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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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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 |
Not knowing much about Lindy West until her memoir exploded on the book world, I had no idea what to expect when starting Shrill. I did know she was a feminist. I knew she had to close out her Twitter account because she had so many people trolling her. I also knew that friends kept recommending it as a must-read memoir. So I took their advice, and I am glad I did.

It is difficult to imagine anyone not finding Ms. West’s history compelling. She finds humor in the most painful of stories, but she does not use it to deflect her pain. Instead, she allows readers to see her pain and uses humor to lessen the blow as well as show her recovery from it. She uses that vulnerability to show others that we as women can survive. Not only that but that we should survive because when we do we win. Her ultimate message is that the bullies win when we stay quiet, when we submit to their expectations of us, when we fail to speak. When we find our voice, we win because we get them talking and talking is learning. It is a powerful message, and one that could not be more timely.

This message does come with a price, and Ms. West has most definitely paid that price. She has experienced pretty much all of the crap this shitty society of ours can throw at her. She had to learn to survive in a world that continues to attempt to shame her for her body size. She had to deal with those who look down their noses at her decision to have an abortion. She has had to fight for recognition in her relationship, in her work, and for her beliefs. She had to learn to shrug off the trolls. The fact that she doesn’t hide who she is, what she believes, or who she supports only serves to rally her opponents, and she had to learn not to care. The fact that she is able to explain all of this with grace is a testament to her inner strength.

I may not have known much about Ms. West when I started the audiobook, but now I do. Ms. West is a remarkable woman who is beautiful, intelligent, funny, and generous. She is a woman who wants to spare others her pain and who fights for those who cannot. She is a woman to watch and a woman to emulate. We could all use more Lindy Wests in our lives.
  jmchshannon | Mar 21, 2017 |
Lindy West is one of those admirable people who can identify and articulate a problem that I can only see as a problem but not express why it is so bad. She takes on fat shaming and rape culture in a way that should have everyone nodding their heads in wondrous agreement then takes on the trolls who want to see her raped, mutilated and murdered for voicing her opinion. And she has reasonably expressed view of abortion. Highly recommended. ( )
  Citizenjoyce | Jan 19, 2017 |
Brassy and wonderful, West's essays are a true glimpse into what it is like to be female in the world ,digitally and otherwise. ( )
  Brainannex | Jan 19, 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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