I just finished reading Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by writer Lindy West, and I loved it. Instead of writing an in-depth, critical review, I’m just going to write all of the things I loved about it.
1. It’s very, very funny.
I laughed out loud a lot while reading this book. Truly funny books are rare, and their value is far above rubies. Her sense of humor probably isn’t everyone’s cup of tea (because no sense of humor is), but I enjoyed it immensely.
2. She writes about being fat.
West calls herself fat, and writes about how she has learned to love herself just as she is. She contributed to a This American Life episode on this topic, and it is fantastic. You can listen to it here.
3. She writes about being a woman.
“Being a woman” is a euphemism I just employed for talking about periods and uteruses and vaginas because I am not as evolved as West is. She talks about all that stuff in an open, matter-of-fact, funny way that would have been super helpful to read as an adolescent. She argues against the period taboo (which I reinforced with my euphemism! I have a ways to go), pointing out that periods are not big deals. So why all the secrecy and shame?
4. She writes about fighting misogyny in comedy.
She loves comedy and the comedy community, and she tells the story of publicly arguing against rape jokes and vilely misogynistic specimens of “humor” and all of the hate she got for it. It made me furious on her behalf, but it made me really glad that she’s working against it, even at great cost to herself. She also fights internet trolls, and there is another awesome This American Life episode about that.
5. She writes about her abortion.
West had an abortion, and she’s not sorry about it. This was tough for me to read as someone who is pro-life. But I appreciate her honesty, and I think it’s helpful to read stories like this to better understand people on the other side of the debate.
In summary: I laughed, I got enraged, I laughed more, and I learned a lot. If you enjoy that kind of experience, I think you’ll like this book.
Note for readers with strong feelings about profanity: West swears in this book, a lot.