Irby is forty, and increasingly uncomfortable in her own skin despite what Inspirational Instagram Infographics have promised her. She has left her job as a receptionist at a veterinary clinic, has published successful books and has been friendzoned by Hollywood, left Chicago, and moved into a house with a garden, where she now hosts book clubs and makes mason jar salads, despite being a "cheese fry-eating slightly damp Midwest person, who still hides past due bills under her pillow."
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.