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Wow, No Thank You: Essays (2020)

af Samantha Irby

Andre forfattere: Se andre forfattere sektionen.

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9284122,911 (3.73)16
"Irby is forty, and increasingly uncomfortable in her own skin despite what Inspirational Instagram Infographics have promised her. She has left her job as a receptionist at a veterinary clinic, has published successful books and has been friendzoned by Hollywood, left Chicago, and moved into a house with a garden that requires repairs and know-how with her wife in a Blue town in the middle of a Red state where she now hosts book clubs and makes mason jar salads. This is the bourgeois life of a Hallmark Channel dream. She goes on bad dates with new friends, spends weeks in Los Angeles taking meetings with "tv executives slash amateur astrologers" while being a "cheese fry-eating slightly damp Midwest person," "with neck pain and no cartilage in [her] knees," who still hides past due bills under her pillow. The essays in this collection draw on the raw, hilarious particulars of Irby's new life. Wow, No Thank You is Irby at her most unflinching, riotous, and relatable"--Amazon.com.… (mere)
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BIBLIOGRAPHIC DETAILS
(Print: 3/31/2020; 9780525563488; Vintage; 336 pages)
Audio: 2/2/2021; 9780593170700; Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group; Duration 10:07:34 (10 parts).
(Film: No).

SUMMARY/ EVALUATION:
I doubt that I am the first, or will be the last, person to comment on this, but an unwelcome oh-so-prominently discordant note in this book for me was Ms. Irby's excessively liberal, to the point of compulsive, habit of inserting F***, G*D* and B*tch everywhere; sluffing them off in sentences like so much dandruff. (Sorry, I think the book’s influence is still with me.)
Right now, (apparently in her previous books, her blog, and in this book) though, it is precisely that category of vocabulary that is a large part of her brand, and I suppose, what makes those to whom this book is hilarious, enjoy it so much.
She clearly has an audience, and isn’t likely to leave it, though I do find her clever enough to do so—I mean, she could write and speak interestingly without that. In fact, the book opens with an abundance of it that she couples with vivid descriptions of body functions gone awry, but the second half, that gets to the more interesting stuff about TV writing and book producing has much less of it.
That said, I almost always enjoy a biography (or autobiography): It's always interesting to learn about other people's lives, and this one is no different. I love that Sam, in her non-conformist Aquarian way, can bravely and very successfully make her way in the world despite what sounds like a hideous childhood and an abundantly (un?)fair share of trials and tribulations. She is gutsy, humble, and full on interesting, if not always useful, advice (some delivered, not as advice, but as remedies she has employed, and some delivered as anti-advice). She expresses her self-opinion as being not so bright and not so ambitious but all evidence is to the contrary.
I selected this book during my ‘Goodreads, pick-one-from-every-category nominated Best Books of 2020’ frenzy. I've had it on hold, and then kept postponing delivery for a couple of months until now. I'm pretty sure it was from the "humor" category, the one I am least likely to intentionally browse, because while I do laugh, most things that attempt to be funny, just aren't to me---so if I was supposed to laugh a lot, it’s probably not Ms. Irby's fault that I only chuckled here and there.

AUTHOR / NARRATOR Samantha Irby (2/13/1980). According to Wikipedia, Samantha “is an American comedian, author, and blogger.[1][2] She runs the blog ‘bitches gotta eat’, where she writes posts about her personal life and events.[3] Irby also co-hosted the live lit show Guts and Glory in Chicago with Keith Ecker until 2015, when the show ended its run.[4]
In 2016 FX announced that they had purchased the television rights to Irby's 2013 memoir ‘Meaty’ and her blog, with the intent to adapt them into a series.[5]”
I think only she could narrate this the way she meant it to be heard, and she does a great job.

GENRE:
Autobiography, essays, non-fiction, humor

LOCATIONS:
Chicago, IL; Kalamazoo, MI; Hollywood, CA

TIME FRAME
1980-2020

SUBJECTS:
Night clubs; Sports bars; Bowell dysfunction; Perimenopause; Menstruation; Personal fashion; Lesbians; body care; television production, poverty, home life; home care; childhood; personal finance; African American; Midwest; black authors; self-image; over-weight; daily activities; writing profession

SAMPLE QUOTATION:
From Chapter 1: “Into the Gross”
“We live up the street from a middle school, and children are already on their way home, for fuck’s sake, so I don’t feel bad having six Diet Cokes in a row. I’ll finish my water, but, like, I don’t ever want to be too hydrated. All these magazines tell you how you should really be drinking your weight in water every day, and all these movie stars would have you believe their skin glows because of that water bottle they’re carrying around, and I believe them, but also, why doesn’t anyone ever talk about how much peeing you will have to do? I no longer have a pelvic floor, Jennifer Aniston. I cannot just be gulping down Smartwater with reckless abandon!
After consuming all the liquids I’m going to for the entire day, I settle down to work, which I’m really going to do as soon as I put on a little cream highlighter and blush that no one else is ever going to see. My work: I occasionally write jokes on the Internet for free because I am the last person on Earth who still has a blog. Sometimes I have freelance projects, but there’s nothing right now. No one is going to pay me to write another book about nothing for at least the next two years. Unfortunately, I don’t have anything new or exciting to say online and absolutely zero paying scams, so my heart sinks as it dawns on me that I have gotten up and gotten dressed just to read what other people are saying on Twitter. This is the glamorous life of a writer.”

RATING:
3 stars—but, with me, that’s not that bad of a rating for a “humor” book.

STARTED-FINISHED
2/26/2021-3/3/2021
( )
  TraSea | Apr 29, 2024 |
This seems like an anti-magazine, you know. Although I am starting to like magazines, (I get the sense that she might too, maybe): like people saying ‘this is who I am when I represent beauty, when I’m at my best’, although that’s very visual. This is more like, ‘These are the problems my mind has detected with my health and beauty routine’; it’s very verbal. For someone who’s a queer Black female—a group that obvs has its own problems—I was surprised by how much this sounded like, well, there’s no one “normal norm” for everyone, but like Everygirl, you know…. When you’re religious/ascetic, you think everyone else is out drinking and dancing. I guess it’s more true that everyone is about to go drinking and dancing, but nervously wondering if they can cancel without angering their friends, and whether if they go out they’ll look like shit and get everyone insulting them and telling them that to their face, you know.

People talk about the white light, but even if you just decide to go out and you actually enjoy yourself instead of getting all up in your head and your petty thoughts—that alone, you know. That alone.

…. What’s funny is how Samantha is actually a less wounded/aggressive normie, though. I mean, you take your average person on the internet—I believe in socialism/XYZ/the internet; the purpose of XYZ is to attack people on the internet for not believing XYZ is good (or bad, in the case of the internet). And you ask the average person who’s worse, the XYZ person who’s all, XYZ! And not only that, you’re just a (label); I’m invulnerable and immortal; I’ll never die, although that’s a hellish prospect given the cruel, abusive voice in my head~ or Samantha the comedian, groaning that she had a headache because she went out drinking…. The public will be all (maybe even people who buy Samantha’s book), the immortal girl is better! She’ll never die—she must have bought a diet book! The other bitch went out drinking; she’ll bloat up!…. But I mean: a common grounding technique is to imagine yourself as a tree…. If you just keep reflecting, you’ll be like, Wow, she must really be hurting herself with that abusive voice inside her mind…. I wonder why she would choose to hurt herself with her mind…. Such an interesting question; there must be a scientific explanation ~~It’s like bro: there are NO scientific explanations, sorry to sink the fucking Bismarck on you…. 🧝‍♀️ ….

And I mean, it’s always such a bullshit discussion. Socialists don’t care about socialism or the end of fucking oppression or whatever; they care about their ego, right. The actual specific insults are such place filler bullshit; in the end they’re just saying that they don’t want to be Samantha because she’s vulnerable, you know.

…. And I’m actually surprised people don’t insult me more on the internet just because it’s the internet; it’s a comedy book; it’s like, who insulted me this time, right, although often they didn’t, right. And then they did and it’s like—irritating, although classic. And the reason they don’t respect you is ultimately because you are on the internet, lol; therefore, surely you’re the kwassik internet user…. 👌

…. I feel flattered by how much crappy white music she listens to, you know—more than me, proportionally. I mean, I understand paleface music can be good—lots of alt-y, awkward, thought-y, kinda…. Yeah. I mean, I like it…. It is funny how head-centric comedians are; they always talk about how unphysical they are. It’s funny because the physicists and the scientists and everybody—I mean, they don’t even think fucking Aquinas was brain-oriented, you know. (Hint: he was an egghead.) It’s like, If I don’t agree with you—you’re a soccer player! NOT an intellectual…. And then they’ll repost that meme like: “Religious people are inflexible in their thinking; atheists are flexible in their thinking.” It’s like, Bro—have you ever gotten sick in your life, ever needed a doctor? I guess doctors are, religious, or something…. Right?

Anyway.

…. It’s hilarious her childhood church or whatever decided to call Halloween an “autumn party”, because that’s literally what Samhain is about—it’s about the seasons. I guess the difference is that Samhain is like “thinking about how the seasons play into the meaning of life” and “autumn party” is like “lie to/distract the children—because children are scary! If they disagree, we’ll spontaneously explode/die! Scary!”

Anyway, in general, it’s funny how her take on everyday life is surprisingly (not surprisingly?) negative/disempowered, but it’s funny and fun and not negative because she just seems so unattached to everything, really.

…. Even though she’s a gay Black female and my brother is a straight white man, she kinda reminds me of my brother, because they’re both Gen X. (I used to think of my brother—1980–as an older Millennial, but now I do feel like he’s Gen X.) She’s very relatable…. Almost too relatable. I feel like everyone should have something that other people don’t; fuck all this, ‘my life is bullshit but at least I have nothing At All you can be jealous of, haha, isn’t that great!’, you know. (shrugs) But it’s her style.

But my brother probably wouldn’t see the connection because, although he doesn’t support President Voldemort crap, he probably thinks (subconsciously) that he’s a cross between Frank Capra and and like someone on a morning show with a sorta-good sense of humor, right: because he’s a Taurus, and he’s Irish, you know.

But secretly, they’re pretty similar. Chinese astrology, son: look that shit up. 😎

…. Like, I feel like half (20%) of our national conversation is, If someone is weak and evil and not perfect—sneak up behind them, and shoot them in the back; ~And the other half (80%) is, Don’t ask me to do hard shit, because it’s hard and I’m not good at things and I’m poor and I hate myself and I don’t like it….

~ (detached smoker pic)

…. I think it’s both curious (my sub word for the over-used word “interesting”, when I mean it in a positive and not an ironic way, lol) and understandable that Black people can be happy for their successful white friends, but also think that it’s racism that they’re more successful…. Although certainly Sam makes it easy for the racists in that she uses negative thinking and assumes defeat, right. Not that I don’t know what it’s like to make life easy for my enemies, right—misanthropes, I guess they would be, you know.

…. Normally when I say I won’t read an author again, it’s a euphemism for “thanks for the trauma: I found it growthful—never come to this place again”, right; but this time I mean it pretty much at face value, right—I don’t need more rice. You’d think that if I’m almost only eating eggplant, I’d need more rice than that, but I think these guys gave me like Natura Tormenta Farms’ like, entire annual eggplant harvest, basically, so I’m ok. No more rice…. Incidentally, just to be offensive: isn’t it funny how like, “Spanish” people have yellow rice, and Chinese people sometimes have brown rice? We should deploy the Constitution of America, right: save us from the confusion.

But yeah no more rice; it’s good.

(Japanese samurai on horseback) (puts helmet back on) (indistinctly) And if we meet again, it will be on the battlefield. (rides away)

…. And I know, right: comparing this book to rice—what is the anecdote about the East Asian host who asks if you want more rice before you leave, and you’re supposed to say No, ~right: it’s a bullshit offer; if you say Yes, ~he flips out on you, like, I fed you good food and you fucking want to fill up on cheap rice and shit! You’re insulting me! Fuck you! ~right—I mean, you compare the book to rice, people are just gonna come back at you like, “You just don’t like comedy, maybe”—but it’s not that; some comedy is like the opposite, almost: it can be like over-cooked pasta or something; they just think about it too much, right. They just think and think and what starts out being funny becomes like…. Was it David Sedaris who had that book, like, with the Baroque Gentleman on the cover? (looks up) Yes, but it wasn’t the first edition that was like that…. I mean, that was over-cooked pasta humor, right. Just over-worked. Maybe if I bast it with more thought-particles…. Like the object of the game is to get unfunny New York Times people who everyone respects because they don’t have the balls to hate them, right—you know, the guy who’s like, Oh, my puppet, I could never judge you: not while I feel like this…. But if somebody does some slightly unusual bad thing, so that he can’t relax, you know, not only does he go straight to The Rules, but he doesn’t even do that: he doesn’t say, Okay, the consequence of Bad Action A is Bad Consequence A: have a nice day. Like maybe that’s what the government does in written communication, right: but a quasi-bureaucrat you actually know is gonna be all like, matching the person passive aggression for passive aggression, and ~judging you~, right: and then here you are watching this guy duke it out with somebody and it’s like, Damn, that guy’s so polite…. I never knew he could fucking judge you and damn you to hell, GOD must have put him here, right!…. But, yeah: that’s the guy comedians want to have like their book, at least if it is a BOOK, right, and not a verbal routine; and some comedians almost ARE that guy, you almost can’t tell whether they Are that guy, or whether they honestly believe that they aren’t; they just happen to be One Guy who can talk, That Guy, down from the ledge, right…. Which is also what That Guy thinks about himself: he Never!, knows it’s HIM, right…. But yeah: this book is like the OPPOSITE, dog, and not in a good way: it’s like, Hahaha: I suck: I fail at everything I do and I’m still poor even though I had opportunities and I think I’m not enough and don’t like it when people disagree or aren’t like that…. And isn’t that funny? Isn’t that great?…. And it’s like, No, that’s social work shit, dog.

Because I mean: you KNOW, You Have To Know, you can’t tell me, that you don’t know, that when you’re bragging about how poor you still are and how that’s just the right way to be for you, is to limit everything about your life, starting and ending with money—I mean, that’s how it is for almost everyone, at the very least, poverty = limitation; and you KNOW the the exceptional monk/scholar/scientist who could subsist with two garments and astronaut food as long as he worked for the university—I mean, no. This bitch would be happier with money, dog, if she really thought she deserved it!!!!

And yet she’s bragging about being poor, and you know every social worker reading the book is shaking her/his head like, Damn, add to my case load, motherfucker, just so that your life can be WORSE. Mmm! (pain).

Right? You can’t tell me that’s not true, if you really know social workers who have Any fucking experience of what their field is like, you know.

…. But yeah: there are definitely some assholes of the credentialed variety that make it easy to delusion-respect them and hard to hate or move against them, that like, even Gandhi would hate, you know: he had no time for being bullied by people who thought he had no balls, who thought he didn’t have it in him to just dismiss people’s delusions that they put on you, right. He just wouldn’t literally pick up his walking stick and physically knock them off their feet with it, because he was Gandhi, not Malcolm X. But he wasn’t, I don’t know, (laughs) a collaborator, you know.

…. It’s amusing, almost when people other (verb usage) rich people, not out of some (probably poorly read: how much theory does it take to shout: $2 billion too many, jerk-off!!!!) Marxist thing/Loud Obnoxious Internet Poor Person thing, right, but just LITERALLY: like, Wow, How Can You Be Different: This Is Not Normal/This Is Not What I Do; and it’s like you wanna be that rich person so you can be like—You’re happier with your way? ~No I Hate My Life And Everything About It. ~Well, I also like this better than the other way. ~(nods) (beat) butwhywouldyoudothisthisisnotwhatIdo….

🤦‍♂️

You know: and rich people aren’t ALWAYS different: they’re not 100% the same as poor people, or they’d be poor: some people if you gave them real money would just eat lobster rolls three times a day and give expensive gifts to people in a way that would alienate that person, right: they’d piss away the money, because they don’t think they’re worth it, right: but I wouldn’t do everything that every rich person does for money, and I wouldn’t spend it like every one of them does, right: I wouldn’t get an expensive dog, for example: I would want a (NATURALLY) vegetarian pet, right: takes more guts, because those are the animals that get eaten, but like, the stereotypical rich person dog, that can’t hunt and has no agency, but still eats meat…. Like, look at the number of wolves or whatever the most numerous predator is, right: and compare it to the number of humans—we populate the earth like vegetarian animals; we should eat like vegetarian animals, and keep naturally vegetarian pets, right….

But yeah: if you actually know people that are poor, because you don’t have money, and don’t just read about them in abstract, tells-you-nothing-real-about-them, well-meaning-yet-vicious Marxist propaganda, right…. “I just can’t figure out why they wouldn’t want to be like me.” “You hate your life.” “I know…. But that’s not what I’m talking about.” “BITCH WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT YOU’RE NOT MAKING ANY SENSE.”

Sometimes you just got to call a homie a bitch, right: speak the truth, and speak it in love.

…. And it’s like: “they didn’t realize that I scammed them in petty ways.” You don’t know that. You know they didn’t call the cops—which is good, right. You don’t know that they weren’t thinking of hooking you up with a major break and then said, “I’m going to give it to a chick that doesn’t steal my pasta and crackers”, right. Like, there’s a time to break the rules: and there’s just a way to…. Spew chaos and make the world worse—mostly for yourself, right…. And does it like strike no one as weird that rich-people-are-inherently-greedy, but also…. They don’t watch all their shit compulsively and assume that everyone is always scamming them/stealing from them? That’s like…. ¿

Are people Not people because they’ve done something that, people like? 🫨

Like, feeling that way, makes it better for…. ¿

…. But yeah: it’s modestly interesting. It’s honest.

…. And yeah: I stopped ‘dating online’, because I realized, too, eventually, that people do not care to answer the prompts with actual sentences and words, and do not care if you do, right.

Maybe an astrologer/esotericist could have a chance to set people up on dates, but if you both believed in that sort of thing, you’d already both in a culture together already and you almost wouldn’t need someone to set you up, right. A website, though, it’s like: they don’t delete your profile because you haven’t logged on, for fucking years, just because you haven’t bothered, you know…. And spiritual-dating websites are even more dead than regular ones, right…. But yeah, just having a job where people actually shared some kind of culture or experience/belief sort of thing, right, would be better than the fucking…. But yeah: now I actually don’t think that we should sit down and say, And now we date! ~you know? What are we, peasants trying to keep up the fucking population, right? Look up the population of the earth over time, right; that’s not a good argument, the whole ‘duty’ thing, right….

~But yeah, like meeting someone (even meeting someone), you’d like to go with—only less superlatively positive, and less superlatively unpredictable, this book was like a sort of modestly surprising modestly good, good thing, right.

…. Although I have to say, if you’re going to make a joke that’s like a Fox tweet or whatever, don’t just put ‘JK, JK, JK’, after it, right.

The people who need to know, won’t know.

~Such is life, grasshopper, right.

…. And yeah: setting goals has been kinda one of the training-wheels aspects of my life the way it is for many people, right: and certainly you can over-plan—but I do think you can plan Some things, right. You can’t plan to “fall in love”, but you can plan going into a certain career field, even though you won’t really know what your job will be or how long that will be the right job for you. (I don’t know all the details, and obviously you want to ensure a good transition if you’re in charge of something and you leave, but I remember the cook—I’m not saying he was Rocky, but he was kinda the old tough-American-male who wanted to work the maximum number of years at the same position until he physically could not, right, as like a generational thing, almost: not that we should, like go and intentionally other people like that; but it is funny how they assume they have the answers many times, and tend not to have answers, right—yeah he was talking about the facility’s overall manager who had left, and he said, “She left because she got another job for more money”: and he didn’t quite make it sound like assault and battery, but there was definitely the implication of…. You, ~changed jobs~? For, ~money~? And not because of some improbable movie plot involving your father’s murder or some such shit? Oh man, I feel like the cartoon life decades are over…. ~Sometimes even liberals believe in the cartoon life decades delusion, right? Like that maximum-number-of-years-same-position, tough-American-slugger-no-girls-needed-on-team-USA guy made modestly more money than his modestly less fucked-up son, right—although gimme a fucking break; people still have money, for fuck’s sake—you know, and it’s like…. “No, people are poor now; the cartoon decades were taken from us by wicked capitalism….” It’s like, bro: cartoons were never real, okay. It was cake laced with sleeping agents, bro. They got recalled due to complaints, for fuck’s sake….)

But yeah, having a certain amount of tentative planned-ness, certain penciled-in goals, is I think a good thing. It’s actually kinda my goal these days—in general, I mean, this last week it’s been my goal not to call out of work, basically, since somehow I got near-sick, and also am near-behind on chores and things: like an extra ten minute walk to mail shit, that’ll just have to wait until my body says ok: maybe in a day or two, lol—but it’s my overall goal to find someone to help me form definite goals for myself, lol. (They call that looking for a career counselor. 👌)

But I would never be like—I have no goals; I fail so hard; I hate everything I do: and that’s ok!…. It’s like…. You know, she doesn’t come across as the person who’s equally contented working a dream job and getting rations in a prisoner of war camp or whatever: maybe she should have goals for her normal prosperous sort of successful life, you know: as opposed to a normie kind of…. Sad life, right.

(shrugs)
  goosecap | Apr 29, 2024 |
Kinda messy but I think she’d be happy about that. ( )
  gonzocc | Mar 31, 2024 |
An entertaining collection of essays covering everything from writing, dating, clubbing to general living. My favourite was the one about the importance of the 'mix tape'. ( )
  SarahEBear | Mar 22, 2024 |
Not my cup of tea. Gave up at 30% because I had my fill of secondhand embarrassment for the author, didn't like the writing style, and didn't want to hear any more about her colon.

I really don't know why I put this on my library hold list. I need to be more careful. ( )
  Greenfrog342 | Jan 22, 2024 |
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Ingen

"Irby is forty, and increasingly uncomfortable in her own skin despite what Inspirational Instagram Infographics have promised her. She has left her job as a receptionist at a veterinary clinic, has published successful books and has been friendzoned by Hollywood, left Chicago, and moved into a house with a garden that requires repairs and know-how with her wife in a Blue town in the middle of a Red state where she now hosts book clubs and makes mason jar salads. This is the bourgeois life of a Hallmark Channel dream. She goes on bad dates with new friends, spends weeks in Los Angeles taking meetings with "tv executives slash amateur astrologers" while being a "cheese fry-eating slightly damp Midwest person," "with neck pain and no cartilage in [her] knees," who still hides past due bills under her pillow. The essays in this collection draw on the raw, hilarious particulars of Irby's new life. Wow, No Thank You is Irby at her most unflinching, riotous, and relatable"--Amazon.com.

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