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Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy…

Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman

by Lindy West

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Remarkable -- one of the best books I've read, and I read a LOT. West's voice is honest and fresh. She is thoughtful and forthright, and despite her critics' charges to the contrary, she never shrinks from examining herself or her own motives. The blend of social / political observation and personal narrative is powerful. I have read a number of her shorter pieces and heard some interviews, so I already admired West, but after this book, I genuinely love her and her work. She is brave, yes, and uncompromising -- this you know, if you know anything about her. But she is also affectionate, and kind, and sweet lord is she funny. To her many critics, I suggest you may be seeing the billboard (or the tweet?) version of West and her work. This book will help you see more of the whole person, or at least her views and ideas, not just opinions (though she doesn't shrink from conveying those, and rightly so). Three cheers for Lindy West! ( )
  jenspirko | Jun 1, 2017 |
I first heard -- and, indeed, first heard of -- Lindy West when she appeared on a couple of This American Life episodes, once in a segment about her calling out her then-boss (and still friend) Dan Savage for his painful and clueless attempts to fat-shame America out of its obesity epidemic, and once with an amazing story about getting an actual, sincere apology from an internet troll who had attacked her in a way that seems unbelievably appalling and cruel even by the usual cesspit-y internet standards. And, listening to her on the show, I knew instantly that I really, really wanted to read this woman's writing.

Well, now I have. And, boy, did it not disappoint. In this volume she talks about her life, her family, and her relationships; about feminism; about comedy; about abortion; about online harassment; and about what it's like to be fat and to decide, after a lifetime of being told that your body is disgusting and you are unlovable because of it, that you just aren't going to quietly take that anymore. And it's all just amazing. West is so sharp and so smart, so willing to be loud and bold and firm in declaring her convictions, but also wonderfully thoughtful, reasonable, and deeply, deeply humane. And so funny. Parts of this made me laugh out loud. Like, a lot. Other parts made my heart hurt. Also a lot. Possibly a moment or two kind of made me do both at once. Like I said. Amazing. ( )
1 vote bragan | May 11, 2017 |
This collection of essays is strung together in a loose arc that documents Lindy West's evolution as a writer on pop culture who also works for feminism and fat acceptance. There's a lot to admire here in her clear-eyed and brassy intelligence, and in the kindness which permeates her advocacy. The later essays worked for me a little better than did the earlier ones, though; they're sharp and funny but more sober. Aspects of the comedic style which West adopts in the earlier essays just didn't ping with me—I suspect that they work better verbally than in print—though I was glad to find in her someone else who's long been perturbed by the septuagenarian six pack sported by King Triton in Disney's Little Mermaid. (It had to be steroids, right?) ( )
  siriaeve | May 3, 2017 |
The recommendations I received for this book had me a bit wary: memoir of a fat, pop-culture writer for Jezebel. I didn't realize she'd written my favorite piece on Jezebel ("How to Make a Rape Joke"). I didn't realize she'd stood up to Dan Savage and his anti-fat rhetoric (though I'd read about the entire situation). I read it because, when you recommend books to people all the time, you are obligated to take their recommendations in return on occasion.
And I am so glad I did. Lindy West writes in such an approachable way. She writes about her reactions to misogyny in comedy, and how confronting it has soured her on comedy ("Comedy, you broke my heart" hit me hard, because my life-long love, academia, recently broke mine, too). She wrote about the death of her father and all the recriminations she had for herself and all the false parallels to death she'd made before she confronted it. She writes about growing up fat, with all the fear of being worthless that comes with it. But I grew up thin--thinking I was just as worthless because my body wasn't "right," and trying hard to figure out how to do just that.
The acceptance and love and humor and grace she shows her own body are kindnesses I hope to be able to show my own--and others'. I can say that about all her stories: despite the despicable way she is treated daily, AFK (away from keyboard) and online, she has built a philosophy and persona and heart strong enough to take trolls head on, to confront a beloved institution (comedy) about an insidious problem is has (rape jokes), and even speak up to her boss. I think when many of us try to say we are hoping to find our voice, this is what we are hoping to find.
Also, while this book is hilarious, it is also chock full of potential triggers. Rape, death, disillusionment, abortion, and screwy periods are all covered frankly. They are all considered in a broader context, often through a very clear feminist lens, and with such a matter-of-fact way that seems foreign when talking about "women's issues." But she is helping to normalize them, to help by giving a script to women who are seeking ways of saying "Yes, it is possible to make a joke out of this, but you are making fun of me, not the topic, and you're doing so in a way that hurts me--which I don't think you want to do. Please stop" to so many aspects of their lives.
Lindy West is giving an excellent voice to the youngish feminists (3rd wave? Is that what we are now?) who want to be allowed to be in their bodies without constant threat or ridicule, and who want that for others, too. She recognizes her privilege often, and makes it a point to use that privilege to make changes that can help us all. ( )
  kaelirenee | Apr 11, 2017 |
I LOVED LOVED LOVED this book! Literally I heart it soo much. It was very empowering, inspiring, and heartfelt and it made me think differently about myself, my body, and my gender. Lindy (and I'll admit I had no idea who she was until I read this book) does a wonderful job relating to the reader different instances in her life and her career that helped her become the feminist she is today. She talks about rape culture in comedy, abortion, body image, obesity, self worth, family, and more. She is a strong humorous writer and can make you laugh as easily as make you cry. Definitely a great book for women and those struggling with body weight, self confidence, and feminism. An all around win that I will definitely read again and recommend! ( )
  ecataldi | Apr 4, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316348406, Hardcover)

Hailed by Lena Dunham as an "essential (and hilarious) voice for women," Lindy West is ferociously witty and outspoken, tackling topics as varied as pop culture, social justice and body image. Her empowering work has garnered a coast-to-coast audience that eagerly awaits SHRILL, her highly-anticipated literary debut.

West has rocked readers in work published everywhere from The Guardian to GQ to This American Life. She is a catalyst for a national conversation in a world where not all stories are created equal and not every body is treated with equal respect. SHRILL is comprised of a series of essays that bravely shares her life, including her transition from quiet to feminist-out-loud, coming of age in a popular culture that is hostile to women (especially fat, funny women) and how keeping quiet is not an option for any of us.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 01 Feb 2016 22:13:30 -0500)

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