shrill review

To start, I apologise if this review is a bit shorter than usual. I read Lindy West’s Shrill quite a while ago, and so some of the details are a bit fuzzy in my memory. Why do I never learn to write my reviews straight after reading the book?!

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.

Reading Shrill is another step in my journey to body positivity. This is a thing that has really been in the forefront of my mind recently, and so I thought I would finally pick up the copy that has been lying around my house since January (!). And honestly, I loved it. I loved how loud and proud Lindy West is. Her voice definitely won’t be for everyone, but for me that style of writing worked so well in what she was trying to achieve.

She was also hilarious. I do sometimes find feminist books a bit difficult to read if they are totally doom and gloom. And I understand that sometimes it is very difficult to see positives. Upsetting material is important – there’s no point hiding from it. But this was much easier to read because she takes topics such as abortions and gives them her own personality and humour.

What I found the most fascinating in the book was the specific section about trolls. In particular, West meets a troll who had previously set up a Twitter account pretending to be her recently-deceased father. The troll then decided to Tweet horrible messages to West, saying things like ‘I’ve always been disappointed in you’. I thought it was tremendously brave of her to go up to this troll and ask why he did this, and whether he really did mean her such emotional trauma. Seriously, I would recommend the book just for this chapter alone.

I will definitely be picking up any other books that West has to offer. (And preferably another one that is not involved with Dan Savage, who I have problems with.) I’ve been trying to explain body positivity to a lot of people in my life recently, and now, I’m going to direct them to this book.


6 thoughts on “shrill review

  1. Sarah says:

    I’ve had this on my TBR for a while, so I’m glad to see you liked it!! It definitely makes me want to pick it up more. I need to read more body positivity books, it’s so easy to get wrapped up in cultural BS, ugh.


  2. Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

    I also struggle to write my reviews immediately after reading… It’s one of the goals I hope to work on this month! You are not alone. In fact, reading this helped me realize that I have 2/3 a review for this book sitting in my blog draft space. O_o How embarrassing.

    I listened to the audiobook version, as narrated by Lindy West. If you think she’s funny reading these essays, you should hear her execution. She obviously has some training in stand-up comedy. All of West’s delivery is ON POINT.

    West’s whole section about Trolls only reinforced how little I want to be a public figure. My Better Half is interested in politics, but he won’t go into it because I don’t want to deal with it. I am not interested in the world’s assumed ideas about my and my own opinions. I really respect West and her strength throughout that whole ordeal.


    • whatthelog says:

      That is a fantastic goal to have – I think next year I’m going to add that to my monthly goals. And yup, I often just put in the blurb from goodreads and then just forget about the review!
      Aaaah, that’s brilliant! I don’t tend to be an audiobook person myself but I can totally see how it would work with this sort of book.
      Yeah, me too. I honestly don’t know if I could have dealt with that sort of abuse.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

        I had it as one of my monthly goals, but it just wasn’t working for me. I went into 2017 with a back log of reviews. At this point, I’m just drowning. I really need to figure something else out. There will be a discussion post about that coming up soon. 😀 I don’t have a great process for helping me keep track of my reviews to write, either. Worst.

        West blows me away with her strength. It takes a lot of mental focus and fortitude to be a strong, positive public figure about body positivity after her experiences. I really respect her work.


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