Haphazard and aimless as she claims to be, Samantha Irby’s Wow, No Thank You is purposefully hilarious, real, and full of medicine for living with our culture’s contradictory messages. From relationship advice she wasn’t asked for to surrendering her cell phone as dinner etiquette, Irby is wholly unpretentious as she opines about the unspoken expectations of adulting. Her essays poke holes and luxuriate in the weirdness of modern society ... If anyone whose life is being made into a television show could continue to keep it real for her blog reading fans, it’s Irby. She proves we can still trust her authenticity not just through her questionable taste in music and descriptions of incredibly bloody periods, but through her willingness to demystify what happens in any privileged room she finds herself in ... Irby defines professional lingo and describes the mundane details of exclusive industries in anecdotes that are not only entertaining but powerfully demystifying. Irby’s closeness to financial and physical precariousness combined with her willingness to enter situations she feels unprepared for make us loyal to her—she again proves herself to be a trustworthy and admirable narrator who readers will hold fast to through anything at all.
Life has never been better to Samantha Irby. Can she still be funny? It’s a gentler kind of humor we encounter here. The drama of publishing a book or pitching a show to Netflix executives (so many chairs in the room!) can’t compete with the rawness and surreal scatological pageantry of the earlier essays. Nor must it. These three collections [Wow, No Thank You, Meaty, and We Are Never Meeting in Real Life] which span a decade, ought to be read together, with this latest as a coda, striking its valedictory note and reiterating the refrain that runs through the essays. In a crisis, circling 'life’s drain,' as Irby calls it, don’t cling unnecessarily to dignity. But don’t for a second stint on the good snacks, or the good stories.
...[Irby] writes stunningly astute, hilarious essays about topics both serious (becoming a stepmother) and less so (her slightly lazy beauty rituals). But like all the best essayists, Irby brings deeper insights to even her most lighthearted work ... In 'Girls Gone Mild,' Irby reflects on her extreme reluctance to go out, now that she’s rounding the corner to 40 ... By the end of the essay, Irby has made peace with her new slower pace of life. It’s simultaneously funny and poignant, as are all the entries in this unflinching collection.
Samantha Irby offers yet another laugh-out-loud masterpiece ... Despite her rise in status...her writing is as raunchy and relatable as ever ... a perfect read at a time when we all could use a little comic relief.
Throughout this collection, we get up close and personal with the inner (and sometimes frighteningly outer) workings of both Irby’s body and mind ... There’s a lot of self-deprecation and this can, at first, be grating. Do we really need another fat woman laughing at herself, no matter how hilarious? There’s a certain amount of tuning-in to be done, to get into the flow of Irby’s razor-sharp mind and writing style. But soon you will find yourself on a rip-roaring tour through Irby’s life, filled with honesty, belly laughs and more than a few poignant and hard-hitting moments ... Using refreshingly different essay forms throughout the book, Irby avoids reader exhaustion – a real risk because this is high-octane stuff ... The humour is so vivid, with so many laugh-out-loud moments, there’s a real danger that the excellence of Irby’s writing could be obscured. Is the writing perfect? Not by any means, but it gets to the heart of each issue with aplomb. It is a very human book and it left me wanting more of Irby and her work.
Irby’s collection shows a little more vulnerability and a little less deflection than her previous books. She has a way of making you feel close to her ... essays that are pithy, laugh-until-you-bend-over-funny and insightful ... Irby’s signature sardonic voice nibbles playfully at your ear from the first page ... She has a way of convincing you that, though she’s not saying she is, she is right ... Though she refuses to do research and continues to embarrass herself, this collection may be Irby’s best yet ... Notoriously 'gross,' Irby’s writing hits new levels of emotional resonance in Wow, No Thank You with a kind of pulling back of the comedy curtain she writes behind ... Irby writes, 'Nothing is more embarrassing than unbridled enthusiasm' and yet that is what I have, unabashedly, for her.
[Irby] hilariously takes stock of where she is today and how she got there, peppering in maybe-helpful advice that she’s gathered along the way. This is a fast-paced, smart, expletive-ridden read that will soothe your angst and have you laughing well after you’ve finished the book. Irby concludes that no matter your age, and no matter what effort you put in, life is 100 percent uncomfortable–and also pretty great.
It’s Irby’s third collection of essays, although they all read more like beautifully edited blogs ... It’s a much more grown-up book, and less sad than her others ... For the longtime fan of Irby’s work, it’s a genuine pleasure to read about the safe and happy place she has found herself, even though the disasters were so fun to read ... America’s most talented comic writer, and proof that the line between 'blog' and 'essay' has finally disintegrated altogether.
Not every book can make you laugh out loud, but her book does it easily, and with a self-deprecating flow that still reveals Irby as accepting the flow of her life outside the city in a Midwestern suburb with her wife and children. If you are a fan of Bitches Gotta Eat—the blog that started it all here in Chicago, or her two previous books, Meaty and We Are Never Meeting in Real Life, then you will not be disappointed. Other than the fact that Irby’s prose will make you laugh out loud, the compelling arc of Irby maturing, for better or for worse, has grown with each book ... Irby digs into what initially fueled her writing, how she has grown and what she has discovered about herself in the process. How can that not be a powerful way to end a book where an author has poked fun at themselves? This collection makes an evident revelation that there’s a point to poking fun when you can stand a little stronger after the punchline.
...a spicy cocktail that will intoxicate readers — a few fingers of Dorothy Parker and a splash of comedian Wanda Sykes, as bracing and delicious as a cosmopolitan ... If zingers were money, she’d be a zillionaire ... her pieces crackle with conversational electricity, equal parts stand-up comedy and literary craft ... there’s a tenderness beneath the attitude. Irby approaches personal experience with a keen clinical eye ... Immersed in the sparkling flow of Irby’s prose, it’s almost possible to forget there’s a pandemic happening.
... humor and a vivid, resonant voice ... A sheer delight for Irby’s legions of fans. For those new to her work, or who enjoy Jenny Lawson, Roxane Gay, Jenny Slate, or Nora Ephron, this should be obtained immediately.
One essay is a 1990s mixtape, complete with track listings and their explanations. 'Lesbian Bed Death' is a series of statements that begin with 'Sure, sex is fun,' and end with things like 'but have you ever watched PBS?' ... And despite Irby’s claim that 'It is not that helpful!', the collection-closing story of getting her first book published will especially speak to budding writers. Irby has an uncanny ability to punctuate all the funny stuff with well-placed moments of true tenderness, making this exactly what her longtime and new readers will love and LOL over.
Even when the author describes pitching show concepts to Netflix or battling Crohn’s disease, her one-liners and comic timing remain intact. A lot of the best anecdotal material springs forth from the more embarrassing and cringeworthy moments of the author’s life ... Some of the material in this latest collection has been covered in her previous two books, but Irby’s devotees won’t mind because her personal hyperawareness, brazen attitude, and raunchy sense of humor are in fine form, even when the writing is haphazard and frenetic. Ultimately, though, the author manages to shake things up and keep most of her observances fresh and funny, and she also incorporates more details of life with her wife ... There’s lots to chuckle at here, as Irby remains a winning, personality-driven, self-deprecating essayist.
... overly manic ... hints at the author’s talent, but ultimately disappoints ... Irby primarily aims to amuse, but the humor is one-note, leaning too much on double exclamation points, triple question marks, and caps lock, and too little on original observations. She also overemphasizes showbiz references—at one point, she imagines her life as a wacky Hollywood comedy, and at another point, as several seasons of a TV show. Irby can be remarkably candid ... This emotional honesty is the book’s best feature, but is less appealing than it might have been, due to the hectic tone. Readers will be disappointed by this strained attempt at comedic memoir.