Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Shrill by Lindy West- Book Review

I will admit that I was not familiar with who Lindy West was, but I had heard about this book before it was a pick for June's Book of the Month Club (use the link and "refer50" for 1/2 off a 3mo subscription).

Shrill by Lindy West at points made me literally laugh out loud, question my own language, and at times made me think about some of the things that I have accepted when it comes to being fat.

This is a collection of essays by West dealing with a wide variety of issues. The bulk of the essays are about what it is like being a fat woman (her words, not mine) and the way people treat her in life and on the internet. Other essays deal with comments she has gotten as she has blogged and a debate over rape jokes she had with Jim Norton. 

The essays read like blog posts which is not a bad thing, in fact it made the book a quick and easy read. Her use of humor is incredible. She is funny! I learned so many new terms for the "vagina" for instance. She pulls no punches and just comes out and gets to the point. I appreciated that in her writing.

There were essays that I deeply connected with, since I am a fat guy. Her essay on getting on an airplane and the stares and comments that come along with being a bigger person for instance, hit the mark. Her humor is often self-effacing, which at times contradicts the point that she was trying to make in a different essay, but it works. Overall though, her essays on being a bigger woman and being comfortable with oneself were quite powerful. I especially thought her essay where she stands up to her boss, who went on a "obesity is killing the world" kick was worth reading for anyone who struggles with weight.

The only difficulty I had with the book was how the stories were sometimes told. For example, her essay on debating rape jokes with Jim Norton had a lot of incredible points. She told what it was like for her and the comments she was getting from internet trolls, which many comedians didn't acknowledge would happen. The essay was great. Where the difficulty was is she wrote is as a "I said, then he said" type of essay. This is especially difficult when one is only getting one side of the narrative, while the opposite point is quickly glossed over. Even though I agreed with West, I would have liked to know more what Norton's responses were to her. She told the story as a neighbor gossiping about a neighbor trying to make the other look as bad as possible. This happened in a few essays. There was lots of drama in almost all of her essays.

As a whole, I did really enjoy this book and my streak with Book of the Month continues. I think it is very empowering and lots of people who struggle with their weight will get a lot out of the essays.  I rated this one 4 stars.

Here is the Amazon link- Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West

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