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Wow, No Thank You.: Essays

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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Humor (2020)
A new essay collection from Samantha Irby about aging, marriage, settling down with step-children in white, small-town America.

Irby is turning forty, and increasingly uncomfortable in her own skin. She has left her job as a receptionist at a veterinary clinic, has published successful books and is courted by Hollywood, left Chicago, and moved into a house with a garden that requires repairs and know-how with her wife and two step-children in a small white, Republican town in Michigan where she now hosts book clubs. This is the bourgeois life of dreams. She goes on bad dates with new friends, spends weeks in Los Angeles taking meetings with "skinny, luminous peoples" while being a "cheese fry-eating slightly damp Midwest person," "with neck pain and no cartilage in [her] knees," and hides Entenmann's cookies under her bed and unopened bills under her pillow.

Into the gross --
Girls gone mild --
Hung up! --
Late-1900s time capsule --
Love and marriage --
Are you familiar with my work? --
Hysterical! --
Lesbian bed death --
Body negativity --
Country crock --
A guide to simple home repairs --
We almost got a fucking dog --
Detachment parenting --
Season 1, episode 1 --
Hollywood summer --
$$$ --
Hello, 911? --
An extremely specific guide to publishing a book

319 pages, Paperback

First published March 31, 2020

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About the author

Samantha Irby

12 books8,294 followers
i'm a slow reader.

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5 stars
11,007 (26%)
4 stars
17,156 (41%)
3 stars
9,927 (23%)
2 stars
2,561 (6%)
1 star
1,015 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 5,231 reviews
Profile Image for Roxane.
Author 121 books157k followers
April 22, 2020
This was smart, funny and charming as with Irby’s other books. I enjoyed reading it. Few writers do self deprecation to elucidate a larger point as well as she does.

Also white people. Y’all must stop confusing Samantha and I. Each time she mentioned it here I was embarrassed for you guys. She’s awesome. I am decent. We look nothing alike! There is more than one big black woman writer with tattoos.

I just blew your mind, I am sure.
Profile Image for Kat.
263 reviews79.5k followers
December 14, 2020
i will quite literally read anything that samantha irby slaps her name on, and i can almost guarantee it will make me laugh right the fuck out loud. this book was a hoot, and it only took me so long to finish because of FINALS HELL (but it made said finals hell a bit more bearable so WOW, THANK YOU)
Profile Image for karen.
3,978 reviews170k followers
November 19, 2020
oooh, goodreads choice awards finalist for best humor 2020! what will happen?

this book made me love samantha irby as much as the rest of you already do.

'cuz i admit—i was not crazy about We Are Never Meeting In Real Life. i went on and on about why in my review, but you're already here, so to summarize: i'd never read her before and a few too many of the essays came across as self-conscious and overworked, like she was trying to shove humor/memoir pieces through a short story filter. it felt 'off' in shape and form; keeping the reader at arm's length by using too many overlaying gimmicky style-flourishes, as clunky as that sentence i just wrote.

this new collection is fantastic. it's much more confident and conversational and loose; it doesn't feel like writing that's been reworked too many times, its best parts buried under unnecessary zazz and flair. she's funny enough to just...write, to lay it all out there without second-guessing any of it, powering through in an engaging tone as unfussy as the essays' contents, many of which are about blood, poop, and tears—the verymany failings of the body and the mind and the spirit.

she and i seem to have many areas of same-shame/self-deprecatory overlap—i, too, am an "ill-prepared child-person" whose body “is a toilet,” always wondering (although in less-perfect words), “Am I ever going to stop writing the horror movie I have been starring in since the day I was born?”

it is heartening to know that i'm not the only one so unsuited for 92% of life; everything from 'navigating social situations' to 'home ownership.'

i also appreciate her USE OF CAPITAL LETTERS FOR EMPHASIS, especially as someone who just had all their similarly deployed capital letters turned into wimpy italics by an otherwise delightful editor.

it's kind of perfect that this book is pubbing mid-quarantine, because if there's anyone absolutely suited for the Q-lifestyle, it's samantha irby. her “five kübler-ross stages of impending-social-engagement dismay” is an all-too-familiar process—though i’m sure she receives far more invitations than i do. since ain't none of us going out anytime soon, i'll leave it here as a reminder of olden times before returning to my 'rona-cave.

1. Denial: “Did I really tell homegirl I would meet her for dinner and drinks tonight, or is this a dream?”


3. Bargaining: “If I go to this restaurant tonight, and I tell some jokes and act real sweet, I will keep this friendship intact, plus I won’t have to make up a transparent lie or sneak around trying not to like shit on Instagram, and also I don’t ever have to leave my crib ever again.”

4. Depression: “Is there anything worse in life than someone wanting to hang out with me? Especially in a fancy bar that serves ‘handcrafted’ cocktails? Maybe I can throw myself off the organic rooftop urban garden and end this miserable charade for good.”

5. Acceptance: “Fine then, I’ma just watch four episodes of SVU and eat saltines with my shoes on until it’s time to call a Lyft.”

back to blanket town!



come to my blog!
Profile Image for Allison.
733 reviews21 followers
April 25, 2020
The title says it all. Clearly I am not the target audience for this piece, but I can only give my opinion. My general impression was the author is trying too hard. The rapid-fire barrage of self-deprecating insults and trying-to-shock situations came off as embarrassing, rather than provocative. I had hoped this would provide amusement in our COVID-19 time,, but the world of the author was too distant from my own to make connections. Readers from a different generation and place may have a different reaction.
Profile Image for Larry.
76 reviews8,773 followers
February 1, 2022
I really enjoyed this book, laughed out loud many times. Samantha Irby is really, really funny, and I think relatable to most of us. I enjoyed the audiobook, read by the author for a little extra realism. Highly recommend, will be reading more of her books in the future.
Profile Image for Nat K.
415 reviews155 followers
April 14, 2020

"Convenience is the number one driver of everything I do."

It's been a tough few weeks. Working from home and social distancing was starting to mess with my mojo. Even as a natural born introvert, I could understand why Tom Hanks' character was talking to a coconut* called Wilson in the movie "Castaway". My incarceration had its moments. I was starting to get Stockholm Syndrome with myself.

So thank goodness for the fabliss Sam Irby. What better way to spend the last day of the Easter long weekend than by hunkering down and spending time with my favourite human sloth.

"These days, disgusting cozy clothes are my main sartorial vibe."

Sam & I had previously crossed paths with her earlier book We Are Never Meeting In Real Life. Which I enjoyed so much that my mouth was sore from grinning like the proverbial Cheshire Cat. Despite some of the very serious topics she covered in that book, overall it was a brilliant confessional of "stuff" that irks most of us. And it's always the trivial stuff that has the highest irk factor.

I loved her then and I love her now. Her humour is wickedly irreverent. She's sassy. She pulls no punches. She tells it like it is. She thinks what you're thinking, and verbalises those thoughts. Out loud. Real loud. Noooo filter. She says stuff you'd probably only say after a very long liquid lunch with your favourite girlfriends, three sheets to the wind.

What's not to love about someone who openly admits "An eight o'clock movie on Tuesday night sounded plausible last Thursday, but now it's Tuesday afternoon." And how about "Going out on Saturday night sounded great on Wednesday, but now Saturday is here and I'm in my cozy clothes..." I hear you! Much as the recent shutdown/lockdown is not to my liking, I'm still someone who's perfectly happy to potter about and read a good book rather than 'mingle'.

Reading about her occasional social forays had me in stitches.

"I am up five hours, forty seven minutes, and nineteen seconds past my bedtime, and that is a dangerous place to be, awake at rat o'clock, in uncomfortable shoes and itchy eye makeup."

There is so much subtle and not so subtle humour in these essays. Sam has an amazing observational eye that is spot on. And talks about random topics that had me amused no end.

"I don't know if this is some sort of reverse profiling, but I can usually glance at a person and know at first sight that we're probably going to get along. I don't have it down to a science (I'm not researching shit, dude), but here are some dead giveaways...." (lists quirky attributes to being a kindred spirit).

Thanks Sam for the great ab workout from laughing so much. My sinuses have cleared as well. Maybe it's a good thing I'm in social isolation so no-one has to see that? Yes, I grinned just as much this time around. Sam, you rock!

"Incredible, truly" is the runaway review for this book. By the author herself. Too funny.

Wow, no thank you is a winner winner chicken dinner. In fact, I'm going to use that title in everyday conversation. Just throw it in for no good reason. When I am eventually released into the world and partake in a bit of conversing.

This was the perfect tonic for these way too serious and way too anxious times. Do yourself a favour and settle in with this one. Time will fly.

Trigger warning! Offensive language, bodily functions... etc etc, yadda yadda. Life's too short. Don't be precious! Let go and laugh.

* Disclaimer! "All care given but no responsibility taken" or however the saying goes. Turns out Wilson was a volleyball (thanks Edgarr Alien Pooh for being a sharp Eagle Eye and cinephile). Hmmm...well, I knew he was talking to something spherical. What can I say, I saw the movie a decade ago 😉
February 10, 2022

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This is a tough book to rate because parts of it were 4- and 5-star worthy and parts of it were so boring that I decided to skim. This is the third Irby "book" I've read so far (yes I'm counting that short New Years essay she wrote and published on Kindle), and unlike a lot of the nay-sayers on Amazon, I actually really like her ribald, in-your-face sense of humor, especially about bodily functions. She is very open about her Crohn's and I think that is super important. Doctors actually thought me and my family had an IBS-like disease for a while but it turns out we had a super serious corn sensitivity, so honestly, I GET IT. Maybe if more people talked about it, I would have saved myself years of-- ahem-- intestinal strife.

I also love how she writes about all sorts of other "you can't say that on television!"-type topics, like the natural stuff that comes with aging, what it's like being plus-size (and not giving a hoot about it!), a total unapologetic recount of some of her relationships with men and women (including her wife) as a bisexual woman. And stuff about blended families and the difficulties that come with that.

I think the strongest portions of the book were where she writes about anxiety and depression and also her own history and successes and failures. She has a very chatty, readable narrative that really reminded me of Lindy West (so I was not at all surprised to find out they are apparently friends). Her dating advice section was HILARIOUS (and I would probably read an entire book just about that). I also liked the chapter about mixed tapes and some of her favorite 90s/00s songs and their importance to her. Less strong were the passages that kind of read like she'd run out of ideas, like the list of things that are better than sex, the "hello, 911?" section where it's just a list of anxiety triggers, and the section on home improvement. The only thing more boring than house work is reading about house work.

The ending kind of picked up again with her ultimate fangirl moment of meeting Janeane Garofolo and how that ended up resulting in Abbi Jacobson from Broad City reaching out to her (!!!), or how Lindy West invited her to write for Shrill. I also kind of liked the section about how she got her book published, and the nostalgic mentions of MySpace's blog feature (I totally forgot about that).

If I could shave out everything I didn't really like as much about this book, I would give this a much higher rating. But because of how much I ended up skimming, three stars seems fair. Samantha Irby is still my fellow curmudgeon-in-arms though, and I can't wait for her next collection of essays.

3 to 3.5 stars
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,733 reviews14.1k followers
May 5, 2020
We all need some humor, but maybe even more so during this time. Funny, heck yes, but also so much with with I could identify. Out with friends and wishing to be home. Making plans on a certain day but when the day comes wondering what you were thinking. Looking in your closet and wondering what pod bought some of these clothes. Her Crohn's disease and lamenting her partners penchant for buying healthy snacks. So much more is included, her comic delivery is top notch.

Sometimes raunchy, honest and pertinent, this is my first introduction to this author. Taken all together it is almost too much, but parsed out, read here and there, these essays reflect life as many of us live as women.
Profile Image for Jasmine Guillory.
Author 18 books20.7k followers
February 24, 2020
Samantha Irby’s writing cracks me up on a consistent basis so I went into this book ready to be entertained. And I was, but it was also so much more than that — touching, emotional, relatable, surprising. And on top of all of that, just tons of fun.
Profile Image for Kelli.
850 reviews394 followers
July 10, 2020
Wow, ok.
It's very possible that I have reached my limit with essay collections. I really loved We Are Never Meeting in Real Life....in fact, I just reread my review of that one and man, I wish I could relive that feeling. I loved that book.
Moving on...this one had some laugh out loud moments for me and a few essays I really liked, but it was repetitive and more of a mixed bag. Also, it bears repeating that those offended by profanity should look elsewhere.
3 stars, possibly influenced by my love of her past work though.
Profile Image for Debbie.
441 reviews2,782 followers
May 31, 2020
3.7 (rounded up)

Well, is there such a thing as being too self-deprecating?

Irby is the queen of anxiety (and occasionally, poop), and she is not shy about baring all. Honest, funny, and overly self-deprecating, this collection of essays grabbed my attention.

This book is about getting old (ha, to Irby this means turning 40! Gawd!). It’s about not fitting in, and having crippling anxiety and physical pain to make matters worse. It’s about trying to survive as a married, lesbian, black woman living in Podunk. She documents her feelings as she tries to get out of bed every morning and as she attempts to act like a “normal” person. A stand-out essay was about her first writing job in Hollywood.

I was fickle with my rating as I soldiered on. Here’s my star trek:

-I remember nothing. I was sort of liking this funny book. I loved her earlier We Are Never Meeting in Real Life.: Essays and thought, man, this girl makes me laugh! But concentration was low because corona was stealing the show, and my laugh reflex was malfunctioning. I was about a third in, and I decided to set it aside and get a shot of Sedaris. Which worked, and got my glands and nodes all giddy. Then back to Wow I went. I had a good attitude, I promise. (After all, I DID return to it, right?) I was reading away and looked down to see I was at 6 percent. I had left off at about 35 percent when I started it a month ago, so WHAAAAAT? Yes, I was rereading it from the start and I had remembered nothing! Now, granted, my brain was screwed up because the virus hit, so it’s partly my fault. But to remember nothing? Something tells me it’s sort of the book’s fault, too. As in not compelling. 3 stars for this so-so content. (1 star for me for my dufus memory.)

-You don’t have to make fun of yourself every second, you know. Irby goes a little overboard in putting herself down. This is pretty much her whole shtick. Don’t get me wrong—I love people who make fun of themselves, but I was overly aware of it, which means it was too much. 3 stars

-Nervous nelly (I’m happy). This is one anxious tootsie! I loved her talk about she survives in the world, carrying around a bundle of heavy nerves that threaten to make her crash and burn. I have mucho anxiety myself, so it was cathartic. She makes it all funny as hell and she’s super smart. I forgot to mention she’s raunchy. Talking about her bodily functions is a favorite topic of hers—I found it mostly a kick. 4 stars

-Nervous nelly (I’m not so happy). Okay, we know you’re anxious, but can’t you let up a little? Same old story over and over. We get it. 3 stars

-List heaven! She made me want to immediately go make some killer lists myself. There are lots of lists and most are clever and laugh-worthy. 4 stars

-Hello, 911. I loved this creative and funny chapter, where she fantasizes calling 911 with comical problems. 4.5 stars

-Dedicated to Wellbutrin. Seriously, she dedicated the book to Wellbutrin! Anyone who dedicates their book to a psych med is going to make me dish out all the stars (for the Dedication, that is). Love it love it love it! She dedicated We Are Never Meeting in Real Life to Klonopin, so this is her thing. 6 stars

-Do NOT give me your playlist! There’s an entire (eternal) chapter near the beginning that outlines her favorite playlist, song by song, and she writes about how each song made her feel. BORING! I really felt like I was in the wrong demographic here—I hadn’t heard of the songs (they were from the 90s) and I got more and more furious as I continued not to be able to relate. I ended up skipping most of the chapter, but I didn’t go out gently—I was mad at her. How dare she ruin my reading experience? How dare she write about something I can’t relate to? Humph! I was so mad, I jumped over to Sedaris, who I was quite sure would not give me his damn playlists. 1 star

Mix it up and throw it in the blender, and I end up with 3.7 stars, rounded up. I’ll definitely check out her next book, but I must say, this one can’t compete with We Are Never Meeting in Real Life.: Essays. No way.

P.S. The title is sort of interesting. Does she mean someone says or does something wowsy and she wants no part of it, but she says so in a polite way? Or is the “wow” pure sarcasm?

Thanks to NetGalley for the advance copy.
Profile Image for Julie Ehlers.
1,111 reviews1,395 followers
August 16, 2020
It pains me to say that this wasn't great. After loving (and laughing my face off at) Irby's first two collections, I was sure the awesomely titled Wow, No Thank You. would be the perfect spirits-lifting quarantine read, but for me it just wasn't. First, it covered a lot of the same ground as her previous two books; her rough past was really interesting to read about the first two times, but three was too many. She's also just as self-deprecating as ever, and while self-deprecation is usually great for some laughs, she needs to stop centering it in the idea that she's a loser who will never have her life together. Hello? She's had two (now three) bestselling books, her first book was optioned for TV by one of the Broad City stars (the series never actually got made, but just being optioned is more than most writers get), and she was handpicked by Lindy West to be a writer on the Hulu series Shrill. On the personal front, she got married and now seems to co-own a house. She's a success by so many measures! I understand she might still feel like a loser, but going forward she needs to find a more convincing way to write about it. On the plus side, I did enjoy reading about how she got her first book deal and about her experiences writing for Shrill in L.A. But I just didn't laugh as crazy hard as I did at her first two books, and it's a shame, because I could have really used some crazy hard laughing at the time that I was reading this.

Probably 2.5, rounded up.
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,444 reviews7,532 followers
April 14, 2020
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

Back when I had feelings, my self-esteem was a toilet.

Dear Sam Irby . . . . .

YMMV because her stories are about things like dropping hamsters due to aggressive menstrual cycles and shitting her pants and various other “swimsuit area” issues women sometimes have . . . .

But she also talks about marriage and step-parenting and her cats and everything else that isn’t quite so in-your-face and also . . . . .

Barry knows books.

And she is a woman of a certain age who grew up dreaming of being able to channel the lives of Veronica Sawyer, Vickie Miner and Daria Morgendorffer, who listened to badass bitches like Hole and Liz Phair and believes this video could quite possibly be the great unifier . . . . .

Not to mention, fantasizes about calling 911 regarding real-life issues such as . . . .

Hello, 911? I’ve been lying awake for an hour each night, reliving a two-second awkward experience I had in front of a casual acquaintance three years ago, for eight months.

And just gets it regarding being a fat person . . . .

I can’t watch This Is Us because even though the brothers are hot and the dad is a smoke show, in the first couple episodes the fat girl doesn’t get to be much more than “fat,” and wow, no thank you! Maybe there are fat people sitting around silently weeping about being fat every minute of every day, but that is a redemptive arc thin people like to see on television, and it’s just not the fucking truth.

Plus, we have the same policy regarding interactions with strangers on the intertubes . . . .

There’s no mute button for the woman at the grocery store who won’t stop asking you where the shampoo is, even though you’re pushing your own cart while wearing both sunglasses and a coat. But you know who you can mute? Everyone you hate on the Internet!

I double-dipped on this one and read part of it on the Kindle while listening to part while taking the dog for his daily stroll through the ‘hood. Irby’s delivery style (just like her writing) may not be for everyone, but for me the dry, droll reading added an extra level of hilarity.

If you don’t shy away from stories that are a little . . . . okay A LOT . . . . crass, I recommend all three of her books.
Profile Image for Skyler Autumn.
228 reviews1,395 followers
August 11, 2020
2.5 Stars

A collection of "comedic" essays that fell short of my high expectations.

A majority of this essay collection revolves around the fact Samantha Irby identifies as a disgusting, socially anxious, absurd human with no redeemable qualities yet she has three books under her belt, wrote for Shrill, a pool of supportive friends, had Abbi Jacobson writing a pilot with her and is married with two step kids. If her joke is she failed into an amazing life I'm not quite sure about that punchline.

Wow No Thank You, reads like an amateur comedian hitting the mic for the first time with poorly constructed jokes not getting the laughs so decides to yell "I'm constantly shitting myself" at the top of their lungs in order to get the cheap laugh that is elicited purely from shock value. I enjoy potty humour like the next immature adult but after the 50th joke of Samantha Irby declaring "I can't control my bowels" it ran on tedious and eventually worrisome, maybe pop an imodium girl?

I'm not saying this was utterly horrible. I smirked a few times during the essay about her considering buying a dog or her reliving the preparations that are needed for a 40 year old woman to hit the town but there were more lulls then grins. Two chapters were just made up of running gag jokes of sex is great but have you ever... (insert mundane task here) or Hello, 911... (insert a mild irritation here) which just read like page count filler. I don't know about you but when I find something in the humour section of my local bookstore there is a certain expectation that it will be at the very minimum... funny?
Profile Image for Lisa.
1,462 reviews560 followers
October 4, 2020
I've been listening to Irby's essays over the last month, usually one at a time. There are some very funny lines in this book but the groan to laugh ratio was not in favor of the laughs. I'm not a fan of bathroom humor. I felt like a prudish grandmother driving a car with an anxious, rowdy adolescent in the back seat. I wanted to just shout out, Shhh, calm down.
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.3k followers
December 17, 2020
I am not the intended audience for this book. I felt like I was the guy at the bar who Samantha Irby was craning her neck around to talk to the woman on the stool on my other side. I am a late middle-aged guy, and almost none of my male Goodreads friends seem to have read this, but like hundreds of women, who are like her bff. I had decided to read the top three Goodreads Humor nominees of 2020, had never heard of Irby, and as opposed to my binge-listening to mysteries or intensely studying Serious Novels, wanted a series of funny breaks at the End of 2020. She's from Chicago, I'm from Chicago and was hoping for Chicago flavor (and did get that), she graduated from Evanston Township High School and grew up there, I know Evanston.

As Irby said in a later essay about her first book, she was surprised at how many people were interested in what was basically "a lot of swearing and poop jokes," which is a joke, but kinda true about her work. As she admits elsewhere, she is an acquired taste, she is who she is, deal with it, she's now a middle-aged, mildly-depressed, queer woman of color with diarrhea" (or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or Crohn's Disease, depending on when she is talking about it). In the first essays she comes on strong with the poop stories, and I thought, okay, I am going to part company with Samantha and move to another seat at the bar. Took a break and came back to it, listening to one at a time, getting to know her a bit.

So something happened in the chapter, "Hysterical," on Irby's (dramatically heavy) periods, which I was, again, going to skim through, not written for me, but hey, I am this sad completist, I have to finish everything. I shared some of the anecdotes with two people in this house who actually also get and were actually having their periods--such as, how she once left a hotel room looking like a murder scene from CSI--and they laughed uproariously at every anecdote I shared. I thought, huh! and went back and listened to the chapter (kinda) through their eyes, sharing some more of it with them, and I found myself relaxing a bit more, smiling more.

So I finally warmed up to this collection, I think Irby's third, and actually laughed aloud to it a few times as I went along. She's a comedian who does a blog, BitchesGottaEat, she's written for tv, she grew up poor, she writes about that humorously (and as a former working class kid, appreciated that). She writes about nineties music in sort of insider girlfriend fashion, okay, not my era, fine; she does a couple joke lists such as "Sure, sex if fun, but..." (and lists other things that may be just as fun or more); she writes (always) self-deprecatingly and honestly about various humiliations ("self esteem? I have no self-esteem. Does it sound like a person has self-esteem who has engaged in a sexual act with a guy and a donut?!").

Irby tells about being a "hired gun" writer in LA who got her own office and whose bosses ordered lunch for her. As she says, "I am a person who has picked up dog shit for minimum wage," so she couldn't believe her good luck to be in sunny LA sometimes at arm's length from famous people and being treated with some respect. She writes about publishing her book, a collection of her stuff, but also being essentially "without goals," preferring to sit around and eat carbohydrates than work really hard for anything. . . so she's making connections with a lot of us, relating to us, and yet, you know, she actually has written three books and has a crazy huge following now, having moved from Chicago to marry a woman-with-kids in Kalamazoo.

Irby comes off as (and I believe she is!) a "regular" person, yeah, but she also is now kinda not, being funnier than most people. And sorta more famous than anyone working fourteen years in an animal shelter who wrote most of her first book in the handicapped bathroom has a right to imagine.

I liked it, and will probably not move to another seat the next time I sit next to her at bar. She's funny!
Profile Image for Jonathan K (Max Outlier).
614 reviews117 followers
January 15, 2021
Not at all what I'd hoped. Having read books by female humorists such as Jenny Lawson or Abbi Waxman I was disappointed by Ms. Ibry's approach which seems to be gauged for women. That said, I laughed my arse off with the books by Jenny and Abbi... As a result, I decided against finishing it. As with all things in life, 'each to their own'...
Profile Image for Barbara K..
397 reviews73 followers
July 8, 2020
Oh dear, another book that seems to be highly valued by a lot of readers, but just didn't work for me. Here are my conjectures about why that's the case:

• It took a while for me to realize that I wasn't "getting" a fair amount of the content of these essays simply because I hadn't read Irby's earlier books. That's kind of interesting because when I start in the middle of a crime novel series, I quickly catch on to the overall scope of the principal characters, their lives, and their relationships. Maybe Irby assumes that the people who will buy this most recent book are those who have read her previously and so already know her complete backstory?
• I've always found references to bodily functions unappealing, and in reading this book I learned that is true even if those references stem from Irby's struggles with Crohn's disease.
• A lot of the pop culture references went right over my head. Despite the fact that Irby claims she is out of the loop on such things, I’m clearly even farther out. And the things she’s interested in don’t appeal to me that much. Probably a generational thing.
• I seem to be immune to a lot of contemporary stand up comics, and Irby’s work shares something in common with them.
• Her unrelenting self-deprecation hit me at a gloomy time (COVID among other things) and just kind of bogged me down more.
• I’ve been spoiled for this kind of self-reflective humor writing by David Sedaris.
• I chose the audiobook, and Irby’s just not that good a narrator (see above reference to Sedaris, who is brilliant at it). It got better when I sped up the playback to 1.25 or 1.50, but Irby just doesn't have a natural (or practiced) raconteur's delivery.

Some of the latter essays are better than those at the start, and there are isolated observations that are well presented if not especially original. On that basis I was going to give it 3 stars rather than 2, but when I realized that I can’t really recommend it, I decided it had to be just 2.
Profile Image for Hannah.
591 reviews1,051 followers
August 4, 2020
I adore Samantha Irby. Her humour and the way she structures her essays in a way that seems effortless but surely isn't make her books a joy to read. Her third collection of essays is as good as the ones that came before and it came to me at just the right moment. It got me reading in the middle of a pandemic induced reading slump and made me happy. Irby writes about growing older, body positivity, the internet, imposter syndrome, and many things more in a way that makes these topics approachable and so funny. I hope she keeps on writing these books because I love them.

I received an ARC of this book courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Tara.
630 reviews15 followers
March 4, 2020
This much buzzed about book is a short story collection about the author's life. I'm glad I read it so I can know what all the fuss is about but that's about it. It did have some humorous stories but this book was not for me. It was vulgar, depressing, and just not good. I found her un-movitation not interesting and so much of it was just gross. I wish I could have the time I spent reading it back.

Thank you to Netgalley for the free, advance copy.
Profile Image for Gretchen Rubin.
Author 41 books88.5k followers
May 5, 2020
Hilarious, fascinating. I read the essay "The Worst Friend Date I Ever Had" on The Cut website, and immediately tracked down the book.
Profile Image for CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian.
1,132 reviews1,389 followers
March 7, 2022
Hilarious, real, and poignant. Samantha Irby has a way with self-deprecating humour and brutally honest self-awareness that somehow don't come off as depressing or cynical, but comforting (as in, I'm not the only one!) and genuinely laugh out loud funny. Topics include the perplexities of home ownership, the round about way she got published, friend dates, writing for the TV show Shrill, unsuccessfully trying to sell her own TV show, and Crohn's disease. I loved it!
Profile Image for Krystelle Fitzpatrick.
609 reviews30 followers
December 28, 2020
I’m feeling that I’m very much against the grain and for that I apologise here, but this book was absolutely not for me. I felt like there was a big joke going on that I simply was not privy to, and I missed out on so much. I wanted to enjoy it, but found it repetitive, the jokes a bit stale, and I just didn’t gel with any of the situational humour or much else in it. I was really disappointed by this because so many people who I follow loved it. In summary- wow, no thank you.
Profile Image for Melki.
5,785 reviews2,340 followers
February 1, 2021
Irby is a writer who's been recommended to me by pals who know I love the funny stuff, so when her latest book was thrown in the donation box for my library's book sale, I knew I had to have a look. (Hey - we can't put just anything out at our sale - I consider my perusing this title as a quality check!)

On the whole, I liked it. I'm old enough to be Irby's mama Irby is young enough to be my daughter, so some of her references left me shrugging. She's also very candid . . . about EVERYTHING, and therefore, she may be offering TMI (Too Much Information, for those of you even older than I) for some readers with delicate sensibilities. I didn't find her humor to be laugh-out-loud funny, but she's snerk-worthy to the max.

I'll definitely be reading her other two books . . . even if I have to buy them.
Profile Image for chantel nouseforaname.
628 reviews312 followers
April 6, 2021
I always come back to her work because I want to support her and there’s something about her work that I find endearing and relatable. There’s also something about her work that I find crazy and unbearably neurotic and insipid. Anyway, I ate this in bits and pieces and it some parts were tasty and some parts I could barely digest. If she puts out another one, when she does — I’ll probably read it too! LOL!
Profile Image for Devangana.
75 reviews4 followers
September 24, 2020
Book review ⭐️
Wow, no thank you by Samantha Irby. A book about unsolicited whining. The title is quite apt ‘wow, no thank you’, indeed.

It’s a collection of essays on Samantha Irby’s reflections on her life and experiences till her current age, 39. It’s her ranting and rambling about the ‘joys’ of ageing, the menace of a malfunctioning uterus and gut, the perils of a rapidly diminishing bank balance, the never ending aches and pains, etc. Someone’s bowel movements or lack of are really not my area of interest, if it were I would buy a book on it, preferably by a doctor. I am very appreciative of her attempt to transform the ordinary into funny and fill up 300 pages, however, toilet humour just does not appeal to me. At the same age, I am not the target audience, clearly.

The language of the book is casual, colloquial and very YA, it’s screaming ‘I don’t wanna ever leave my 20s’, there’s not a page without a swear word. At first the book was really annoying, by the end of it, I just felt sad. She’s someone who’s constantly seeking validation and trying to fit in and she does it by being condescending, each to their own, I guess. I am genuinely sorry that she suffers from all these ailments. And, I certainly think she needs to up the hygiene and cleanliness levels.

I have to quite willingly admit, I was absolutely mortified by the book, given the rave reviews. Its not my most enjoyable read, in-fact quite the contrary.

Profile Image for Marjolein (UrlPhantomhive).
2,360 reviews50 followers
September 5, 2020
I am new to reading essays. But everyone around me was reading essays, and completely in line with the essays in this book, I felt like I should try it. You can't have the opinion before you gave it a try. And this one had a cute rabbit on the cover.

It being my first try, I still can't say too much after reading Wow, No Thank You. Am I saying No Thank You specifically towards this book, or are essays just not my thing? It's too early too tell.

I didn't like it. Maybe it's because I am not forty yet and am not married with kids. I thought the essays were at their best when describing maybe the minor things, where she is not just making fun of herself. I was enjoying the later essay more, so maybe I just needed to get used to them. Either way, I think this was not really for me.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Find this and other reviews on my blog https://www.urlphantomhive.com
Profile Image for K.J. Charles.
Author 58 books8,102 followers
March 30, 2021
A fun collection of essays/musings with some excellent gags and a lot of serious stuff conveyed with a light touch. The style is very internet and self deprecating throughout, which is fine in itself but, as very often with essay collections, it starts to feel a bit one-note if you read through rather than dipping in and out. (So dip in and out.)
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