I will start by saying that I really thought that this book was going to be more about her being loud than it turned out to be. The title, the subtitle, my own loudness. It’s the main reason I picked it up. It’s mostly about her being fat and secondly about her being a woman with thoughts.
Because, you know, people still don’t like that. There are great parts in the book that do deal with being a loud, opinionated woman, but given the title I just thought that would be the majority of the book.
Regardless, I am beyond thrilled that I picked this up. It’s so funny and raw and flows so smoothly that I finished it in one sitting. It was me and Lindy and a cup of coffee. Well it was really just me drinking too much coffee and shouting things at my book like “THANK YOU, somebody had to say it” and “you tell ’em, girl!”
Side note: talking to intimate objects is common for me. Yes, I have seen a doctor about it. He said it was nothing to worry about. So I just keep doing it.
There are very few moments in the book where it feels as if she is whining and complaining, which can be easy to do when you are writing about your problems with the way society views certain issues. Instead, this book is more about self awareness and acceptance, growing in spite of fatness, loudness, womanhood, or whatever other undesirable trait you may possess. West’s writing is funny and never dull. It reads like a chat with a good pal. Speaking of which, if you enjoy audio books, she narrates this book herself in the audio book version. So it’s just like sitting there and having this hilarious woman rattle off stories to you.
In Shrill, West covers rape culture, fat shaming, and other areas of feminism. For someone who never intended to be an advocate of anything, she sure is good at it. Many people look at women as being smart or funny, but rarely both. As if comedy is something that women use to cover up something that they lack. Shrill proves that, yes, women can be both. And Lindy West is both.
That being said, I do have one small complaint. If you follow Lindy West as a blogger, much of this is content that you have already read. Not just the subjects, but some of the exact content is pulled from her blogs. There are some rewordings and extra bits thrown into some but there are still pieces that are entirely new, as in the beginning when she humorously rattles off the small list of fat female role models she could look up to as a young girl. If you have never read any of her work, this is a great way to do so and get some great variety. If you follow and already love her, this is still a must read in my opinion because it really shows her range as a writer.
“Women matter. Women are half of us. When you raise every woman to believe that we are insignificant, that we are broken, that we are sick, that the only cure is starvation and restraint and smallness; when you pit women against one another, keep us shackled by shame and hunger, obsessing over our flaws rather than our power and potential; when you leverage all of that to sap our money and our time—that moves the rudder of the world. It steers humanity toward conservatism and walls and the narrow interests of men, and it keeps us adrift in waters where women’s safety and humanity are secondary to men’s pleasure and convenience.”