I’ve always enjoyed reading Lindy West’s work since I first discovered her on Jezebel. Her writing was sharp and witty and always felt exciting. It’s these qualities that she brings to her new book- and she makes absolutely no apologies for this.
This is a memoir that takes in various parts of West’s life: growing up as a fat person (she does not want you to refer to her as ‘big’), her life on the comedy circuit in Seattle and her rejection from it after challenging the use of rape jokes, her ongoing battle with online trolls and her relationship with and death of her father are all key themes within the book. All topics are covered with the humour and warmth I expected as a fan of West’s writing.
Before reading the book, I felt like I knew a lot about West- she writes extensively about her life for many publications and websites- but I was surprised at the depth she approached each topic, especially when discussing her encounter with an online troll who impersonated her dead father. In this essay particularly, I felt that she wrote with great emotion and even kindness for the man who had tormented her. She writes openly about her abortion and encourages other women to do so. In fact, all through the book, women are encouraged to find our voices and stick up for ourselves at every opportunity, in every situation. It might not sound like a big deal, but it is.
There are funny bits, too- the chapter in which she discusses fat role models from her childhood made me laugh out loud (I was once told that the Disney character most like me was Madame Cluck from Robin Hood. Not. Impressed. Mainly because I’m CLEARLY more like Roz from Monsters Inc., all glasses and knitwear.) The tone throughout is warm and confiding and I felt like I was reading about a friend- albeit a quite sarcastic and funny one. Her feminism is serious, but presented with a deft touch. I liked this book an awful lot.