Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book


Rate this book
Samantha Irby explodes onto the printed page with her debut collection of brand-new essays about trying to laugh her way through failed relationships, being black, taco feasts, bouts with Crohn's disease, and more. Every essay is crafted with the same scathing wit and poignant candor thousands of loyal readers have come to expect from visiting her notoriously hilarious blog.

250 pages, Paperback

First published September 9, 2013

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Samantha Irby

12 books8,348 followers
i'm a slow reader.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
4,097 (28%)
4 stars
5,998 (41%)
3 stars
3,632 (24%)
2 stars
657 (4%)
1 star
176 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,617 reviews
Profile Image for Richard Derus.
2,894 reviews1,927 followers
April 27, 2021
2019 UPDATE Samantha Irby hit it big: Comedy Central is developing this essay collection with her own good self as writer and executive producer!

Real Rating: 3.5* of five

It's Women's History Month! Time to visit or revisit work by women who have inspired, uplifted, made a difference to you, to me, to us all!

I reviewed this collection of essays for The Small Press Book Review. It's by a blogger called Samantha Irby, a Person of Size whose blog is called Bitches Gotta Eat.

I wasn't sure about these essays until I hit the one on diets and dieting, when I started laughing so hard I scared the dog. Read the review, see why. I quoted the (to me) funniest one of them.

The Publisher Says: Samantha Irby explodes onto the page in her debut collection of brand-new essays about being a complete dummy trying to laugh her way through her ridiculous life of failed relationships, taco feasts, bouts with Crohn's Disease, & more, all told with the same scathing wit & poignant candor long-time readers have come to expect from her notoriously hilarious blog, www.bitchesgottaeat.com.

In addition to co-hosting The Sunday Night Sex Show, a sex-positive live lit show, and Guts & Glory, a reading series featuring essayists, Samantha has performed all over Chicago. She opened for Baratunde Thurston during his "How to Be Black" tour. She has been profiled in the Chicago Sun-Times as well as in Time Out Chicago, and her work has appeared on The Rumpus and Jezebel. Samantha and partner Ian Belknap write a comedy advice blog at www.irbyandian.com.

My Review: It's good to be young. I remember that. I'm not young anymore, and frankly wouldn't be young again for all the money there is. But that's age's privilege, to celebrate itself. Every age's privilege, in fact, and Samantha Irby celebrates being young.

In a very testy way.

Hell, if I had Crohn's disease, I'd be testy too. In fact, I am testy, no Crohn's needed. But Irby gets testy over very young problems, as in the essay "Would Dying Alone Really Be So Terrible?":
I want to watch porn by myself, because a dude just won't let you take five minutes to masturbate without his dick thinking it's an invitation, and then that five minutes becomes twenty-five minutes (if you're lucky) of heat and sweat and effed-up hair and having to remake the bed and being late for work and even then, after all that grunting and shoving and groaning, you might STILL have to get your vibrator out while this motherfucker passes out on top of the shirt you'd taken out to wear to the office.

This is the kind of problem a lot of folks of either gender and all persuasions would enjoy having, if the dating sites' usage and match-up numbers aren't complete lies.

Irby's brand of testy humor gets a laugh-out-loud funny workout in her meditation on the American obsession with weight, weight loss, effort-free weight loss, and laziness in "The Tapeworm Diet." She appears, on her teensy little blog avatar, not to be an immensely large person, but I don't know this for a fact as I've never met the lady. She claims to be sizable: "I eat bad things and go to sleep immediately afterward. There, I solved the mystery of fatness for you. You're welcome." Garshk, and here I thought it was my slow metabolism!

Irby then goes on to skewer the un-fucking-believable idiotic should-be-illegal insanities out there for an unsuspecting public to follow as diets:
The Twinkie Diet.
A typical day in the life of Kansas State University nutrition researcher Mark Haub, creator of the Junk Food Diet, which consists of 60% junk food supplemented by a protein shake, multivitamin pills, and a can of green beans or four stalks of celery every day. He avoided meats, whole grains, and fruits. September 10, 2010: A double espresso; two servings of Hostess Twinkies Golden Sponge Cake; one Centrum Advanced Formula pill; one serving of Little Debbie Star Crunch cookies (my jam!); a Diet Mountain Dew (barf); half a serving of Doritos Cool Ranch corn chips; two servings of Kellogg's Corn Pops cereal; a serving of whole milk (squirt!); half a serving of raw baby carrots; one and a half servings of Duncan Hines Family Style Chewy Fudge brownie; half a serving of Little Debbie Zebra Cake; one serving of Muscle Milk Protein Shake drink; Total: 1589 calories.
Just reading that shit makes my fucking teeth hurt. I think I also might've just caught diabetes through the computer screen. This can't be life, right? Snack cakes and baby carrots? NO IT CANNOT.

Sing it, soul-daughter. Couldn't have said it better myownself. The spoiledness of the average American is never in more breathtaking relief than in diet advice and weight-loss program information. Most people on the planet would like to have enough food to get full once a day. People here eat so much they need advice on how not to turn into land-blimps. Something is wrong with this picture. Samantha Irby makes you giggle as she pokes your social conscience, so permaybehaps people who need to hear will listen without realizing what they're hearing. It's the only way past their privileged-person defenses, the evidence shows.

The collection is far and away best taken in doses. It's like any smorgasbord. The offerings are tempting, and the urge to overindulge is strong. Resist the urge that you not grow indifferent to the charms of the groaning board! Read one or two of these tempting treats. Put the book down, pick up something grim and joyless for a contrast...are you caught up on your Bolaño reading? isn't there a new Murakami or something?...and then come back to laugh and learn.

Wait! I didn't mean learn! I meant enjoy! Enjoy, not something hard and boring like learn!

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,449 reviews7,561 followers
May 11, 2018
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

If you are a person of weak constitution or with delicate sensibilities, I have one thing to say to you about Meaty . . . . .

Not even kidding. R.U.N. . . . . .

Because this author is the posterchild for . . . . .

However, if you are like me you will read the following (which appears on like Page 2) . . . . .

“I am irritated 99.8% of the time. I hate everything. I loathe everyone.”

And instantly have this to say to Samantha Irby . . . . .

By the time I got to this . . . .

“If you could wish for one thing, anything you ever wanted, what would it be?”

“An army of weaponized bees.”

I was like . . . .

But for the rest of you? I ain’t playin’ around. I’m going to let Irby’s own words sell her book, but PLEASE note these are benign examples and she totally overshares about many various sex things and diarrhea and don’t even think about telling me I Suck Turtles if you read this and get offended by it because it is REALLY going to offend a lot of people. Just not people like me – probably due to all of the turtle sucking I’ve done in the past. Anyway, let’s get on with this short shitshow and the sharing of a few quotes that made me really happy Jeebus invented Poise Pads . . . . .

“Do you own a pair of skinny jeans?”

“Yes, but after I saw a picture of myself in the newspaper wearing them last summer I am never wearing those assholes in public ever again.”

“I am obviously going to die alone, in giant panties that come up to my chin, with crumbs under my tits, and a half-eaten cat face.”

“My sister did Slim-Fast once and her farts were bad enough to singe my fucking nose hairs. She burned a hole through the seat of her jeans. Not even kidding. We had to keep a fire extinguisher next to the goddamned toilet. I know you think I’m making this up but there was literal fire shooting out of her butt! It was like living with a dragon. A skinny-fat, cranky dragon who could light the dinner candles with her asshole.”

And the pièce de résistance . . . .

“Every time I see a Cialis commercial I think, ‘Oh my fucking GOD, I bet the last thing that old broad wants to do is wait for that old dude to finish raking those leaves while his boner pill kicks in.’”

I am in love with this woman.
Profile Image for Emily B.
426 reviews421 followers
August 10, 2022
So much of this was relatable and I couldn’t help but think thank god someone was saying half the things she was!

I just didn’t tear through this book like I do with ones I really love.

I am going to read some of her other books though
Profile Image for rachel.
751 reviews146 followers
December 4, 2013
If there is a lifestyle porn subgenre for adult women who don't live in saucy Real Simple inspired dwellings but instead sit in their dumpy apartments eating cereal every meal, unshaven legs propped up on a raggedy ottoman, I will be the champion of that genre. I love stories of women who are trying to be adults, but who get frustrated with the details and all of the effort and straight-lacedness and just fucking live in a way that makes them happy, even if they are broke or their carpets are full of crumbs. Meaty is kind of all over the place and parts of it feel like space fillers BUT in the sense of just being a person that she wants to be, Samantha Irby is sort of my hero.

(Her blog is definitely funnier, though. I'm not saying that as a dig, because I like this lady a lot. I'm just saying, comparatively.)

On a personal note: it warmed my heart to see the chapter about thumbsucking, because I, like Irby, sucked my thumb into early adulthood (in private) in times of stress and still continue to do so in my sleep 50% of nights. And now that I am living in sin I am incredibly self conscious about the mornings I wake and pry my long-suffering thumb from my mouth, wondering how it got in there when I didn't fall asleep with it in. It's embarrassing and I feel crazy sometimes and Irby does too, but I felt such a kinship in knowing I share a not so secret shame with another (mostly) functional adult.
Profile Image for Hannah.
592 reviews1,052 followers
April 9, 2018
I love Samantha Irby. I adored her second essay collection, I find her funny and relatable, and I enjoyed this collection (her first now republished with a beautiful cover) a whole lot as well. I have been reading mostly heavy memoirs and this was the perfect antidote to those. While there is obvious darkness here, there is also light and humour. I absolutely sped through this and it made me happy while doing so.

I adore her language and her honesty. I love how honest she talks about her body and Krohn’s disease. I love how she structures her essays and her thoughts. I do not mind her vulgarity at all and in fact appreciated its freshness.

As most of you will know, I adore memoirs written by women funnier than me and Samantha Irby is among the funniest. I do think her second collection is the stronger of the two which only makes me more excited to see whatever she does next. Also, this book is being made into a TV series and I cannot tell you how excited I am.

I received an ARC of this book courtesy of NetGalley and Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.

You can find this review and other thoughts on books on my blog.
Profile Image for Madeline.
775 reviews47k followers
June 20, 2018
Samantha Irby’s first book was given to me by my best friend, who is a legit writer who performs her nonfiction essays in front of people like some kind of professional and is my go-to expert on which essay collections to read. I wasn’t familiar with Irby, or her blog, before this book was given to me, but I’m officially a convert now. Her essays are personal and heartfelt and really, really funny, and her voice is so strong that it practically leaps off the page – I have never met Samantha Irby, but reading her essays felt like I was sitting across from her at brunch, snorting my mimosa out my nose while I listened to her telling me about her dating life:

“If I never get banged on a king-sized bed with NO SHEETS and ONE LUMPY PILLOW ever again in my fucking life it would be too goddamn soon. Dudes always want to try to fuck you in the abandoned warehouse in which they’re squatting. Or at least that’s what the shit fucking looks like, all bare walls and “furniture” procured from alleys and shit. Would it kill you motherfuckers to put a mat in the bathroom? To buy soap with a moisturizing agent? …Why do you dudes only own one towel? And a hand towel at that? Why do you have no paper towels? Why is all your shit in garbage bags even though you moved in two years ago? Why does it smell like gym shoes and testicles in your apartment? Why do you refuse to purchase a fitted sheet at the very least? Do I really have to SLEEP IN MY GODDAMNED CLOTHES TO STAY WARM UP IN HERE?”

Or hearing about her meeting with her accountant:

“So it’s tax time, and my homeboy was over the other night badgering me about filing a return, asking me about all my receipts and bank statements and whether or not I saved the checks I used to pay for that class I took. Um…yeah, right. I’m sure I either burned that shit or flushed it down the toilet or used it to line Helen Keller’s litterbox. Save my receipts, for what? To prove to the government how many times I purchased the same exact black sweater at the Gap? Hold on to my bank statements, for whom? To prove how many times I stopped and started and stopped and RE-started paying for eHarmony, or whatever? YEAH, RIGHT. Is there some sort of loneliness deduction I don’t know about? Some alcoholic tax credit? No? Then get the fuck out of my face with that.”

Amid the humor, Irby also shares frank, unsentimental stories about her childhood and her chronic health problems, and they’re never presented as misery porn or “let me get all philosophical about my struggles and how they made me who I am.” Instead, Irby recounts everything with a clear-eyed, “so get this shit” tone that never gets maudlin or flippant. Meaty is definitely one of the most fun and entertaining essay collections I’ve read in a long time.
Profile Image for Julie Ehlers.
1,111 reviews1,398 followers
September 11, 2019
What is there to say about this except that Samantha Irby is the most hilarious? Meaty was her first book, originally self-published. It's apparently been revised somehow under the eye of the editors at Vintage, but as always it's clear that Irby is a natural talent (not always the case with bloggers-turned-authors, as we've all seen). And when she gets serious, as in her rant near the end on dating disappointment and "bitterness," she's just as effective. Her tendency to reveal everything is occasionally a bit TMI, but I'm well aware that it's this honesty that makes her writing so singular. Can't wait for her next essay collection, and I don't think I've ever said those words about anyone else's essays before, except for David Sedaris's. Good company indeed.
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.3k followers
April 27, 2021
My first Samantha Irby book was the 2020, Wow, No Thank You, which I thought was pretty amusing, and so when i had to drive a bit I found this 2013 book which feels pretty much of the same territory: very detailed and graphic tales of her experience with Crohn's Disease, diets, sex, men, white/black people. She's funny, one of the funnier writers out there, and she performs everywhere, was known for a Fat Positive blog, Bitches Gotta Eat. Look at Richard's review for more details (and more lavish praise) than you'll get from me:

I mean, I like her shockingly graphic stories quite a bit, she's almost refreshingly profane, but do I need to read yet another story of her explosive diarrhea?! Her stories of having sex with a range of men is pretty funny, clearly written in solidarity with women everywhere who have slept with a variety of men. I love her dieting essay a lot. Her twin letters to white and black people are insightful and funny. And she writes quite a bit about food in sometimes funny ways. Okay, she's funny, and funnier when you hear her read it, which I did.
Profile Image for Janet.
Author 22 books87.7k followers
September 1, 2014
Samantha Irby is a bucket of ice water in the face, the hottest chili in the supposedly mild batch, the best pastrami sandwich in the world--the shock of the bold in other words. Not for the squeamish--this Chicago humorist writes of life meaty and unmediated. If you like your humor STRONG, if you can take the rawness of being female without a bow on top, if you think language is there to be wielded as a weapon in the war against despair and conformity and timidity and 'make it all nice-ness,' you NEED this book. I laughed until I nearly eviscerated myself, ached for the desperation of a family on the ropes, for this colossus of energy having to live with a debilitating illness and the ongoing struggle of the artist in a society which takes no prisoners and makes no allowances for ability and genius. This is quiet desperation turned inside out, and so roaringly funny I'm already making a Christmas list--and let's just say those girlfriends who thought Bridesmaids was disgusting are not on it.

The essays about her own family and physical condition--she's been diagnosed with Crohn's disease--anchor the humor of the collection with the darkness of real and ongoing problems that can't be solved, are simply facts of a very real woman's life, which would be a prison without this energy and and fury and crazy humor, the outlet of writing itself. Cannot recommend enough.

Profile Image for Jessica Woodbury.
1,606 reviews2,051 followers
February 17, 2021
I avoided Irby for a long time because everyone said there was so much bodily function stuff and I can be a little prone to primness, and when I did read her I purposely didn't start with this book for the same reason, but it turns out I do not mind it at all! Irby's openness is not the kind that makes me squirm, it is not for the purpose of grossing anyone out, it is just told frankly and in the best way to give you an understanding of just what it is like to have her particular body. It was silly of me to wait so long.
Profile Image for Trish.
1,352 reviews2,416 followers
Shelved as 'put-aside'
August 3, 2018
I didn’t like this one so much. Seems like Irby is trying way too hard. I just can’t get into the juvenalia, though a couple of GR friends quote some funny bits.
Profile Image for Erica.
1,332 reviews436 followers
May 10, 2018
I can't say I enjoyed this. Well, I mean, I can but I would be lying because this was not at all enjoyable to me.
And yet it was quite often relatable.
And it's candid. And dryly funny.
But mostly it's meaty, as the title suggests, and I do not like too much meat. It doesn't digest well in my delicate system.

As you can see, it took me almost a month and a half to read this book of 253 pages, all essays. It was a slog to get through because I felt weighed down so much of the time but I am glad I read it and I kinda wish Irby and I ran in the same circles. On the other hand, I'm kinda glad we don't. I already have my "I love you so much but please, I am begging you, get yourself together" friend. I think we all do. Maybe that's why Irby is so easy to adore as you roll your eyes at her shenanigans.

Of particular note to me were the following essays:

"At 30"
She turns 30, has a list of gripes, some relatable and others not so much, and then she says this:
I need more people to describe me as "the funniest person they know."
Honey, you and I share #goals.

"Forest Whitaker's Neck"
I HATED dating so much that I had repressed most of my memories from those times but she came along and used this essay to bring them all to light: Gross sheets full of the leftovers from people before me, finding other LAYdies' hairs in the beard of the guy you're banging, stiff-crotched panties the next morning. Ugh. This is probably the real reason I got married. Dating is a horrorscape.

"How To Get Your Disgusting Meat Carcass Ready For Some New, Hot Sex"
Irby and I suddenly became twins because this is all me. All me except for the part about sucking on toes. That is the polar opposite of me.

"Would Dying Alone Really Be So Terrible?"
Answer: No. No, it would not be, not at all.

"The Tapeworm Diet"
The fatness mystery: SOLVED! GG, Irby!
But then she calls Beezus "Beatrice" and that's not ok.

"I Want To Put a Fat Bitch On Television"
And I want the rest of Nell's story, so...get on it, lady. Make this happen.

I read this collection after everyone else read and reviewed We Are Never Meeting In Real Life. Those reviews made me want to read that book but I saw we had this at the library and decided to start at the beginning without actually doing the work of starting at the real beginning because I'm too lazy for that. I mean, look. It took me 1.5 months to read a short book of essays. I'd be dead before I finished a blog.
But I may read that thing, anyway, because I find I kinda love Irby now.
Profile Image for Maxwell.
1,137 reviews8,151 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
March 25, 2021
DNF @ 27%

Just not vibing with this one. It feels a bit dated, but I like her voice so I’m going to try one of her newer collections instead.
Profile Image for Jenny (Reading Envy).
3,876 reviews3,050 followers
May 5, 2021
I've found myself drawn back to my long Audible library of books I bought but never listened to, and Samantha Irby's first essay collection is one of those animals. It covers more ground from her earlier years and a lot, and I mean a lot, about bodily fluids from IBS to female stuff. She reads them, which makes the audio preferred. There are some items that are just lists, and some that devolve into recipes, but I imagine a lot of this is reconfigured blog content, so it fits.

I will always hold Samantha Irby in my heart, because her brashness and ability to find humor in the dark really helped me when my Dad died, and her essays were the first things I managed to read in the days after.
Profile Image for chantel nouseforaname.
628 reviews314 followers
February 19, 2019
Samantha Irby is funny. However - there's something about her writing that doesn't sit well with me and I can't quite put my finger on it. I thought that maybe it was her wannabe shock-rock sort of talk that put me off. Or maybe it was all her talk about anal sex in juxtaposition to Crohn's disease which is like okay, we get it, you're gonna shit on their dick after you eat a cheese sandwich; but how much can you really milk this convo girl? I don't know. I felt like I read that diatribe re Crohn's in like in 5 different essays; which overall was just way too much to read about someone's Crohn's disease. Overall Sam is a funny girl and I found myself laughing wildly at a few moments but my eyebrows were knitted together in boredom at more moments than I was doubled over. Homegirl ain't funny enough to make this series interesting or about anything meaty.

I did like The Triplets essay the best. I love that at the end she included some recipes to make things like spicy pork, halibut and sloppy joes. I love that she had that top 6 list of her necessary traits in a partner, that shit resonated deeply. I love the lead in and lead out to the book summarizing all the crazy shit she wants; that was genius and mad-heartfelt; still not enough to save the bulk of the book tho.
Profile Image for Amina |  PAPER/PLATES.
88 reviews56 followers
October 28, 2013
I want to be Samantha Irby’s BFF IRL. Readers of her hilarious blog, Bitches Gotta Eat, know what I’m talking about — her spare-nothing honesty, her self-deprecating sense of humor and her unflinching observations about living young, broke and creative in the city make her the kind of rad chick you just want to hang out with. Preferably over a large pizza and a pint of ice cream.

Meaty, by Samantha IrbyAll the qualities I love about Bitches Gotta Eat are polished and condensed in this collection of essays, making it, impossibly, even more enjoyable than the blog. Though no detail is too personal for Irby to share — readers will quickly learn about the messy details of her Crohn’s disease and the heartbreaking story of her mom’s death — Meaty is comforting reading. It reminds me that it’s okay to be in my 20s and not buying a condo, marrying a consultant or even knowing the last time I Swiffered.

Irby’s Meaty essays tackle the issues that consume me and my friends’ city lives: dating, making a living, struggling to not wear the same damn wrap dress to every single work function. I know I’ve mentioned her humor already, but let me stress: I laughed inappropriately on the bus a few times and found myself wanting to text my friends with lines from the book. When Meaty was over, I was irrationally bummed. Luckily, Bitches Gotta Eat still is something to look forward to while I wait not at all patiently for a second book from Irby.

Meaty inspired me to cook something, yes, meaty, but also comforting in a “because you’re worth it!” kind of way. I’ve been meaning to tackle Lidia Bastianich’s Bolognese sauce recipe, so I took that as the starting point and tweaked it a bit to suit my tastes and ingredients. It takes four hours, but it’s worth it for the cooking smells alone. I ladled the sauce over homemade gnocchi, but you could easily use store-bought gnocchi or pasta instead.

Get the four-hour bolognese sauce inspired by Meaty at PAPER/PLATES.
Profile Image for Arit.
1 review
September 24, 2013
If you read nothing else this year: read this book. You will feel immediately connected to Samantha Irby's writing, her personality, and her sharp, unapologetic way of telling her stories. I've been a fan of her blog for a long time and couldn't wait for her essay collection to come out. Read it in two days and loved it.

Not only will you laugh out loud, but you will also feel the rawness and sadness that comes through the striking comedy of her words. It's hard for a writer to make you spit water out of your mouth in one sentence and then heave a sigh of empathetic sorrow in the next. Whether she's writing about her failed attempts at "normal" adulthood, finding love, or her relationship with her disabled mother, she's able to give you something over and over again that you haven't gotten from a real person in a long time: honesty. And it's a beautiful quality that Ms. Irby possesses. This is the kind of book that you keep on your shelf and re-read. It won't get old or go out of style.
Profile Image for Heather.
160 reviews
February 27, 2018
Samantha Irby, can we PLEASE be best friends?!

Oh, this book was SO SO SO funny. No other book has made me laugh this hard, out loud. Not ever.

While most of the stories were irrelevant to my life, a lot of the sentiment behind them related to me as a human being. Her sense of humor is almost IDENTICAL to mine, and she curses a lot which also mirrors my personality. I related to her personality and lifestyle very much.

I want to be friends with Samantha Irby. Like, seriously.

Now I need to go read her more recent book! :D

Thank you to NetGalley, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group & Samantha Irby for a digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Leah Craig.
119 reviews61 followers
February 25, 2019
For real - I love Sam Irby with my whole heart. She’s hilarious, vulgar, real, witty and raw. She’s got this “fuck it, I’m gonna tell y’all exactly how it went down with 0 shame” way of writing that makes you feel like her best friend once you’ve finished reading. And she always replies to my comments on Instagram which makes me feel super special 😏
Profile Image for Lisa Leone-campbell.
451 reviews44 followers
December 8, 2020
Ever since I read and laughed through Irby's latest book of essays, Wow, No Thank You, I wanted to read her very first book which is based on her blog, bitches gotta eat. Although Meaty is still very funny and extremely clever, it is much more raunchy than her last book. But what I could absolutely see is how strong her writing has become since Meaty.

The essays are once again hysterical and identifiable. She writes what women feel. In the essay "awkward first date" Irby lets the reader begin to know her by answering questions she poses to herself. Question: what is your favorite cereal? Answer: Is Triscuits a cereal? Question: who do you miss the most? Answer: The idea of my mother. As you can see, she tries to give both funny and truth.

Irby grew up raising herself, and being the caretaker for her disabled mother at the early age of 9. Her mother, a nurse had suffered from MS and other debilitating issues. It was up to her to run home and make sure her mother was ok for fear if the school found out her mother could not care for her, she would be taken away and put in a foster home.

But as Irby grew up, and her outlook on life being sarcastic yet naive, being complicated by her many health issues which she takes on with honesty and humor, she was able to prosper and grow stronger. With wit she describes dates where she had to wear adult diapers due to her colitis, having chin hairs, being exhausted by bad first dates...you know, having to shave your body and be extra super clean, only to know in an instant the guy was not for her and wondering why she tried so hard in the first place. She opens up about how she really enjoys eating in bed and watching television. Irby also give us a few of her favorite recipes, with entertaining commentary as she explains the ingredients.

The book of essays is filled with her distinctly different views on just about everything; life, love, hospital stays and hilarious stories of friends. Although some of the essays could be taken for being a bit vulgar, they are always based in truths which I believe some of us really do think, but never say out loud. Irby though, brazenly puts them down on paper.

Author 28 books9 followers
September 21, 2013
Maybe you don’t recall reading that classic Montaigne essay “Massive Wet Asses,” and perhaps you were “too cool” to read your grandmother’s Erma Bombeck collection with that one piece entitled “How to Get Your Disgusting Meat Carcass Ready for Some New, Hot Sex,” and maybe Philip Lopate’s “Sorry I Shit on Your Dick” flew right under your radar. Don’t worry, Joyce Carol: Those three never got around to writing those essays, but Samantha Irby has stepped in to fill that, um, void, with “Meaty.” This essay collection includes the three aforementioned titles, but what really distinguishes Irby’s writing from the hordes of internet yellers polluting the blogosphere with their one-dimensional self-absorbed ranting--besides her incredibly authoritative and hilarious writing voice, natch—is a fearlessness in PUTTING IT ALL out there—be it the dispatches from the desperate drunken stupidity of the 4am bar crowd (and their hungover next days), or growing up poor in a wealthy suburb, suffering from Crohn’s Disease, suffering from Crohn’s Disease while searching for love in a sea of oafish bro-brah fuck-ups…Irby mines humor from tragedy and heartbreak from these, and the common-enough frustrations of daily life, but the mockery (self, or other-directed) is always weighted with the universal desire for capital-h Happiness—the hope that, just this once, that cunt Lucy Van Pelt, holding the football of Successful Life, Love, and Fulfillment, won’t yank that goddamn pigskin away while our gullible Charlie Brown heart-minds run up to kick it, yet again, and leave us in a cloud of our own turdz.
Profile Image for Chanel M.
39 reviews1 follower
June 17, 2016
I didn't love it . :(

I wanted to, I really did. The first few chapters were AMAZING! I loved her honesty. She opened up about so many things that I do in secret, too. I always knew I couldn't be alone in those experiences but I never had the courage to test that theory.

Oh....and the chapters where she went deep, like "My mother, my daughter" were relieving. I mean she was so honest about something that is probably one of her biggest regrets. Made me feel like I wasn't wrong for moving past my biggest regrets. However, after a while the book lost me. Seeing her embrace her "flaws" in a world that encourages us to hide or exploit them was uplifting but then it became self-deprecating. I was like honey stop calling your body a "meat carcas". Towards the end of the book, I began feeling like she really does have some issues that she should talk to a shrink about...but because she addresses them in a humorous way her friends have failed to point it out to her.

After reading some other reviews I was able to appreciate the other chapters, I hadn't connected with such as the diet one. But, in the end, I wasn't moved by her work. I ended up just feeling bad about my "flaws".

I think maybe this should have remained a blog.
Profile Image for Jessica Sullivan.
519 reviews428 followers
November 8, 2019
Wow, this was a ride! Let’s just cut to the chase: Samantha Irby is absolutely hilarious. And she’s not afraid to go to some weird, disgusting, taboo places in her writing. I love this about her.

In this series of personal essays, Irby expresses herself the way I think a lot of us secretly wish we could: beyond the cute and socially acceptable self-deprecation and head-first into the gross, scathing and shocking. She dares readers to understand the things she’s talking about, and to our great horror and shame, we do.

She covers everything from poop (she has Crohn’s disease) and body fluids to chin hairs and bad sex, chronicling the myriad gross realities of the human (cis female) body.

I was into it for a while, but her style is so frenetic that it almost becomes exhausting. I think I would love these essays if I came upon one of them on its own in a magazine or something, but all together it’s just a lot!

If you need a good laugh though, I promise you’ll find many in this book.

Profile Image for Youlia.
139 reviews
November 7, 2017
I will never complain about my poops ever again. #perspective
Profile Image for Les.
360 reviews32 followers
March 8, 2016
So. Wow. Yeah, she just said that. This is my general reaction to reading the collection of essays/blog posts by Samantha Irby. "Raw" is a really polite way to describe her voice. It's realer, more sorrowful, edgier and at times uglier and more gross - more flat out disgusting to an excruciating amount of detail - than "raw." And just when I'm questioning if I can stomach what she's telling me (even though I alternately can't understand her logic and then fully identify with what she writes about being a smart, single black woman in her 30s who is not smart enough to have her shit together), I read the story of her incredible (in a bad way) upbringing and her ongoing struggle with a disease that would gross her out if she could afford to be grossed out - but she can't, because she has to live with it. No, "raw" is too light a term. Her writing is also hilarious, soul-stirring and at times, when she permits it - beautiful. But this book is NOT for the squeamish, religious or easily offended. (If you're all three, whatever books you have on your shelf I want to make sure are NOT on mine). Being repulsed by what she wrote wasn't enough to make me stop reading. And while she is funny, the book had stretches of writing devoid of her jokes or clever asides; they weren't needed - life provided plenty. I wanted to know her take on things. And with a few exceptions, my favorite part was no doubt her explanation of why being jealous of people in relationships is kind of impossible for a person who is rooted in their singledom. She'd like you to believe her, but she can go on just fine even if you don't. And that's her magic. Even so, I believed it; I believed her and I rooted for her. This was all while being grossed out and then drawn in throughout the book. When I think of essays, I think of James Baldwin. Jimmy B she ain't, but she's not trying to be. Irby is committed to being her - warts, or should I say moles, and all. I don't think I'll ever read anything else like this - unless she writes another one. Hope she does.
Profile Image for reading is my hustle.
1,482 reviews291 followers
November 20, 2014
She writes for bitches.

The blog bitchesgottaeat makes me laugh. Hard. How I missed that Samantha Irby published a book of rants essays is concerning. Am I losing it?

Samantha Irby gets 4 stars alone for her bravery. I love that she is shameless. So much of what she has written here are things that I most definitely may have thought but never admitted to. We share the same birthday and I kept feeling cool because of it. She is hilarious, forthright to an extreme, and raunchy. But. There are times when her humor is strategic. That is when I love her most.
Profile Image for Richard Thomas.
Author 93 books640 followers
November 3, 2013
One of the funniest books I've read since David Sedaris. Smart, honest, touching, raw, sexy, dark, dysfunctional and as human as it gets. Brilliant.
Profile Image for emily.
353 reviews210 followers
December 15, 2021
Endearing and intensely human. However, slightly repetitive, and too much like reading someone's 'journal'. A lack of variation in style. Certainly wasn't what I was expecting when I picked this up, but I'm glad to have read it to the end. My lack of enjoyment probably comes from not relating to Irby's experiences/thoughts enough. Nevertheless, a decent read. The audiobook's fab. (But then again, what does one really expect to find in a book with a cute hedgehog on the cover?)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,617 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.