Monday 19 September 2016

Shrill ; Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West @thelindywest

Guardian columnist Lindy West wasn't always loud. It's difficult to believe she was once a nerdy, terror-stricken teen who wanted nothing more than to be invisible. Fortunately for women everywhere, along the road she found her voice - and how she found it! That cripplingly shy girl, who refused to make a sound, grew up to be one of the loudest, shrillest, most fearless feminazis on the internet, making a living speaking up for what's right instead of what's 'cool'.
In Shrill, Lindy recounts how she went from being the butt of people's jokes, to telling her own brand of jokes - ones that come with a meaningful agenda and aren't at someone else's expense. She reveals the obstacles and misogyny she's had to overcome to make herself heard, in a society that doesn't believe women (especially fat women and feminists) can ever be funny.
A catalyst for conversation, West also addresses some of the most burning issues of popular culture today, taking a frank and provocative look at social injustice, racism, fat-shaming, twitter-trolling and even rape culture, unpicking the bullshit and calling out unpalatable truths with conviction, intelligence and a large dose of her trademark black humour.

I'm delighted to share a review of Shrill by Lindy West with Random Things readers today. My guest reviewer, Tracey Sinclair is an author and freelance editor and writer. Her books include the romcom The Bridesmaid Blues and the Dark Dates/Cassandra Bick series, the latest of which, Angel Falls, is out now.

Find out more about Tracey at
Follow her on Twitter @thriftygal   Find her on Facebook
Angel Falls:

I have a hardback copy of Shrill to giveaway to one blog reader. Entry is simple, just fill out the competition widget at the end of this piece.  UK ENTRIES ONLY.   Good Luck! 

Shrill : Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West was published in hardback by Quercus on 19 May 2016.

Lindy West is a writer for publications including The Guardian, Jezebel and CQ, and though she remains better known in the US than in the UK, she is increasingly recognised here as a strong feminist voice, admired by writers on both side of the pond such as Caitlin Moran and Lena Durham.

Shrill is part biography, part social commentary, part manifesto. It covers some of the most hot button topics of the day: fat shaming and body acceptance, being a woman in male dominated areas such as comedy and journalism, free speech vs internet trolling (and the toll such abuse takes) and reproductive rights. 

She talks with refreshing frankness about her own life – her abortion, her experiences as a fat woman negotiating a world that expects women to look a certain way or be ashamed of it, her marriage (and other people’s assumptions about it), the loss of her father.

Although throughout West is humane, smart, articulate and funny, the first few chapters feel slightly pat, like a collection of loosely strung together and repurposed blog posts. But as the book goes on it becomes more compelling – I defy anyone to read the chapters about being trolled without being angry and horrified that any woman should have to undergo such an ordeal, let alone the hundreds who are left currently unprotected by the ‘turn a blind eye and take the money’ policies of social media platforms such as Twitter and Reddit.

But it’s also an optimistic book – about family, love and marriage, and above all about how things can get better. West catalogues several times when she herself managed to affect meaningful change, and despite the abuse that’s been thrown at her, remains convinced at the power of speaking up, that one person or small group really can make a difference. 

There are plenty of times you might not agree with her – she’s often reluctant to examine her own prejudices (for instance, she seems unwilling to entertain any discussion about the reasons behind fatness or the health aspects of obesity, which she dismisses brusquely by basically saying thin people aren’t necessarily healthy – which is of course true, but there’s surely a more nuanced discussion around weight to be had), and she sometimes goes for the glib, funny line over the more complicated analysis. But overall this is a thought-provoking, highly entertaining read that firmly establishes her as an important talent.

Huge thanks to Tracey for this great guest review, also thanks to the publisher who sent my copy of Shrill for review.
One Hardback Copy of Shrill ; Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West

Lindy West is a Seattle-based writer and performer whose work focuses on pop culture, feminism, social justice, humour and body image.
Currently a weekly columnist at the Guardian and culture writer for GQ magazine, she was previously one of the most popular and prolific writers at feminist blog
In January 2015 her exposure was magnified by a segment aired on US national radio in which she confronted an internet troll who'd impersonated her dead father. The podcast and ensuing article went viral and were shared more than 85,000 times worldwide, gaining Lindy countless new followers.
Follow her on Twitter @thelindywest     Find out more at


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