Shrill by Lindy West:
This is no exaggeration, the best book I have read in a literal decade. When I was 19 I discovered Cunt by Inga Muscio and as someone who just left a patriarchal religion behind and was struggling to find the words for how I really felt... Cunt offered me feminism in an approachable yet radical way. Here I am at 29, and Shrill is my Cunt for this phase of my life.
I read excerpts aloud to my partner, often starting with a "Holy shit, listen to this!" and then after sharing I would sit in stunned silence because this was me. These were my experiences. This is exactly how I felt and I now had black and white text to stand next to me in solidarity. Lindy West is "polarizing", sure, but the people who love her are my people. And that's the end of my sappy love letter to an amazing writer. G'bless you girl.
Sex Object by Jessica Valenti:
Have you ever read a book where the writing was so incredible that you felt like you were absorbing the magical words into every fiber of your being... and maybe you should put the book down and write something yourself before the inspiring spell wore off? BUT THEN YOU COULDN'T BECAUSE THE BOOK WAS SO GOOD?!?! No? Fine, it's just me, I understand. Regardless, this book did just that- one chapter after another. Jessica has been writing about feminism for a decade, and this gorgeously crafted memoir is an accurate and meaningful reflection of that.
Sex Object has been described as dark and shocking by many, but the truth is that it simply reflects the deeply misogynistic world we live in which is very much both of those things. Valenti sets reality down in front of us without compromise and I love her for it.
Fat Girl Walking by Brittany Gibbons:
You may have read this already, as it came out last year... but even if so, read it again. Brittany has managed to cover the entire spectrum of life (from body image to mental breakdowns to bankruptcy) in a way that is not only seamless but hysterical. Maybe I didn't identify with every single word... but that doesn't make it any less powerful. We each have our own story. Brittany's is fucking amazing and my life goal is to trick her into being my best friend.
Goddamnit, this world is full of incredible lady writers and they're changing not only my life but our cultural conversations as well. Praise be!
Do you have any "body focused" book recommendations? OR, even better- WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEMOIR? I'm (obviously) currently obsessed with reading other peoples authentic narratives. Give me a few more to pour over please!