Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby

Back when I had feelings, my self-esteem was a toilet. It caused me actual physical pain to know that someone didn't like me. I mean, it still does, but I'm better insulated by drugs these days. A handy trick is to think long and hard about what the person who hates you would realistically add to your life if they were actually to be a part of it. Most people really do have absolutely nothing to offer you. Pull out the abacus and make a pros and cons list if you have to—I'll wait. If you require a push to get started, here's an example from a recent entry in my diary about some asshole I don't miss anymore:

pro: once made me laugh at a dad joke

~pp. 73-74

OK, so up front you can see that when I use the word "rude" in the following paragraph about Wow, No Thank You, swear words are among the things I'm referring to (um . . . crude fits in there, too, but it's what Samantha Irby is known for, so either you want to read the book or you don't).

First, in case you missed the word "essays", this is a book of essays about author Samantha Irby's life. Anything is game. She writes about her childhood, the friends who helped her survive after her parents died, the places she lived and the people she lived with, her many jobs, the people she dated (Irby is bisexual) and life with a woman who has two children of her own.

I know I've mentioned this before, but I love that cover. I love, love, love that cover. Apple green is my favorite color and it's just a tad darker than my favorite so the color alone grabbed me and then the image of the bunny looking awkward and adorable . . . well, I had to know what it was about. I'd never heard of Samantha Irby, a memoirist and comedian, but I enjoy humorous essays and the one thing everyone said about Wow, No Thank You was: "It's funny."

I love a book that makes me laugh but it's even more important to laugh when you're on lockdown in the middle of a plague, people are rioting, and it seems like nobody's actually doing anything concrete to stop the virus (and some are also against calling a halt to racism), then once they start letting people loose they don't bother to mandate the damn masks to try to stop coughs and sneezes at the source, instead letting people go right ahead and spread the virus at will so more people can die because a small percentage of whiners can't be bothered to put a piece of cloth over their nose and mouth to help stop people from dying. I mean, who doesn't need a laugh, right now?

I, for one, needed this book. It's crude, yes. There's talk of body parts and the author's sex life and her Crohn's disease. So, sometimes it can be a little gross or shocking, but even then it's entertaining. Samantha Irby is genuinely funny. I love her writing style. My absolute favorite essay is "Detachment Parenting" about what it's like to live in a house with two children and have to interact with them while not totally claiming them as your own.

Side note: I had no idea the author was black and/or bisexual when I bought the book. I bought it purely on the basis of the words, "It's funny." But what timing! It wasn't until 3 or 4 days after I finished the book that I realized, "Hey, black author! LGBTQ! Pride month!" What's funny about that is that, of course, I've been reading about this black woman who dated both men and women while people are passing around lists of books by People of Color and stacks of books for Pride month and even while I was reading it, I was looking around at my stacks, thinking I needed to find something to read for Pride month and needed to buy some books by POC. While I was reading something that fit the requirements for both. Sometimes I think my mother dropped me on my head as a baby.

Highly recommended - Whip-smart, hilarious, and quite rude. Just what I needed to read during a year like 2020. I love Samantha Irby's self-deprecating sense of humor. Also, I'm convinced that we could be the best of friends because of our mutual love of black licorice, cats, and books. She's a lot more interesting than I am, though, so maybe not.

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