August 7, 2016

Book Review: Lindy West's "Shrill"

I was first introduced to Lindy West when she was a guest host on one of my favorite podcasts, Citizen Radio. I was so struck how confident and sharp-witted she was. I knew she was a force to be reckoned with. I have been a fan ever since so when I found out she wrote a book I knew I had to pick it up. The aptly named "Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman."

Lindy makes a living off being a writer so this book was quite enjoyable unlike some recent celeb books I've read (here & here). She includes personal antidotes to talk about how she gained the confidence she did. She also gets very personal about her father's battle with cancer that he ultimately lost and then a troll took it as an opportunity to harrowingly bully her. There is a great segment on This American Life where Lindy confronts the man on the phone. He ultimately apologizes which she admits was unexpected as no troll as ever apologized to her. It was one of the creepiest incidents of trolling on the internet - but every day there's a new incident such as the recent incident of Leslie Jones.

Lindy grew up loving stand-up comedy but she talked about how comedy ultimately broke her heart. You may recall a little while ago Daniel Tosh got in a lot of heat about his rape jokes at a comedy show when a woman stood up to him. Comedians, which are 90% white men, flooded to his support while many females said perhaps we should hear the woman out - GASP! It really was a culture war coming to ahead. Women: Rape culture is... Men: Rape culture doesn't exist! Lindy appeared on W. Kamau's Bell Totally Biased to discuss the topic against fellow comedian, Jim Norton who makes a living on shock comedy. She points out in the book how to this day she still gets hate comments under the video when she is defending free speech in comedy but just asks that guys try to be a little more clever than yell "RAPE" at a woman. What a concept. Since the video it feels like some progress has been made but Lindy has been at the forefront.

If you're a woman on the internet then you've most likely encountered the trolls especially if you share an opinion. I especially got trolled about my love of the Ghostbusters remake and always get lovely comments when I tweet about sports. What I admire about Lindy is that despite the mud she gets throw on a daily basis, she still has a wonderful spirit. I recommend reading her work and if you enjoy them then pick up her book!

What books have you read recently?

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