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Date finished: March 8, 2018

Rating: ★★★★★

Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman, Lindy West

Lindy West totally crushed it with Shrill. She had me laughing in commiseration with the goddamn awkwardness of life at the beginning, enraged at the simple injustice that is being a female in the middle, and crying by the end when she chose to share her husband’s beautiful vows.

While I don’t always love books that take me on a straight-up roller coaster of emotion, it felt right with Shrill because that roller coaster is so much exactly what being a woman feels like. I wholeheartedly consider myself a feminist, but often feminism and weight standards and abortion and rape culture and body shaming and women’s rights are hard to talk about — so often you find yourself talking to (or “preaching at”) people who 1) don’t understand, 2) don’t care, or 3) don’t understand but like to pretend they do.

West does an absolutely kickass job of illustrating the struggle to have an open and meaningful dialogue with people who are threatened by your ideas, desires, or goals, and yet she puts herself in that situation over and over again — for women. When an internet troll admitted to West that he was threatened by her, she responded, “that’s why I do that, because people don’t expect to hear from women like that. And I want other women to see me do that and I want women’s voices to get louder.”

It’s difficult — and scary — to stand up for yourself, for what (and those) you believe in, especially when the idea that women and fat people are less and deserve less is so perpetuated in society and the media. But West is trying — and succeeding — at being a champion for these groups, at giving us “a script for dealing with monsters in [our] own lives” when we need it, and a cheerleader hanging out on the sidelines (West is also great at writing herself as your best friend) when we don’t.

A must-read.

Photo courtesy Lindy West (Facebook)

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