If you’ve been waiting for a book that covers everything from Miss Piggy’s near rapist tendencies, to the struggle to say the word ‘period’, to eviscerating fat-shaming internet trolls, Lindy West’s Shrill: Notes from a loud woman is for you.
The latest addition to the modern feminist canon, from Guardian columnist and former Jezebel writer Lindy West, is well worth the read. Fittingly, for a woman who has made her name as a writer online, Shrill feels a bit like a printed long form blog, translating West’s characteristic wit from the screen to the page in a way that feels authentic and familiar. It may not be exactly the trajectory you’d traditionally expect from a book, but it’s a rollicking read.
Shrill manages to be both humorous and meaningful at once. Take, for example, West’s Plan B for dealing with trolls (for if Plan A – ignoring them – fails):
My friends and I toss the troll around for a while like a pod of orcas with a baby seal, and once I’ve wrung enough validation out of it, I block the troll and let it die alone. Maybe it’s cruel. I know that trolls are fundamentally sad people; I know that I’ve already defeated them in every substantive arena – by being smart, by being happy, by being successful, by being listened to, by being loved. Whatever. Maybe if Mr. “Kill Yourself You Fat Piece Of Shit” didn’t want to get mocked, shredded, and discarded, he should be more careful about how he talks to whales.
And if that fails: “PLAN C: Wine.”
It’s West’s honesty that makes this book. From her openness about growing up fat (“chasing perfection was your duty and your birthright, as a woman, and I would never know what it was like – this thing, this most important thing for girls.”) to her frank recounting of her abortion (“the accompanying pamphlet warned that, after I took the second pill, chunks “the size of lemons” might come out. LEMONS.”), West speaks almost conspiratorially, welcoming her readers in like close friends and sharing her wisdom generously.
The verdict? If you want to laugh and feel and think and bask in the feministy glow of badassery, you won’t be disappointed.