I am so excited about Shrill: Notes From a Loud Woman I can hardly stand it. And really, author Lindy West is not really a loud woman. It’s only that she does not apologize for what she thinks and when women do that, they are called loud. We know this from watching the media who never criticize the shouting Trump and Sanders tone and volume reflecting on how Clinton should not shout and should not be so loud. Society approves of soft, apologetic voices and when we don’t apologize we are loud. So Lindy West is loud.
She is also funny as all hell. I cracked up on the second page and laughed frequently throughout her funny, bold, brave, heartbreaking, hardworking, kind, compassionate, smart, sassy, entertaining, and above all, wise memoir.
I was chatting on social media with friends. One had shared a BuzzFeed article “22 Things Everyone Has Secretly Done While on Their Period” and we were all sharing our inane commonality when the UPS guy dropped of an Advance Reading Copy of Shrill that I won in a recent GoodReads Giveaway. I looked inside and had to laugh that the topic of the first chapter was about how society obsesses over and against women’s menstruation. While, I am laughing at the “small throw pillow…over your shame canyon,” West is making the very salient and timely point that it is easier for legislators to make laws that control our bodies when we are shamed by them, that the stigma of menstrual blood is mostly misogyny with some red food coloring.
This is a memoir, so she takes us through childhood and her struggles with finding herself worthy, her early career as a writer at The Stranger, Seattle’s alt-weekly and later at Jezebel. She begins writing about films and comedy but events in the culture and at work draw her to begin writing feminist commentary. She writes about being fat and female and becomes the target of online harassment which all women are familiar with, but exponentiated.
I did not recognize her name, but she wrote about a debate she took part in on the W. Kamau Bell show. I saw that debate and was so disgusted by the final comment of the man she debated. So was she. The debate was about rape jokes – you can imagine the response she got. She has an expertise in handling trolls that no one should aspire to because you cannot become that wise about them without dealing with them in great numbers for a long time.
The worst thing about this book is that it won’t be released until May 17th which means you cannot download and start reading it right this very minute. But, as 12:01 AM on the 17th, you really should. It is a book that makes you feel better about yourself, but not in that self-help visualize and breathe way, but in the more real, more realistic “stop beating yourself up” way. West spent some difficult years to get to her happy place in the world, but she never lost her humor or her kindness and that makes this a book we all need to read. All of us, not just women. All of us.
I received my an Advanced Reading Copy of Shrill from the publisher through Goodreads Giveaways.