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.
Ever since I read it, I haven’t been able to stop talking about Shrill, a sharp, funny, warm memoir by Lindy West ... It’s a kind of holy grail of nonfiction writing—it reads breezy and hilarious, but it also kicks serious feminist ass ... Ms. West’s chapter on flying while fat was eye-opening. To be honest, it outed me as another bigot in the world ... I was gutted by the thought that I both internalize and project these messages of self-loathing and fat shaming ... I am also so supremely glad that Ms. West is out there, speaking her mind with such vitality and humor. Even with all the heavy topics she covers in her book, there is still so much wit and whimsy—and, yes, a love story to warm your heart. Shrill is without question a delight to read.
Like many an internet sensation’s debut, this memoir-cum–call-to-arms pulls from previously published work and spins it into something new. The book is savvily positioned for both West neophytes and West diehards ... Her book is both sharp-toothed and fluid as it rips into period stigma and abortion stigma, sexism and fat-shaming. Though the book’s many shrewd insights sometimes feel strung together in a way that’s less than artful, they are always a pleasure to read ... To see so much of West’s writing in one place is to appreciate her range. She can eviscerate the status quo with raunchy humor ... West is propulsively entertaining—more than enough to carry the reader through the book’s meanderings. Shrill is least engaging when West seems most concerned with driving home an overarching theme ... As a collection of anecdotes and bite-size manifestoes, Shrill is incisive and funny.
It's very difficult to write about Shrill, Lindy West's debut essay collection, without being effusive. When you finish the final page, your immediate impulse is to gush at anyone who will listen about how accomplished it is ... With grace and wit, she's taken on the ubiquity of rape jokes and fat shaming, and lifted the veil on the abusive tenor of our online conversations. In short, West has become a much-needed beacon of solace and reason in an increasingly vitriolic world ... Some of the book is certainly laugh-out-loud funny, as West writes with her signature irreverence and light conversational tone ... Beyond being hilarious and smart, one of the more compelling aspects of Shrill is West's ability to write reflectively on pieces she's already put out into the world ... it's certainly no exaggeration to say we're all very lucky to live in a world where Lindy West exists.