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Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  55,750 ratings  ·  6,030 reviews
Coming of age in a culture that demands women be as small, quiet, and compliant as possible--like a porcelain dove that will also have sex with you--writer and humorist Lindy West quickly discovered that she was anything but.

From a painfully shy childhood in which she tried, unsuccessfully, to hide her big body and even bigger opinions; to her public war with stand-up com
Hardcover, 260 pages
Published May 17th 2016 by Hachette
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Megan Considering it was not yet a baby--it couldn't breathe on its own, eat on its own, survive on its own--it doesn't really factor in. In addition, under…moreConsidering it was not yet a baby--it couldn't breathe on its own, eat on its own, survive on its own--it doesn't really factor in. In addition, under federal law in the US no one has a right to use another person's body to stay alive against their will. The fetus didn't have bodily autonomy; the POC to whom you refer do.(less)
Whitney She is riffing on them being essentially the same character. (Some would say they are literally the same character, with the same original images bein…moreShe is riffing on them being essentially the same character. (Some would say they are literally the same character, with the same original images being used for both, as well as the same voice actor.)

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Average rating 4.16  · 
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 ·  55,750 ratings  ·  6,030 reviews

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Emily May
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Of all the feminist non-fiction books I've had on my to-read list, this one was calling to me the least. I'm not sure why, as I didn't even really know what it was about outside what the title told me. I had also never heard of the author before reading it (though I now realize I had actually read a couple of her articles in the past). BUT I started reading this yesterday evening and stayed up late until I'd finished it.

West has a really engaging conversational writing style. She swears, she us
Sarah Andersen
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm a cartoonist and I face extensive online harassment, so I picked up this book in the hopes that Lindy's writing about her own experiences would help me my grasp my own.

"Men, you will never understand. Women, I hope I helped. Comedy, you broke my heart."

Thanks Lindy, you did help.
Hannah Greendale
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir, adult
Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.

Society has long held women to near-impossible standards of beauty and urged them to remain quiet and reserved. Outspoken women, who champion women’s rights and advocate the importance of feminism, are often labeled with a slew of derogatory terms with negative associations. Lindy West – brave feminist, bold writer, and delightful humorist – was never destined for a life of submissive silence. In her savvy m
Aug 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Lindy West doesn't come across as shrill in Shrill but as really smart, funny and gutsy. This worked really well as an Audiobook. I had never heard of West before reading Julie's excellent review, which got me curious. Shrill is what essentially amounts to a collection of personal essays. West is a proud outspoken feminist. She writes about many topics, including her extreme shyness as a kid, her parents and upbringing, her battles with herself and others to change perspectives on what it means ...more
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I don’t want to have another fucking conversation with another fucking woman about what she’s eating or not eating or regrets eating or pretends to not regret eating to mask the regret.

(OMG, Lindy! You are speaking my language. I don’t want to have those conversations either...ever a-fucking-gain! I am so over all of it: filtered pictures on Instagram, Fakebook, Crossfit, competitive weight loss groups, narcissism, before and after photos, pictures of salad, underwear & sports bra selfies. I jus
Jul 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club

This was such a mixed bag for me!

To start with, the promotional quote on the front of the book reads, “Lindy West is an essential and hilarious voice for women.”

Hilarious? Oh, cool. Like David Sedaris?

No. Not like David Sedaris. By page 15 I was like. . . hilarious? And, not to be rude, but. . . what's this book about?

The subtitle reads, “Notes From A Loud Woman.” Okay. So, a book of notes? Yes. A book of completely random notes, everything from owning a vagina to obscure name-dropping of p
Jan 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
At the tail end of 2020, I listened to Lindy West’s self-narrated “$hit Actually” audiobook and laughed all my pandemic+politics-induced cares away. I then turned to Hulu and watched the comedy series “Shrill” that’s based on her first book.

Naturally then I had to read it (or listen to the audio version, to be more specific). While "$hit Actually" was a lighthearted skewering of modern movies, “Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman" is described by West in her Acknowledgements as her “fat feminist ab
Whitney Atkinson
2020 is the year of reading all the books on my tbr in order of what i've owned the longest, and i'm not gonna lie, i almost just got rid of this one because i bought it in 2016/2017 at the height of me being into a white feminist phase. but what i thought was going to be a book about women's voices and a more academic discussion was actually a memoir so much closer to my heart than i anticipated because the writer is fat. this book evoked tears and i had to grab a pencil as i read because there ...more
In 2017, society still expects women to keep quiet, move aside for men, and comply to the rules. Lindy West's courageous and humorous memoir, Shrill, details her journey in breaking free from these expectations as a successful stand-up comic, popular internet writer, and fat woman. She blends the personal and the political well, moving from how she developed her love of comedy to how she confronted sexist bosses and internet trolls. West addresses an array of unpleasant subjects - misogyny, rape ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I have been a big fan of Lindy West for a few years now. I use one of her stories from Back Fence PDX when I teach Storytelling, as a jump off point to encourage students to tell about a time they overcame adversity. When I heard she was coming out with a book, I was excited, and knew I'd want it in audio. This was no mistake! This was the book I needed even though I didn't know I needed it!

Lindy covers fat shaming, feminism, abortion, marriage, and internet trolls - if you know her work at all
Joanne Harris
Profoundly intimate, funny, raucous, articulate; this is a book for every man who ever thought of women as an alien species; and for every woman who was ever made to feel like a stranger in her own skin. It's not a memoir; it's a reminder that ultimately, we ourselves, and no-one else, get to determine who were are. Terrific. ...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

2.5 Stars

I’m going to be 100% transparent here and admit to the fact that I had never heard of Lindy West or her writing or this book. What I had heard of, however, was . . . .

I have such a wicked crush on Aidy Bryant it’s not even funny. From being one of the driving forces behind the female counterpoint to The Lonely Island . . . .

To owning everything there is when it comes to playing oversexed teens . . . . .

Aidy Brya
Mar 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a zippy collection of essays from the amusingly sharp-tongued Lindy West. I've been a fan of Lindy's columns in The New York Times, and decided to check out her book.

Shrill covers everything from Lindy's run-ins with internet trolls, her pushback on fat-shamers, her critique of rape jokes, and the death of her father. Lindy is a strong writer and I enjoyed reading her stories. Highly recommended.

Jan 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, audiobook
Really thought provoking and anger inducing but still very funny.

I had not heard of Lindy West before listening to this book but I had read quite a few very positive reviews of it - so when Audible recommended this book to me, I did not hesitate to download it. And man am I glad I did! This is a brilliant book that made me think and laugh and very angry. Lindy West is my absolute hero.

Lindy West talks about a whole range of topics - from fat shaming, to rape jokes, to the misogyny she experienc
May 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2016, unreviewed
I have read exactly six pages so far and have already laughed out loud four times. I LOVE YOU LINDY WEST.


I am now exactly 23 pages in and was just rendered literally, gaspingly helpless with laughter at this line, in the (phenomenal) chapter on childhood role models for little fat girls, where she is discussing Mrs. Potts from Beauty and the Beast: "How come, when they turn back into humans, Chip is a four-year-old boy, but his mother, Mrs. Potts, is like 107? As soon as you become a mother,
Jun 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This should be required reading for everyone who is alive right now. Lindy West is just so smart and so interesting and she writes about phenomenons that are happening in our current society so well. She writes about being a fat woman, about having an abortion, about how her weight has affected her relationships with people, about being verbally abused online, about losing her father, and, my favorite, being a woman in comedy (those 2 chapters were so, so incredible).

Just please read her book.
Book Riot Community
All hail Lindy West! This collection of essays is one of the funniest and most infuriating books I have read. West is an expert in exposing the absurd messages women (and men) receive about our bodies, sexuality, and autonomy. From the first chapter where she lists the pathetically small (and ultimately flawed) list of fat female role models she had in her youth, I was hooked. The list includes Ursula the Sea Witch, The Neighbor with the Arm Flab from The Adventures of Pete & Pete, and Baloo Dre ...more
May 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humorous-essays
I was the girl kids would point to on the playground and say, "She's your girlfriend," to gross out the boys.

I'd never heard of West, a comedy writer who is the frequent punching bag of internet trolls, until I found her book of essays on the shelf at the library. Through Lindy's eyes, we learn what it's like to grow up fat. As a chunky child, she found a dearth of role models and female characters who had her same body type. The fat women were either villains or buffoons. Things didn't get any
Mar 12, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

I had expected something shocking, rowdy and intense, and it's all of those, but there's something slightly immature about it. It's almost as if the author is showing off with her “no holds barred” writing. She uses a lot of slang and words are abbreviated, almost like “text speak”, and maybe it's a generational thing, but it just didn't come across as humourous, just an attempt to shock older readers, and be “cool” for younger ones. I believe the author is also a live performer - maybe her view
Julie Ehlers
There are a lot of awesome-looking feminist books coming out in 2016, and although I have longed to add all of them to my collection immediately, I vowed to wait for the paperback for most of them for the sake of my wallet. Shrill seemed like an obvious book for this "waiting" strategy—although I was aware that Lindy West was a prominent young feminist writer, I knew very little else about her and could barely even remember where I'd seen her work before (I guessed maybe Jezebel, and I turned ou ...more
Elyse  Walters
Jun 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
...Parts were *hysterical*....
...Very personal memoir-
...I started this book 2 years ago - actually got bored - ( I know I know - what’s wrong with me?)....
but I finished it this time - saw my old Kindle-highlights and all.
The chapter about Lindy’s father was especially moving.
The biggest pleasure I had - overall reading *Shrill*, was getting an experience of Lindy West.
She’s an inspiring awesome human being!

3.5 rating
Jul 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-release, audio
I recently finished two audio books that on the surface don’t have much to do with each other, but upon reflection, I realized they both exposed major biases I didn’t know I had and forced me to rethink my views. Shrill is one of those books; I'll be back in a few days to tell you about the other. These reviews actually make me squirmy to write because it’s hard to admit I harbor these prejudices, but hiding them or pretending they don’t exist won’t make them go away. And that is the goal, defin ...more
Jun 22, 2017 added it
Shelves: abandoned
No rating. From the introduction and the first/ next 20 pages I was repelled. Not for me on at least 4 or 5 different facets. Shrill means, to me, shrieking in unpleasant vibrato. This is beyond that, it is not only dark humor. It is filled with venom. Hate, anger and stereotype rule. No good intent is assumed for "the other". Self definitions and core are entirely self-involved to "value". Her "we think" is also in many ways self abusive. But most of all the crude language and context foul dial ...more
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I will endlessly support women lending their personal hardships and putting themselves in the public firing line to enhance and widen the world for others. Much like the original suffragette crusaders we still need voices to speak up like Lindy’s to break down prejudices especially those with weight issues to not be ignored and like it or lump it fat people exist and aren’t here to cause you personal grief. Believe it or not they are human people and should be treated with respect and dignity li ...more

This was such a great book! I can see why it won on Goodreads last year. I wish I had heard of West before cause her writing speaks to me.

Told in a semi-chronological way, West's "Shrill" goes into her childhood through her adult years taking a hard look at herself and those around her for seeing her as less than cause she was "fat". I use that word cause West does in this memoir. She makes no apologies for her size which I loved.

West touches upon her professional career writing for publica
Aug 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Thank goodness I had this book while my plane sat on the runway for 2-1/2 hours in Montreal while waiting out a string of thunderstorms. I hardly noticed the time.

This book is put together as a blend of memoir and opinion, as Lindy West recounts how she's spent her life being scorned for her weight/size, but nevertheless got over any shyness about public speaking, got involved with stand-up comedy, and developed a thick-enough skin to tolerate the absolutely appalling trolling she receives in h
Ivonne Rovira
Jun 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: every woman
I hadn’t heard of Lindy West until I discovered that this book was coming out, and the description of the book was so intriguing that I had to pre-order it on Audible. And it lived up to that high expectation — especially as she narrates her debut book herself.

West, a zaftig feminist and award-winning writer, explores society’s innate discomfort with women’s bodies — especially, although not limited to, the heavy ones in this book of essays with a dollop of memoir thrown in for good measure. Men
Oct 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
I commend West for what she's doing, but this book was nothing earth shattering. The self-love message is of utmost importance. (Well done!) But, I was unable to connect with much of the book. It just wasn't for me.

Jenny Bunting
Nov 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Beautifully written, empowering, and important.

Edit: This was also really hilarious at points. I almost cackled out loud coming back into my office after going on a walk and listening to this.
3.5 rounding up to 4

I read the introduction and almost had to stop reading this book altogether. She wrote the intro right after the 2016 election and the tone was dripping in mirth. Thank goodness I kept reading.

Lindy West has a gift for telling it like it is and taking no prisoners. I appreciated her direct language as she discusses what it's like to grow up without having anyone to look up to that looks like her. I about died with laughter when she talks about Ursula vs Triton and lady Kluc
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BoulderAreaBookClub: Shrill 1 5 Jan 16, 2018 02:26PM  
Feminist Fight Club : August - Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West 1 11 Aug 01, 2017 05:30AM  

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Lindy West is a columnist at The Guardian, a contributor to This American Life, and a freelance writer whose work focuses on feminism, social justice, humor, and body image. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Cosmopolitan, GQ, Vulture, Jezebel, The Stranger, and others. She is the founder of I Believe You, It's Not Your Fault, an advice blog for teens, as well as the reproductive rights ...more

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“Women matter. Women are half of us. When you raise every woman 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.” 208 likes
“Feminism is really just the long slow realization that the things you love hate you.” 107 likes
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