“Shrill” by Lindy West was such an experience to read. I laughed out loud, I felt shame, I felt angry, I felt embarrassed, I felt inspired, I wanted to scream – it was one of the most interesting and upsetting books I have ever read. Lindy West really made me think. She made me laugh. She made me want to be a better person. She was bold and impressive. She put things in perspective. I was enthralled.
There were so many parts of this book that made me pause and think. Think about what it really means to be a part of this world. There are many aspects of life that I don’t ever give a moment’s reflection to because it has become such an engrained part of my life that it never occurred to me to mind. The huge offenses that women face every single day – that I have faced and never spoke up. That is one part of what Lindy West does in this book. She is speaking up – not just for herself, but for all women, for anyone that has ever been uncomfortable in their own skin – she powerfully steps up and exclaims that we don’t have to shrink down and stay quiet. This is just one of her powerful passages: “Women matter. Women are half of us. When you raise every women to believe that we are insignificant, that we are broken, that we are sick, that the only cure is starvation and restraint and smallness; when you pit women against one another, keep us shackled by shame and hunger, obsessing over our flaws rather than our power and potential; when you leverage all of that to sap our money and our time – that moves the rudder of the world. It steers humanity toward conservatism and walls and the narrow interests of men, and it keeps us adrift in waters where women’s safety and humanity are secondary to men’s pleasure and convenience.” (Shrill, pg 19). Just wow.
Would I recommend this book? Yes – I think this is a book that everyone should read. It appeals to women, certainly – but “Shrill” is something that I think is not only accessible but entertaining and those who would normally move away from a book written by an overweight female might slow down long enough to hear her message. To take pause and see that there is something very wrong with the world we live in today. And that the only way things will ever get better is for people as a collective to refuse to accept the world as it is and work towards positive change. Plus this book had me giggling non-stop and reading passages aloud to my husband. It was a very good read and I hope that Lindy West continues to write.