Shrill Notes from a loud woman

Lindy West

Book - 2016

"Presents a series of essays by the American writer and comedian, dealing with issues of body image, popular culture, feminism, and social justice,"--NoveList.

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New York : Hachette Books 2016.
First edition
Physical Description
viii, 260 pages ; 21 cm
Main Author
Lindy West (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* In this uproariously funny debut, West, GQ writer and fat-acceptance activist, blends memoir, social commentary, and ribald comedy in a biting manifesto. Starting with the admission that she was not at all happy to get her period, West describes her inspiring progression from body hate to body love. Readers will delight in West's clarity as she describes her childhood (there are no positive depictions of fat people in Disney) and beliefs (why it's so offensive to ask fat people "where they get their confidence"), illuminating the insidious way our culture regards those who are overweight as subhuman and revolting moral and intellectual failures. She debunks objections to the obese as a drain on health care and advocates movingly for empathy because it's hard being fat. Despite the book's serious subject, West's ribald jokes, hilarious tirades, and raucous confessions keep her narrative skipping merrily along as she jumps from painful confession to powerful epiphany. Sure to be a boon for anyone who has struggled with body image, Shrill is a triumphant, exacting, absorbing memoir that will lay new groundwork for the way we talk about the taboo of being too large. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

GQ culture writer West's essay collection addresses topics such as fantasy literature, fat acceptance, rape jokes, and being a woman on the Internet with sometimes bittersweet, frequently hilarious results—step five of "How To Stop Being Shy in Eighteen Steps" involves joining a choir with "uniforms that look like menopausal genie costumes." In one of the most powerful pieces, the author describes being targeted by an online troll who had adopted the persona of her late, beloved father (his Twitter bio read "Location: Dirt hole in Seattle"). After writing about the situation for, West was contacted by the troll, who apologized and agreed to join her on an episode of NPR's "This American Life" to discuss why he'd done such a cruel thing to a complete stranger. West's prose is conversational and friendly in tone, hacking away at the patriarchy with a smile. VERDICT This is a natural fit for fans of Roxane Gay's Bad Feminist, Felicia Day's You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost), and Jenny Lawson's Furiously Happy.—Stephanie Klose, Library Journal [Page 78]. (c) Copyright 2016 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

West, a GQ culture writer and former staff writer for Jezebel, balances humor with a rare honesty and introspection in her debut. Over the course of the book, West details finding her voice as a writer and a feminist through stories about her family, her weight, having an abortion, and the emotional toil of being harassed online. West's chronicle of the series of highly personal online attacks—and of how much Internet conversations have changed in the past decade—marks this book as required reading. Always entertaining and relatable, West writes openly and with clear eyes about embarrassing moments and self-esteem issues, and has a remarkable ability to move among lightheartedness, heavy hitting topics, and what it means to be a good person. By reading about West's thought-provoking responses to online rape jokes, gender-specific attacks, and being trolled about a family tragedy, readers learn by example how to navigate the Internet's sometimes soul-sucking terrain with dignity and retain a sense of adventure. Agent: Gary Morris, David Black Agency. (May) [Page ]. Copyright 2016 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

The Guardian columnist and This American Life social commentator presents a series of essays about the qualities of a comedic feminist and her experiences of coming of age in a popular culture that is hostile to plus-sized women who speak their minds. 75,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Presents a series of essays by the American writer and comedian, dealing with issues of body image, popular culture, feminism, and social justice.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Shrill is an uproarious memoir, a feminist rallying cry in a world that thinks gender politics are tedious and that women, especially feminists, can't be funny. 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 humoristLindy 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.