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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.

I’m a bit behind – I actually read this a few weeks ago. I saw quite a lot of people talking about Shrill on Twitter, so when we got it at work I took it home immediately. I don’t know much about Lindy West, but recommendations from people who I respect are good enough for me. Shrill is a memoir, not the “ooh look at how cool I was” kind that really gets up my nose, but the approachable kind that is also about other things, like comedy, and being fat, and feminism, and existing on the internet as a woman. I really, really enjoyed it. It’s funny, and intelligent, and warm. It also made me cry, quite a lot. I want to read it again, and I want everyone I know to read it. Just so good.

BookRiot Read Harder Challenge 2016: read a nonfiction book about feminism or dealing with feminist issues

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2 thoughts on “Shrill – Lindy West

  1. I loved Shrill too and really didn’t know much about Lindy West before picking this one up! I love how you describe the book as approachable because it truly is – I don’t feel like there are many people who wouldn’t find something to relate to or to appreciate in this book. Like you, I want everyone to read it too now!

    Liked by 1 person

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