herself, but also bring awareness to these issues in a funny and accessible way for people like me who likely wouldn't be reading this type of analysis otherwise. It makes me more aware of issues that are not at the center of my own life (especially the issue of bigotry against obesity), and in fact it helps me gain a bit of awareness and gain a greater depth of understanding of the nuance and pain this issue causes so many people. I think that is another point I love about West and her accomplishments, she has taken her suffering, her pain, and she has ju-jitsued it into her work and has created an avenue to help others, given voice to a disempowered group who face this bigotry. She also drills beneath the surface on these issues, her analysis is nuanced and very interesting and illuminating. Our status quo keeps manifesting these sorts of problems that end up hurting people with weight issues while pernicious misogyny often intertwines with this to make it even worse. Somehow this arena of social justice is less advanced than others in our society, we still have a pretty big blank check to judge, belittle, dehumanize, and insult people who have weight issues. Instead of compassion and attempt at understanding we bring our cudgel to judge on this issue. The dehumanization taking place is rather astounding. I think there is a large part of this that comes down to getting to feel superior, hey look at those obese people, they are bad people and don't have self-control but look at me by comparison, I am good and amazing and self-controlled. Anyhow, I think there is still a barrier to break down on weight stuff in our society and it is a tough nut to crack given that it often intertwines with a very sticky misogyny that is hard to root out. Plus a lot of this weight stuff is complex, there are a lot of dynamics going on that make the problem worse: lack of access to quality food, many don't have the luxury of time to cook and take care of their body, income disparity plays a major role, the marketing and addictiveness of processed foods, the artificial cheapness of many of the processed foods (subsidies), and the misinformation and propaganda pushed by the processed food industry confuses our understanding of what healthy eating and lifestyles encompass. The way the system is currently set up here in the states we are pushed in a variety of ways towards the less healthy options, those are incentivized, it is easier to eat badly than it is to eat well. For me, the public policy here is just one more example of corporate profits coming at the cost of public health.In regards to the issue of obesity and bigotry, I have certainly played into it, no doubt, the question is with growing awareness can one at least not feed and perpetuate that dynamic, and then the next question is how do we improve things, can I do better? basically can I be a better person? The answer is yes. We can change the culture and system dynamics on this, the hope is that it happens sooner rather than later! The piece on Dan Savage was amazing, I'd heard it before on This American Life, and it is an important piece that illustrates these dynamics. It showcases how well-meaning people who are in general aware and active in fighting bigotry can have major blindspots, even when they come from a marginalized group themselves. I read lot of Dan's columns back in the day, and I really loved it, he is smart, sassy, dynamic, pulls no punches, but I haven't read his work in a while (makes me think I should check out his more recent work to see what he's been up to). Dan was her boss, and... well you gotta read the story or listen to it: https://www.thisamericanlife.org/radi...Also the troll story, pretty sure this was my 1st intro to Lindy West, it is mind-blowing, taking psychological troll warfare to the nuclear level. It will give you a taste of what West has had to deal with: https://www.thisamericanlife.org/radi...The only part that fell a bit flat for me were some of the relationship stories. That stuff was just less interesting to me in general, but that is merely a taste thing, my interests aren't usually in that arena. Although they were often important and illustrative of certain dynamics that West was pointing out.
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  • Vanessa
    January 1, 1970
    I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I don't understand why I put off listening to it for so long. Audiobook was a perfect way to experience this, as Lindy West narrates it herself and her voice was so compelling and humorous.Lindy covers a variety of subjects from fat-shaming and rape culture, to women in comedy and her own abortion. She has a fantastic sense of humour, and although sometimes I felt that the jokes came a little too thick and fast, I really just got her. Her pop-culture reference I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I don't understand why I put off listening to it for so long. Audiobook was a perfect way to experience this, as Lindy West narrates it herself and her voice was so compelling and humorous.Lindy covers a variety of subjects from fat-shaming and rape culture, to women in comedy and her own abortion. She has a fantastic sense of humour, and although sometimes I felt that the jokes came a little too thick and fast, I really just got her. Her pop-culture references were on point, and I loved how sarcastic and strong she was. There were some really shocking things in here, particularly on her battles with other comedians over the use of rape jokes in their sets, and the moments about her family and her father in particular were incredibly moving.Overall this was a great choice on audiobook, and I'd thoroughly recommend it to anyone who is interested in these topics.
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