Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West Download (read online) free eBook (PDF ePub Kindle)

Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman

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 com

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.
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    Hannah Greendale

    Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.

    Society has long held women to near-impossible standards of beauty and urged them to remain quiet and reserved. Outspoken women, who champion women’s rights and advocate the importance of feminism, are often labeled with a slew of derogatory terms with negative associations. Lindy West – brave feminist, bold writer, and delightful humorist – was never destined for a life of submissive silence. In her savvy m

    Society has long held women to near-impossible standards of beauty and urged them to remain quiet and reserved. Outspoken women, who champion women’s rights and advocate the importance of feminism, are often labeled with a slew of derogatory terms with negative associations. Lindy West – brave feminist, bold writer, and delightful humorist – was never destined for a life of submissive silence. In her savvy memoir, West recounts her transition from a shy child who was ashamed of her body to a successful woman who loves her body and isn’t afraid to be loud.

    I felt something start to unclench deep inside me. What if my body didn’t have to be a secret? What if I was wrong all along – what if this was all a magic trick, and I could just decide I was valuable and it would be true? Why, instead, had I left that decision in the hands of strangers who hated me? Denying people access to value is an incredibly insidious form of emotional violence, one that our culture wields aggressively and liberally to keep marginalized groups small and quiet.

    No topic is off limits in West’s memoir, and humor is always close at hand. She opens with an amusing examination of the weighty existential question adults love to toss at children: What do you want to be when you grow up?

    The answer was ballerina, or, for a minute, veterinarian, as I had been erroneously led to believe that “veterinarian” was the grown-up term for “professional animal-petter.” I would later learn, crestfallen and appalled, that it’s more a term for “touching poo all the time featuring intermittent cat murder,” so the plan was abandoned. (The fact that ANY kid wants to be a veterinarian is bananas, by the way – whoever does veterinarian medicine’s PR among preschool-aged children should be working in the fucking White House.)

    Whether she’s writing about abortion, America’s obsession with female thinness, or her ailing father’s battle with cancer, West comes across as candid and genuine. She begins her memoir with amusing stories before diving into more serious topics like the dangerous precedent set by comedians casually telling rape jokes and the tragic consequences of internet trolling and fat shaming.

    Her words are a rallying cry for activists and feminists. Some may find her words offensive, uncomfortable, or difficult to accept, but she makes no apology for plainly stating painful truths. Some readers, whose thoughts align with West’s, will find themselves nodding considerably; while others are liable to find their worldviews challenged and will, therefore, find West’s memoir to be a thoughtful provocation.

    There’s a difference between church groups boycotting JCPenny because JCPenny put a gay couple in their catalog and gay people boycotting Chick-fil-a because Chick-fil-a donated millions of dollars to groups working to strip gay people of rights and protections. Gay people wearing shawl-collar half-zip ecru sweaters does not oppress Christians. Christians turning their gay children out on the streets, keeping gay spouses from sitting at each other’s deathbeds, and casting gay people as diseased predators so that it’s easier to justify beating and murdering them does oppress gay people.

    While West tackles feminism, misogyny, internet trolling, abortion, relationships and the shortage of “young, funny, capable, strong, good fat girls” in television, movies, video games, and books, the topic of fatness permeates everything she writes. West embraces the word fat with a refreshing sense of confidence and empowered self-assurance, as evidenced by the time she went head-to-head with an apologetic internet troll who had previously taken trolling to an absurdly new low (view spoiler).

    His voice was soft, tentative. He was clearly as nervous as I was. “Well,” he said, “it revolved around one issue that you wrote about a lot which was your being heavy – the struggles that you had being a woman of size, or whatever the term may be.”

    I cut in. I hate euphemisms. What the fuck is a “woman of size,” anyway? Who doesn’t have a size. “You can say fat. That’s what I say.”

    “Fat. Okay, fat.”

    Funny, poignant, and personal, Shrill showcases a powerhouse female taking some of society’s worst behaviors by the ear and dragging them into the limelight for a proper spanking.
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