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The Witches Are Coming

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In this wickedly funny cultural critique, the author of the critically acclaimed memoir and Hulu series Shrill exposes misogyny in the #MeToo era. THIS IS A WITCH HUNT. WE’RE WITCHES, AND WE’RE HUNTING YOU. From the moment powerful men started falling to the #MeToo movement, the lamentations began: this is feminism gone too far, this is injustice, this is a witch hunt. In The In this wickedly funny cultural critique, the author of the critically acclaimed memoir and Hulu series Shrill exposes misogyny in the #MeToo era. THIS IS A WITCH HUNT. WE’RE WITCHES, AND WE’RE HUNTING YOU. From the moment powerful men started falling to the #MeToo movement, the lamentations began: this is feminism gone too far, this is injustice, this is a witch hunt. In The Witches Are Coming, firebrand author of the New York Times bestselling memoir and now critically acclaimed Hulu TV series Shrill, Lindy West, turns that refrain on its head. You think this is a witch hunt? Fine. You’ve got one. In a laugh-out-loud, incisive cultural critique, West extolls the world-changing magic of truth, urging readers to reckon with dark lies in the heart of the American mythos, and unpacking the complicated, and sometimes tragic, politics of not being a white man in the twenty-first century. She tracks the misogyny and propaganda hidden (or not so hidden) in the media she and her peers devoured growing up, a buffet of distortions, delusions, prejudice, and outright bullsh*t that has allowed white male mediocrity to maintain a death grip on American culture and politics-and that delivered us to this precarious, disorienting moment in history. West writes, “We were just a hair’s breadth from electing America’s first female president to succeed America’s first black president. We weren’t done, but we were doing it. And then, true to form—like the Balrog’s whip catching Gandalf by his little gray bootie, like the husband in a Lifetime movie hissing, ‘If I can’t have you, no one can’—white American voters shoved an incompetent, racist con man into the White House.” We cannot understand how we got here-how the land of the free became Trump’s America—without examining the chasm between who we are and who we think we are, without fact—checking the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and each other. The truth can transform us; there is witchcraft in it. Lindy West turns on the light.


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In this wickedly funny cultural critique, the author of the critically acclaimed memoir and Hulu series Shrill exposes misogyny in the #MeToo era. THIS IS A WITCH HUNT. WE’RE WITCHES, AND WE’RE HUNTING YOU. From the moment powerful men started falling to the #MeToo movement, the lamentations began: this is feminism gone too far, this is injustice, this is a witch hunt. In The In this wickedly funny cultural critique, the author of the critically acclaimed memoir and Hulu series Shrill exposes misogyny in the #MeToo era. THIS IS A WITCH HUNT. WE’RE WITCHES, AND WE’RE HUNTING YOU. From the moment powerful men started falling to the #MeToo movement, the lamentations began: this is feminism gone too far, this is injustice, this is a witch hunt. In The Witches Are Coming, firebrand author of the New York Times bestselling memoir and now critically acclaimed Hulu TV series Shrill, Lindy West, turns that refrain on its head. You think this is a witch hunt? Fine. You’ve got one. In a laugh-out-loud, incisive cultural critique, West extolls the world-changing magic of truth, urging readers to reckon with dark lies in the heart of the American mythos, and unpacking the complicated, and sometimes tragic, politics of not being a white man in the twenty-first century. She tracks the misogyny and propaganda hidden (or not so hidden) in the media she and her peers devoured growing up, a buffet of distortions, delusions, prejudice, and outright bullsh*t that has allowed white male mediocrity to maintain a death grip on American culture and politics-and that delivered us to this precarious, disorienting moment in history. West writes, “We were just a hair’s breadth from electing America’s first female president to succeed America’s first black president. We weren’t done, but we were doing it. And then, true to form—like the Balrog’s whip catching Gandalf by his little gray bootie, like the husband in a Lifetime movie hissing, ‘If I can’t have you, no one can’—white American voters shoved an incompetent, racist con man into the White House.” We cannot understand how we got here-how the land of the free became Trump’s America—without examining the chasm between who we are and who we think we are, without fact—checking the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and each other. The truth can transform us; there is witchcraft in it. Lindy West turns on the light.

30 review for The Witches Are Coming

  1. 4 out of 5

    Emily May

    3 1/2 stars. I did enjoy this one quite a bit. Lindy West is such a funny, insightful person and I literally laughed out loud a good few times while reading this. And, to be honest, it doesn't hurt that I agree with 90% of what she says. But maybe that's a bit of the problem? I felt like this book didn't really say anything new, break any new ground. It's a book that preaches directly to the choir of liberal readers like myself who nod along to the same ideas we've been reading and listening to 3 1/2 stars. I did enjoy this one quite a bit. Lindy West is such a funny, insightful person and I literally laughed out loud a good few times while reading this. And, to be honest, it doesn't hurt that I agree with 90% of what she says. But maybe that's a bit of the problem? I felt like this book didn't really say anything new, break any new ground. It's a book that preaches directly to the choir of liberal readers like myself who nod along to the same ideas we've been reading and listening to for at least the last four years. West covers Harvey Weinstein and #MeToo, Donald Trump, climate change, misogyny, white nationalism, body positivity, abortion... and it felt like a regurgitation of various arguments I've already read. Not just in general, too, but actually from West herself. She said some of the same things in her memoir, Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman, and the abortion chapter basically goes over how she started the #ShoutYourAbortion hashtag and the plot of the pilot episode of the Hulu adaptation of Shrill. The few new additions West brings to the table I found mixed. The Goop chapter was funny because rich white people "detoxifying" themselves generally is quite funny. I don't know if I am just too young to "get" the Adam Sandler critique - West spends a whole chapter deconstructing the plots of his movies - but I wanted to skim that part. And I know this is sacrilege to some, but I was a serious child and never liked South Park so the revelation that the creators are diehard Republicans didn't move me like I think it was supposed to. When other kids were watching South Park, I was watching Dirty Dancing (bad for my romantic expectations; great for my taste in music IMO) so I did fully relate to Penny being the first abortion I ever saw on screen. Thinking about it, I don't know how I'm not more traumatized. One of the more interesting chapters really put something into perspective and it is... chilling. West discusses how people are obsessed with Ted Bundy and his "charm", his "charisma", the "waste of [his] life". He could brutally murder all those women and still the judge who sentenced him clearly wanted to take him for a beer. And yet women like Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren are scrutinised for their likability... are they too cold? Too hysterical? Too damn unlikable? It would be funny if it wasn't so horrifying. I do recommend this book if you haven't already exhausted yourself on the topics listed in the second paragraph. It's a funny cultural critique of everything from nineties movies to the current political climate. Though it's a shame this book will likely never make it into the hands of those who actually need to read it. Facebook | Instagram

  2. 5 out of 5

    Amy Imogene Reads

    "Yes, we are witches, and we're hunting you." What an impressive and readable collection of essays. Lindy West, the author of Shrill, has returned and she's ready to share some facts and clapbacks. I have to be honest, these essays were at times hard to read--not necessarily due to the author, but due to the wounds that they reopened for me. Being a woman in today's world isn't easy, and we're still fighting to be heard. Being a woman in America...yeah, it's rough, especially given the current "Yes, we are witches, and we're hunting you." What an impressive and readable collection of essays. Lindy West, the author of Shrill, has returned and she's ready to share some facts and clapbacks. I have to be honest, these essays were at times hard to read--not necessarily due to the author, but due to the wounds that they reopened for me. Being a woman in today's world isn't easy, and we're still fighting to be heard. Being a woman in America...yeah, it's rough, especially given the current political leader. These essays have receipts. They have anecdotes. And they'll throw you into each and every one of the political turmoils of the now. The title The Witches Are Coming is derived from West's analysis of Trump's frequent use of the phrase "witch hunt." While Trump is determined to use it as a label that is pro-men, West is quick to remind us that witches were always women who spoke out and had agency, and the phrase "witch hunt" has historical roots in female oppression...not the other way around. So for West, yes, the "witches" are coming. And it's time for a reckoning and reclaiming of the term. Also, a side note: the chapter on Adam Sandler is inspiring. I, too, hate Adam Sandler for what he represents. West gets it. You tell 'em, girl. Thank you to Hachette for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    I agree with much of what Lindy West says in her new book, but I can't shake the feeling I had when I read her first book. That feeling is of confusion - why aren't I liking this book better when I agree with a lot of what is being said? In no way am I trying to be judgmental or say the tone of this book is wrong - it's just not my particular style. There were some essays I liked more than others (I also share being mystified by Adam Sandler's popularity), I laughed out loud during the Goop one I agree with much of what Lindy West says in her new book, but I can't shake the feeling I had when I read her first book. That feeling is of confusion - why aren't I liking this book better when I agree with a lot of what is being said? In no way am I trying to be judgmental or say the tone of this book is wrong - it's just not my particular style. There were some essays I liked more than others (I also share being mystified by Adam Sandler's popularity), I laughed out loud during the Goop one (how ridiculous) and the one on Women and how from a young age we are fed though pop culture the way girls behave/act/look and the same for boys. I appreciate how this book opened up my eyes to look at things differently. Certain ways of thinking are just so engrained that it's hard to re-learn what you just absorbed as a child. What I also think is unfortunate is that the part of our population that would benefit greatly from reading this - won't, and the people who agree already share the same opinion and don't really have anywhere to go from here. I guess that's the real problem with our polarized society. We're all just talking (or screaming) into the void and there is no real conversation in the middle. Review Date: 11/17/19 Publication Date: 11/05/19

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lola

    You can’t stop Lindy West. If she has something to say, she will say it, and she won’t apologize for her (very often) unpopular opinion. She’s angry and annoyed and disappointed at the current political climate, and environmental climate, and the overall humanitarian climate. We need to be more compassionate, awake, active, responsible and respectful. It’s true, I agree, and I agree with her writing a book with essays proving what a bad job most of us are doing at being humane human beings. But You can’t stop Lindy West. If she has something to say, she will say it, and she won’t apologize for her (very often) unpopular opinion. She’s angry and annoyed and disappointed at the current political climate, and environmental climate, and the overall humanitarian climate. We need to be more compassionate, awake, active, responsible and respectful. It’s true, I agree, and I agree with her writing a book with essays proving what a bad job most of us are doing at being humane human beings. But I also like that she is able to acknowledge not just our weaknesses but also our qualities. The things that we’re doing well, even if we’re not doing them perfectly. A victory is a victory, however small. The TV show Shrill, based on the author’s nonfiction book, sure is one of those victories. The first season may only have six episodes but I’m making my way through those and it feels so liberating, somehow, to watch a woman in a realistic world that actually feels wholly realistic. No sugar-coating. And yet positive in so many ways. As a 22-year-old Canadian, there are multiple references I didn’t quite get but the facts are less important than what Lindy West has to say about them. Everyone can read an infomercial. Lindy West takes the time to dissect the supposedly true facts in order to detect the problems buried underneath something that is supposedly innocuous. Like Grumpy Cat’s name, Tard (short for r*tard), or Twitter supposedly promoting freedom of speech. What else can I say, Lindy is a badass lady and I hope she lives for a long time because we need her. Blog | Youtube | Twitter | Instagram | Google+ | Bloglovin’

  5. 5 out of 5

    Amir Talai

    It’s absolutely wonderful, as is all of lindys writing. Thought provoking and funny. I devoured it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Racheal

    3.5 stars. I'ma bit conflicted on this onebutI can't bring myself to rate it less than 4 stars because a) I love Lindy West and want her to succeed b) I enjoyed parts of this immensely - there were moments that made me think, moments that made me feel (I got teary-eyed over Guy Fieri for gods sakes). Westwrites in this way that is so chatty and fun and easy to read that I kept having these little fissures of shock every time I remembered that, oh yeah, she's also really fucken smart. So why, 3.5 stars. I'm a bit conflicted on this one but I can't bring myself to rate it less than 4 stars because a) I love Lindy West and want her to succeed b) I enjoyed parts of this immensely - there were moments that made me think, moments that made me feel (I got teary-eyed over Guy Fieri for gods sakes). West writes in this way that is so chatty and fun and easy to read that I kept having these little fissures of shock every time I remembered that, oh yeah, she's also really fucken smart. So why, then, did this not totally rock my world? Why did I find myself wanting to skim through chunks of it?  I think that for me a lot of it felt like a retread. Maybe it's that I've done a lot more reading on various feminist/social issues in the last 3 years since I read and loved Shrill, but there was a lot here that didn't exactly feel new. There are some really quality moments of wisdom, some nice quotable nuggets, and there are several main themes that I would have loved to see expanded (our predilection for turning away from truth and going with the flow, how many people choose to cease growing as they get older, how we are taught it's not cool to care, etc.). But I don't think it was enough for me. I don't need to be convinced that sexism or racism or classism or fatphobia or climate change are a problem. And what's the point of merely stating the problem? What are we here for? Solidarity? Laughs? Those are here, definitely, but doesn't it all just feel a little like... preaching to the choir?  I don't know, maybe I'm expecting or asking for too much, but I wanted something that's more about moving us forward. I kept impatiently thinking "Yes, and..?" Sigh. I don't know. This wasn't bad, by any means. Parts of it were really good! I laughed! I cried! And obviously a lot of people are loving it! I just expected to whole-ass love it when I only actually half-ass did, and I guess I'm a little bummed about it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bon

    Thank you, Netgalley, for an advanced copy for review! I have been reading a ton of feminist literature recently and they were starting to blend together, so I took this nice and slow. This book was fantastic, taking a place for me among the recent feminist literary giants like Feminasty or Good and Mad of the past year or so. Surprisingly, I hadn’t heard of Lindy or her social media storm and other happenings of the past few years, so I went in unbiased, and I was glad for it. Firstly, this Thank you, Netgalley, for an advanced copy for review! I have been reading a ton of feminist literature recently and they were starting to blend together, so I took this nice and slow. This book was fantastic, taking a place for me among the recent feminist literary giants like Feminasty or Good and Mad of the past year or so. Surprisingly, I hadn’t heard of Lindy or her social media storm and other happenings of the past few years, so I went in unbiased, and I was glad for it. Firstly, this book is quotable as heck. For the sake of this being an advanced copy I read, I think I’m not allowed to quote anything, but consider it sufficient to say I want to just print this book on a scroll, walk to public areas, unravel it across the pavement and get up on a soapbox to read it aloud. It’s great. Any chapter would make an excellent oration – in fact, the audiobook version, if being made, will probably be fantastic, just like Feminasty was; some stuff needs snarky enunciation and so forth. The book was written in a great tone for those formats of delivery – alternating internet slang with millennial street lingo with scholarly rhetoric that I want to engrave on something. That exact tone, casual with strong tones of exasperation, made it extremely readable and relatable reading. Lindy covers a lot in this book, a lot that rational women today should be mad about, concerned with, or fighting for actively. Her frank explication of #MeToo, abortions and how they really aren’t the big deal everyone thinks they are, Adam Sandler’s comedy, heck, even GOOP by Gwyneth Paltrow. Lindy’s there with an unvarnished take on most things that have come up in at least my own personal life. Trump is more than hateful rhetoric, she impresses, he is the embodiment and symptom of hate and gross behavior that has grown like a tumor beneath America’s skin for years and years. And climate change. She doesn’t hold back, and she is a native of Seattle, close to where I live, so her no-holds-barred take on how this crisis will affect it specifically hit home for me. As I finished reading, I felt both hopeful and choked-up with frustration, just as Lindy is throughout these pages. We can do something to mitigate climate change, we can choose not to watch South Park or Adam Sandler movies, we can vote Donald Trump out (or impeach him, at this point). I like that Lindy didn’t present a rose-colored glasses vision of anything; her blunt honesty is everything we need, and probably exactly why she was hounded on social media so viciously. Most can’t handle frank truth from feminists, and that’s a fact. But Lindy is hilarious, she makes sense, she is convincing. The witches are coming, and we can join and help them.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Julie Ehlers

    Given the way the last couple years have gone, I expected The Witches Are Coming to be about all of the elements of Trump's America that are relevant to Lindy West's interests: reproductive rights, pussy grabbing, Brett Kavanaugh. And certainly the book is about those things, but it also deals with some unexpected topics: South Park, Joan Rivers, West's husband's audiophile gear swap & sell group on Facebook. West always has a larger point to make, of course, and it's always a good and Given the way the last couple years have gone, I expected The Witches Are Coming to be about all of the elements of Trump's America that are relevant to Lindy West's interests: reproductive rights, pussy grabbing, Brett Kavanaugh. And certainly the book is about those things, but it also deals with some unexpected topics: South Park, Joan Rivers, West's husband's audiophile gear swap & sell group on Facebook. West always has a larger point to make, of course, and it's always a good and relevant point, but it took me a minute to get used to it, that this book is about... just whatever Lindy West feels like writing about. Like Shrill, The Witches Are Coming never fails to be sharp, intelligent, interesting, and funny, but I found myself wishing West would apply her skills to a more sustained work. A nonfiction book that's an in-depth exploration of a single topic, maybe. Or even a novel: West's first love is comedy, and I kept thinking I'd like to see her use it in service of fiction (as she did, to a certain extent, in the Shrill TV series). I just think West's obvious talents could be used for something other than somewhat casual essays on somewhat related topics. Which, I realize, kind of makes it sound as if I didn't like The Witches Are Coming. But I did! The highest compliment I can pay this book is that it makes clear that its author is talented enough to do something even better.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    This was goddamn incredible - a fantastic, funny, insightful clapback of a book. I sometimes incorporate my favorite quotes from a work in a review, but if I did that with The Witches Are Coming, I'd be copying and pasting the whole book. This was my first read from Lindy West, and I was astounded at how much I love her writing. She discusses serious issues here, the most pressing and infuriating issues of our moment, but couches them in brilliant and funny entryways to make them accessible and This was goddamn incredible - a fantastic, funny, insightful clapback of a book. I sometimes incorporate my favorite quotes from a work in a review, but if I did that with The Witches Are Coming, I'd be copying and pasting the whole book. This was my first read from Lindy West, and I was astounded at how much I love her writing. She discusses serious issues here, the most pressing and infuriating issues of our moment, but couches them in brilliant and funny entryways to make them accessible and inarguable to anyone. If your politics are even 20% similar to West, you will be snapping along so hard your fingers will fall off. She discusses how America is intensely allergic to acknowledging when things are wrong through the story of Grumpy Cat's real name or Chip and Joanna Gaines's religious affiliation. She discusses the farcicality of "witch hunts" and shaming "identity politics" by talking about a gear-swapping Facebook group her husband is a part of (trust me, it makes sense when you read it). She discusses online harassment, portrayals of women and abortion in media, the privilege of wellness culture, and so much more. But most importantly, just when you start to get a bit disillusioned with American society, she reminds you that the world is a beautiful place worth saving, that this country is ours and that your beliefs should not be shaken by all the people trying to shake them. You should hold firm in your activism and give a big ol "fuck you" to anyone who laughs at you, paints you as hysterical/angry/unproductive, tries to "trigger" you, harasses you, or tries to turn you standing up for what is right into the punchline of a joke. Thank you for writing this kickass book, Lindy West - when it comes out, I am going to make all my friends and family read it. (Thanks to NetGalley and Hatchette for giving me the privilege of reading this ARC.)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Faith

    “[The accusation of witch hunt] has the power to transform pretty much any credible accusation against a man into an unfair — nay unconstitutional — and unfounded smear campaign.” Doesn’t that ring a bell as we approach the first day of the Trump impeachment hearings? I had never heard of this author, but after reading the blurb and the introduction I was expecting something more serious than this book delivered. I learned after the fact that the author was responsible for a comedy TV series and “[The accusation of witch hunt] has the power to transform pretty much any credible accusation against a man into an unfair — nay unconstitutional — and unfounded smear campaign.” Doesn’t that ring a bell as we approach the first day of the Trump impeachment hearings? I had never heard of this author, but after reading the blurb and the introduction I was expecting something more serious than this book delivered. I learned after the fact that the author was responsible for a comedy TV series and wish that I had known that before I started reading. I also wish I had known this was a series of disjointed essays. While I agree with her take on underlying feminist issues, I didn’t care for her writing style and all the pop culture references. The essay I disliked the most was “Is Adam Sandler Funny?” Really, no one is making you watch Adam Sandler. If you don’t like him, just don’t watch his movies. The author not only watched, but took extensive notes and then wove his transgressions into feminist complaints. The book is preaching to the already converted. I didn’t get the feeling that I was going to learn anything new and I wasn’t being entertained, so I bailed out after 7 essays. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mara

    4-4.5 stars: It hadn't really occurred to me before reading this book, but Lindy West is a critic uniquely suited to reflecting on our current cultural and political moment. Long before the madness of the 2016 election cycle, she built a career on dealing with and reflecting on internet trolls, and in this collection, she does a wonderful job connecting that cycle of bad-faith arguments and impotent rage to pop culture and politics as we currently see them. This book was full of beautifully 4-4.5 stars: It hadn't really occurred to me before reading this book, but Lindy West is a critic uniquely suited to reflecting on our current cultural and political moment. Long before the madness of the 2016 election cycle, she built a career on dealing with and reflecting on internet trolls, and in this collection, she does a wonderful job connecting that cycle of bad-faith arguments and impotent rage to pop culture and politics as we currently see them. This book was full of beautifully distilled lines that captured a feeling or idea that I so often have grasped for in trying to make sense of the world around me-- and this book made me feel less alone and less crazy in that pursuit. I will say this reads a little too much like a blog or online op-ed for my personal taste in essays of this kind, so that is what keeps it from being a full home run, but overall, if you're into the overall project of Lindy West and/or progressive cultural criticism, I think you'll like this.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mari

    4.5 stars Perhaps I was in the exact right mood for this collection on the eve of the new year and the new decade. I found it to be just as compelling and well-written as Shrill. West has a knack for distilling complicated ideas and truths into pieces and parcels that are funny and easily understandable. This was just extremely for me, all of the through lines that connect media and internet trolls and pop-culture and activism and where we failed and where we have hope and the current 4.5 stars Perhaps I was in the exact right mood for this collection on the eve of the new year and the new decade. I found it to be just as compelling and well-written as Shrill. West has a knack for distilling complicated ideas and truths into pieces and parcels that are funny and easily understandable. This was just extremely for me, all of the through lines that connect media and internet trolls and pop-culture and activism and where we failed and where we have hope and the current presidency. In a chapter where she talks about quitting Twitter, I almost nearly just deleted my whole account, which is a big deal because I love that damn cess pool app. I watched West's Shrill on Hulu this year and loved it. I enjoyed hearing pieces about that work, even though they were brief, but more I loved connecting ideas expressed her into West's fictional work. My only quibbles is that I love collections of essays that have a more defined structure. There is a sort of theme here certainly, and the witch hunt thing pops up here and there, but with a bit more of a through-line, this could've been perfect.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Romie

    i'm speechless. this is one of the best non-fiction books i've ever read. i was able to connect to each essay, and because i listened to the audiobook which is narrated by the author herself, i could hear the emotions in her voice. i could hear her anger, her passion, i could hear how much she cares about everything she's telling us. the essay on global warming especially absolutely broke my heart, because it's so obvious how scared she is and it echoed my own fears. know that when i say we need i'm speechless. this is one of the best non-fiction books i've ever read. i was able to connect to each essay, and because i listened to the audiobook which is narrated by the author herself, i could hear the emotions in her voice. i could hear her anger, her passion, i could hear how much she cares about everything she's telling us. the essay on global warming especially absolutely broke my heart, because it's so obvious how scared she is and it echoed my own fears. know that when i say we need more intersectional feminist non-fiction books, i mean books like this one. this was phenomenal. definitely recommend the audiobook. (4.5) “we’ve won this war before, and we will win it again. tomorrow can be the first day. the witches are coming, but not for your life. we’re coming for your lies. we’re coming for your legacy. we’re coming for our future.” thank you libro.fm and hachette books for the audio listening copy

  14. 4 out of 5

    Meghan

    I think this book will have a strong following, it just wasn't for me. I found a lot of the arguments to be very commonly agreed upon in most feminist academia or writings these days, so people who have followed those conversations won't find much new ground here. West is rather far to the left in her personal leanings, which is completely fine, but that means it wouldn't likely reach an audience that hadn't come across these ideas yet either. Basically, it felt like a well written book that's I think this book will have a strong following, it just wasn't for me. I found a lot of the arguments to be very commonly agreed upon in most feminist academia or writings these days, so people who have followed those conversations won't find much new ground here. West is rather far to the left in her personal leanings, which is completely fine, but that means it wouldn't likely reach an audience that hadn't come across these ideas yet either. Basically, it felt like a well written book that's preaching to the choir without moving the conversation forward. There was also a fair amount devoted to Twitter, which is likely interesting to heavy users of the platform, but I am not very interested in that culture personally.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    Parts of this were some of my favorite things she's written, but overall I did like Shrill better, and that's mostly in terms of pure personal enjoyment. This is definitely worth checking out, and her audiobook skills are still great.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    I read Lindy West's book Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman earlier this year and absolutely loved it. I said then, tentatively, that she may be my spirit animal. I say it now confidently - Lindy West IS my spirit animal. I wish that I had half of her intelligence, articulation, and bravery. I read her words, and it's like she's speaking from inside my own head, only smarter, funnier, and with better insight. Her previous book was political, in a 'this is how the world being the way it is has I read Lindy West's book Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman earlier this year and absolutely loved it. I said then, tentatively, that she may be my spirit animal. I say it now confidently - Lindy West IS my spirit animal. I wish that I had half of her intelligence, articulation, and bravery. I read her words, and it's like she's speaking from inside my own head, only smarter, funnier, and with better insight. Her previous book was political, in a 'this is how the world being the way it is has affected and shaped me' kind of way. THIS book is political in a far more direct and searing way, and I needed it right now. I needed the irreverent, scathing criticism, the demand for people get off their asses and actually CARE about something, the direct counter to the "everything is the same, and both sides suck" apathy so many people have lately. As I read this book, I jotted down quite a few notes and quotes in my phone (because I was reading a hardcover edition of this book from the library and there's no note-taking capabilities in these things no matter how many times you long-press the page #oldschool #likeacaveman!) and looking through them, I realize that there's no freaking way that I would be able to include even half of them in anything resembling a coherent review. (As if I wrote those.) But some of them are pure gold. Pg 63: "Likability in a sexist, racist culture is not objective- it's compulsory femininity, the gender binary, invisible labor, whiteness, smallness, sweetness. It's letting them do it.* If someone is universally likable, I don't trust that person. That's the opposite of politics. I don't want a candidate that the alt-right likes. I don't want to have anything in common with George Zimmerman. A person's standard of likability is a reflection of his beliefs, and unfortunately, in this country, a whole lot of people believe that Donald Trump is not a racist shart in an eight-foot tie who is unqualified for literally every job except "lie down." So no, excuse me, we will not play likability anymore. It's an endless runner - a game with no progress and no finish line - that women are expected to chase, that keeps us from doing the real work, accruing the real power." *This is a reference to Donald Trump's "When you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything." comment. Pg 114: "The Trump era has produced a insidious strain of political amnesia, leading otherwise rational left-wing people to feel warm things for George W. Bush because he paints pictures of kitties and shares his gumdrops with Michelle Obama and because a toilet demon is president now and a bungling, babbling warmonger seems like a gorgeous statesman by comparison. (Sheepish disclosure: I briefly fell for the cat paintings.) But how can we forget so much so quickly? My parents literally had toilet paper with George W. Bush's face on it. Don't you remember how you felt before you knew things could get worse?" Pg 123: "The most annoying thing about my husband, Ahamefule, is that he is obsessed with microphones. To be clear, this is also one of the most charming things about him, one of the things I love the most, because that's what love does to you - it scrambles your compass, so that the idiosyncracies you hate with fire and fury become so fucking charming you just want to gobble that person up and then poop them into a baby's cradle and coo over them until the heavens fall into the sea. But that doesn't mean I don't know he's annoying! The thing is that Ahamefule doesn't just love microphones, he needs ME to care about microphones, too. Sometimes, if I ask for a kiss goodnight, he won't give it to me until I can name the three types of microphone, or answer a quiz question about acoustic foam. (Which I can't! We have not kissed in seven years!) Ninety percent of the time, if I am talking about something important, such as world hunger or myself, he is not listening because he's on Microphone Grindr thinking about getting matching towels that say HIS and HERTZ to share with a six-foot XLR cable, his real wife. (A case study: When I texted Ahamefule to get permission to make fun of his microphone addiction in this book so that we can send our children to college, he wrote back, 'Of course. If you showed me a photo of you in a recording booth but your nose was replaced by a nutsack, I would definitely notice the type of microphone first.' A pause, then another text: 'But you have to understand the significance of vibrations that occurred in the air at one point in time being preserved for all time. It is a miraculous human achievement.' Pause. 'It really is.' Pause. "A microphone is one of the most beautiful things in the world.')" Oh man, did I identify with this. HARD. My husband doesn't limit his enthusiasm to microphones though. His passions shift, and whatever the thing of the week is, I will likely hear about it 58242 times a week but tune them out for the sake of our marriage. And my sanity. Not in that order. He has recently been in a sound equipment zone though - and has a basement AND garage AND office full of said sound equipment that he will "rediscover" upon seeing something cool that inspires him, and we'll be off again. He's in a coin collecting fever now. My dining room table is currently covered in stacks of sorted state quarters by design, so that he can go through them looking for valuable ones. This is only the beginning stage. Eagle quarters and all other coins he's been collecting for however long are still unsorted. Wish me luck, people. I may never see the top of my table again. Pg. 196: "Here's an idea: maybe instead of trying to troubleshoot the Nazi factory inside a clown's asshole, we just let it go." Yeah. I loved this book. I loved the commentary, the humor, the relevance. I know that some of the quotes that I posted here are kind of contextless curiosities, but I assure you that they are part of a greater whole that matters and makes sense and inspires hope that maybe the world is not as entirely fucked as it feels right now. If we try. And Lindy inspires me to try. I said it before and I'll say it again. I want to be her when I grow up. (Even though she's only 6 months older than me.) I feel that I have been fangirling fucking HARD, so in the spirit of fair criticism, I did find a typo. Read this book. It's worth it. It's important. And it's damn good. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go broom shopping. :)

  17. 4 out of 5

    Elle Rudy

    “This is a witch hunt. We’re witches, and we’re hunting you.” God, I missed Lindy West. I mean, she didn’t go anywhere and I read Shrill only two months ago and I still haven’t seen the show and she’s written pieces for a dozen or so other media outlets, but I still miiiiiiissed her! While Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman was a lot of West’s own personal life, growth and realizations, The Witches Are Coming examines societal shifts more holistically and offers a ruthlessly necessary cultural “This is a witch hunt. We’re witches, and we’re hunting you.” God, I missed Lindy West. I mean, she didn’t go anywhere and I read Shrill only two months ago and I still haven’t seen the show and she’s written pieces for a dozen or so other media outlets, but I still miiiiiiissed her! While Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman was a lot of West’s own personal life, growth and realizations, The Witches Are Coming examines societal shifts more holistically and offers a ruthlessly necessary cultural critique. If her previous book was in part a crash course on the history of the internet up through the first half of 2016, we’re now taken on a trip through many generation-defining events that have taken place over the past three and a half years. The election of Donald Trump, Brexit, the #MeToo movement—these all have happened in the relatively short but also inexplicably long period since. In addressing not only these happenings, but the inevitable backlash to the backlash, Lindy West provides a thoughtful and well-reasoned examination of subjects that still are too discomfiting to bring up in some ‘polite company’. And she does it all with the same level of cutting humor that you’d come to expect from her work. And, guys, it’s really really funny. I was cracking up over even the chapter titles. Come on, Ted Bundy Was Not Charming—Are You High? That’s fucking classic; I want it embroidered on a pillow or something. And she replicates one of my favorite parts of her last book, which was the reflective look at one the idols of her youth, Howard Stern. But instead of Stern this time, she devotes entire chapters to examining the legacies of comedy legends such as Adam Sandler and Joan Rivers. Even some of the chapter titles, like Is Adam Sandler Funny? , would be enough provocation to set off a pack of furious fanboys to defend his honor, but I beg you all to take the time to read what she’s written. These aren’t hit pieces; the conclusions she reaches are nuanced and even the criticisms aren’t really levied at the performer personally, but at the society that shaped as well as consumed them. Even those who weren’t #blessed with their own chapter received credit where it was due. Ricky Gervais and Louis C.K.’s contributions to comedy aren’t merely tossed aside by a changing world, but they also aren’t immune to being challenged by it. One of the funniest chapters features Gwyneth Paltrow in all her Goopiness and it’s not mocking or glowing in the way we’ve come to expect towards her, but instead is refreshingly giddy and candid. West balances comic whimsy and difficult truths with the same level of deftness as Mary Poppins, disguising the bitterness of medicine with a spoonful of sugar. It really does make it all easier to swallow. Most chapters feature a story from West’s own life, either a hilarious anecdote or a moment of frustration, that is used as a segue into a topic of importance for her. A few are really Trojan Horses that don’t reveal their true nature until further into the piece, but some are upfront about the content for good reason. In What Is an Abortion, Anyway? she discusses not just her own real abortion, but her fictional one as well. Her insistence to include Shrill’s main character, Annie’s, abortion in the pilot was the same determination that birthed the #ShoutYourAbortion movement online. While not as satirical as the other essays, it’s just as sharp and truly beneficial to anyone who considers themselves pro-choice. Real talk, I was so giggly while reading this. My Kindle copy is so full of highlighted passages that if I had done the same thing to a physical copy it would be like 65% highlighter. Her self-awareness makes her so endearing and her biting wit is funny as hell—I just thoroughly enjoyed every bit of this book. The end left me optimistic and with a sense of pending accomplishment, which, yeah, is probably unearned at this stage, but with a clear path forward. I don’t know what else to say; Lindy West left me feeling happy and gave me some hope. *Thanks to Hachette Books & Netgalley for an advance copy!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sahitya

    I haven’t watched the tv show Shrill but I remember reading a little of the book, but I never finished it because it was a time when I used to abandon books midway a lot. But I also remember that I found it very interesting and powerful. So when I saw this book on my Libro.fm list for November, I knew I had to pick it up immediately and I’m so glad I didn’t put it off. As I always like to do, I listened and read this book simultaneously and while it’s a very wonderful book to read, the author’s I haven’t watched the tv show Shrill but I remember reading a little of the book, but I never finished it because it was a time when I used to abandon books midway a lot. But I also remember that I found it very interesting and powerful. So when I saw this book on my Libro.fm list for November, I knew I had to pick it up immediately and I’m so glad I didn’t put it off. As I always like to do, I listened and read this book simultaneously and while it’s a very wonderful book to read, the author’s narration makes it excellent. She is fiery and passionate and brings out all the emotions that she may have felt while writing the book into her narrative voice, and it makes for a very immersive listening experience. Right alongside her, I felt angry and disappointed, I laughed out and I felt motivated. Any book that evokes such strong feelings in us deserves a read. This book is also extremely quotable. I just kept highlighting paragraphs upon paragraphs in my kindle, and I think I could have done that to the whole book. The book is not a single coherent story, it’s more like a collection of essays with each chapter dealing with a different topic that the author deeply resonates with. She is a pro-choice, body positive, feminist writer and is completely unapologetic about her opinions and I admire her so much for it. I particularly loved reading her thoughts on the #MeToo movement, abortion rights, youth activism and women’s anger. But what makes this book special is her no holds barred style of writing. That would probably be considered a good attitude for a man but not a woman, and the author talks extensively about all the ways in which this hypocrisy persists - where men are assumed to be the leaders and risk takers and capable, whereas women have to work doubly hard to prove themselves to be on par while also fighting off impossible expectations of niceness and likability. And whatever topic she is talking about, it’s inevitable that the discussion turns to the current president and she is fearless in her criticism of his policies, as well as the overall destructive platform of the Republicans and their right wing cohorts. And she is also highly critical of the “center” or “apolitical” people as if choosing not to be political in the current climate is in itself not a highly privileged political stance. I could probably write a lot more in my review, but I want to end it right here and ask you to pick this up. Read it, listen to it, it’s your choice but do consume it. It may not talk about things we don’t already know, but sometimes it’s good to get a reminder - especially from someone who hits the nail on the head so articulately and without holding herself back. And as a fat woman, I admire the author even more for sticking up for her principles in the face of unimaginable trolling and threats. It’s an extremely well written and narrated book and I highly recommend it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    It's weird to know you're going to recommend this book, even when you have reservations about it. Perhaps I've never really connected with West the way others have -- Shrill wasn't my favorite -- and perhaps I'm spoiled by having read and loved Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion which was far more challenging to me as a reader, feminist, and white woman in middle America. Sure, this digs into today's political climate, but it does so in a way that explores entertainment that today's It's weird to know you're going to recommend this book, even when you have reservations about it. Perhaps I've never really connected with West the way others have -- Shrill wasn't my favorite -- and perhaps I'm spoiled by having read and loved Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion which was far more challenging to me as a reader, feminist, and white woman in middle America. Sure, this digs into today's political climate, but it does so in a way that explores entertainment that today's adults grew up with. Of course, I'm not surprised Adam Sandler movies are terrible (I went on a "date" once with a guy to see The Water Boy and didn't think it was funny then). I'm not surprised South Park is terrible. How this all connects to our current social climate isn't surprising. What did surprise me was that there wasn't a through line here. That through line? The internet, blogs, social media, etc. We didn't have the means to talk about these things in a hyperconnected way when we were younger. We (and when I say "we" here, I mean cis white people) didn't have the language to tear these things apart and we didn't have tools and means to become witches to torch it down. Why look back at them now and try to take inventory? It didn't quite make sense to me, given that there's more than enough to sink teeth into now. It's not bad in any way. I just think I'm at a different place in my thinking and activism and need for making the world better than West is. And that's okay! Plenty of readers will love this, and I'm going to let them enjoy it. But for me? I'm going to be waiting for the next Jia Tolentino book, as opposed to the next West title.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Laura • lauralovestoread

    3.75 stars!! “This is a witch hunt. We’re witches and we’re hunting you.” I am hitting the Nonfiction November stride! I really hadn’t read much by Lindy West before, but her larger than life personality came across so vividly in these essays, and she covered so much. From thoughts on South Park and Adam Sandler, jalapeño bagels with cream cheese and cayenne (which sound amazing by the way..) to deeper issues with the #metoo movement, climate change, President Donald Trump, and abortion. I gained 3.75 stars!! “This is a witch hunt. We’re witches and we’re hunting you.” I am hitting the Nonfiction November stride! I really hadn’t read much by Lindy West before, but her larger than life personality came across so vividly in these essays, and she covered so much. From thoughts on South Park and Adam Sandler, jalapeño bagels with cream cheese and cayenne (which sound amazing by the way..) to deeper issues with the #metoo movement, climate change, President Donald Trump, and abortion. I gained insight and perspective but I also felt like I was being scolded. *Thank you to Hachette, Hachette Audio and libro.fm for my gifted physical copy and audiobook in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own

  21. 5 out of 5

    Robin Bonne

    Lindy West puts my complex feelings about the current political climate into words.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Obsidian

    Well I don't know how to talk about this collection of essays by Lindy West. She does a great job of discussing and analyzing key moments over the past couple of years (the election of Donald Trump, the rise of the left, feminism, etc.) She also manages to make you laugh and at times want to throw hands at people because of the things that are going on and how many people seem to be turning a blind eye to things. Since this is an essay collection, I am just going to comment on the ones that Well I don't know how to talk about this collection of essays by Lindy West. She does a great job of discussing and analyzing key moments over the past couple of years (the election of Donald Trump, the rise of the left, feminism, etc.) She also manages to make you laugh and at times want to throw hands at people because of the things that are going on and how many people seem to be turning a blind eye to things. Since this is an essay collection, I am just going to comment on the ones that touched me the most while reading. Introduction: They Let You Do It (5 stars)-West starts off with a bang here. She goes into how a man her husband meets is all up in arms that now he can't just you know touch a woman without her permission. Good on her husband for not kneeing these tool. She then goes straight for how some of the American public ignored Donald Trump's statements about women and sexual assault prior to him being elected as President. And laments how close we came to our first woman President, but we as a nation don't seem to be there yet. "Donald Trump is rape culture's blathering id, and just a few days after the Access Hollywood tape dropped, then Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton (who, no doubt, has just as many man-made scars as the rest of us) was required to stand next to him on a stage for presidential debate and remain unflappable while being held to an astronomically higher standard and pretend that he was her equal while his followers persisted in howling that sexism is a feminist myth." Choosing the Lie (4 stars)-West goes in on the curious case of Grumpy Cat and what his owners really called him and how for the most part the American public seems okay with being lied to, but only certain lies. She contrasts this with the rise of Milo Yiannopoulos and his working alongside white nationalists (call them Nazis!) and how when it came out that he was okay with sexual relationships between thirteen year old boys and adult men, he got dropped with the quickness by his publisher. But think about all of the lies that Milo and his ilk have pushed out (remember Comet Pizza, Hillary really apparently partying with Satanists? Or was that her campaign manager? I can't even talk about these dumb conspiracies anymore, except the fact that we are now having impeachment hearings because the President is a freaking 4chan thread come to life and decided to go with Ukraine was behind election interference and not Russia). Ted Bundy Was Not Charming--Are you High? (5 stars)-West touches upon women's fascination with true crime. And hits upon why I read it, it's like a whose who about bad things that can happen to you as a woman and therefore you prepare. My friend from work once told me she got really paranoid when she was pregnant that her husuband was goign to murder her cause according to Dateline stories, this seems to happen a lot. I thought it was great though that West slaps down that crap about how great Ted Bundy was, he was an average looking white man who used the time and place and how women were raised (be nice, be helpful, etc) to lure his victims who he murdered. Always Meet Your Heroes (3.5 stars)-This is still a favorite, though I am fascinated by West being into Guy Fieri. I think if I ever met him in real life I would try to smother him. But I thought it was great she touched upon the rise of Chip and Joanna Gaines and how everyone gave them a past for belonging to a megachurch that was not pro LGBT. Joan-(5 stars)-West goes into Joan Rivers and the contrasts she was pushing. She beat down on anyone outside of Hollywood norms, but desperately wanted more for herself. She wanted to be one of the boys, but didn't do a lot to help anyone else up. However, it's an interesting look at when she started in comedy and how the boys club mentality seemed to influence her all of her life. What is an Abortion Anyway (5 stars)-Just read it. Anger is a Weapon (5 stars)-West touches upon the terribleness with the Kavanaugh hearing and also Harvey Weinstein. She gets into women's anger, the metoo movement, and also the men's right movement (ya'll stay exhausting). Tomorrow is the First Day (5 stars)-The last essay in the collection with West reflecting on things and how we need to decide now who we are going to be after Donald Trump is out of office. Are we going to be witches? Are we going to push for our future?

  23. 4 out of 5

    BookOfCinz

    Only 2.6% of construction workers are female. We did not install that glass ceiling, and it is not our responsibility to demolish it/ Having read and enjoyed Lindy West's Shrill , which was then made into a Hulu series and I absolutely loved it, I could not wait to read her second collection The Witches Are Coming . In true West fashion, she held nothing back, I found myself laughing out loud, nodding in agreement and getting riled TF up. West talks about everything from Trump, to Twitter, to Only 2.6% of construction workers are female. We did not install that glass ceiling, and it is not our responsibility to demolish it/ Having read and enjoyed Lindy West's Shrill , which was then made into a Hulu series and I absolutely loved it, I could not wait to read her second collection The Witches Are Coming . In true West fashion, she held nothing back, I found myself laughing out loud, nodding in agreement and getting riled TF up. West talks about everything from Trump, to Twitter, to getting Shrill made into a series, abortion, how to be a girl, she picks apart todays culture and the things we are being fed and society would like us to believe. While I did enjoy the collection, there was one thing that I could not get pass and that is West's lack of respect and awe for dresses with pockets. I cannot stand by as someone debase a thing that makes me so happy. (Totally kidding.... not really kidding but....). Other than that, this was a solid collection of essays, my only real drawback was the theme of the "Witches are coming" was explored more or more seamlessly. A riot of a read, filled with a lot of teachable moments. You catch more flies with honey," Well I don't want flies. The most likeable woman in the world is crawling with fucking flies"

  24. 5 out of 5

    Hanna

    3.5 ’s to be exact. Lindy West is just as funny and smart as ever in her second book of essays, The Witches are Coming. She covers topics ranging from Adam Sandler movies, serial killers, internet trolls, and Guys Grocery Games and discusses all of their connections (or respective places) within our current political climate. That being said, I found myself thinking some of the connections (particularly in the middle part of the book) to feel weak. Like either the connections weren’t strong 3.5 ⭐️’s to be exact. Lindy West is just as funny and smart as ever in her second book of essays, The Witches are Coming. She covers topics ranging from Adam Sandler movies, serial killers, internet trolls, and Guys Grocery Games and discusses all of their connections (or respective places) within our current political climate. That being said, I found myself thinking some of the connections (particularly in the middle part of the book) to feel weak. Like either the connections weren’t strong enough, or the idea wasn’t deep enough for the bridge to make sense. Like all essay collections, this one was full of hit or miss essays, my faves were “Is Adam Sandler Funny,” “Ted Bundy Was Not Charming — Are You High?,” “Leave Hell to the Devils,” and “What is an Abortion, Anyway?” If you’re looking for solutions to our current societal problems (aside from basically “be the change”) this might not be your jam, BUT if you’re looking for a book that feels like talking shit and bonding over/through the bullshit with a very cool, funny, and smart friend, this is a worthwhile read!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Laura Noggle

    Witty and sharp. *Might* have to give Hulu’s Shrill another chance. “The reality is that there's no such thing as political correctness; it's a rhetorical device to depersonalize oppression. Being cognizant of and careful with historic trauma of others is what 'political correctness' means. It means that the powerful should never attack the disempowered—not because it 'offends' them or hurts their 'feelings' but because it perpetuates toxic, oppressive systems.” “There's a type of person who Witty and sharp. *Might* have to give Hulu’s Shrill another chance. “The reality is that there's no such thing as political correctness; it's a rhetorical device to depersonalize oppression. Being cognizant of and careful with historic trauma of others is what 'political correctness' means. It means that the powerful should never attack the disempowered—not because it 'offends' them or hurts their 'feelings' but because it perpetuates toxic, oppressive systems.” “There's a type of person who thinks he's getting away with something by not believing in anything. But not believing in anything IS believing in something. It's active, not passive. To believe in nothing is to change nothing. It means you're endorsing the present, and the present is a horror [...] Irreverence is the ultimate luxury item.”

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    I'm quitting this book, something I rarely do. I can't even bring myself to hate-read the rest of the way. I tried the intro and six essays. It's awful. She laid out such an interesting premise in her intro (and in the book title) and then immediately lost it in favor of fake-woke criticisms of everything and everyone but herself. Is there a guilty pleasure you enjoy? She probably shat on it in one of these essays! And she's not even funny! No more West for me.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Neville Longbottom

    4.5 - I really enjoyed this collection of essays from Lindy West. She’s able to write about serious topics like sexism, harassment, online trolls, abortions, and so on with an amazing sense of humor but also great sensitivity. She blends pop culture and politics together in a really digestible way. However, occasionally this felt a little disjointed, like everything didn’t quite fit together as a cohesive collection. These days certain Republicans, white supremacists, and some predatory men have 4.5 - I really enjoyed this collection of essays from Lindy West. She’s able to write about serious topics like sexism, harassment, online trolls, abortions, and so on with an amazing sense of humor but also great sensitivity. She blends pop culture and politics together in a really digestible way. However, occasionally this felt a little disjointed, like everything didn’t quite fit together as a cohesive collection. These days certain Republicans, white supremacists, and some predatory men have taken to calling the movements against them as being “witch hunts.” That’s not a good analogy for them since witch hunts were typically enacted against groups that were not in power. But in this collection Lindy West has essentially said something along the lines of, “yeah, we’re witches and we’re hunting you, what of it?” P.S. I’m drunk so I might come back and spruce up this review later 😅

  28. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    I could go on and on about how much I love this book, and why, and so forth. But to save everyone the time I’ll just say, I almost finished this in a weekend. I laughed out loud. I nodded grimly throughout. West goes off the rails a little bit sometimes, but she always brings her argument back to center. This is the book that doesn’t mince words about what it means to be a woman in 2019 America. Check out my notes and highlights for more. See more of my reviews: Blog // Instagram

  29. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    In her second essay collection, West scorches Trump, Adam Sandler, South Park, internet trolls and more. Scratch that: to call this an essay collection is an insult to Ellen Willis. I have not read Shrill (though I was charmed by the Hulu series), but it must have been better than this. West's writing is facile and undisciplined. Even in the strongest piece, a takedown of Trey Parker and Matt Stone, she can't help but misrepresent the men's views. She is clueless about pop culture, believing In her second essay collection, West scorches Trump, Adam Sandler, South Park, internet trolls and more. Scratch that: to call this an essay collection is an insult to Ellen Willis. I have not read Shrill (though I was charmed by the Hulu series), but it must have been better than this. West's writing is facile and undisciplined. Even in the strongest piece, a takedown of Trey Parker and Matt Stone, she can't help but misrepresent the men's views. She is clueless about pop culture, believing that, say, Weird Science is another brick in the sexism wall rather than a silly depiction of a juvenile male fantasy come true. Most irritating is her selective sensitivity; she evaluates abortion with the utmost care but twice thoughtlessly equates stuttering with weakness, for which she can go to hell by a short road, as far as this disfluent reader is concerned. Thank you to NetGalley and Hachette Books for the ARC in exchange for this review.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Misha

    This book was just what I needed. Smart, funny, insightful, unflinching. I appreciate West's moral interrogation of pop culture, toxic masculinity, sexism, racism, and America's historical (and current) amnesia. "When faced with a choice between an incriminating truth or a flattering lie, America's ruling class has been choosing the lie for four hundred years. White Americans hunger for plausible deniability and swaddle themselves in it and always have--for the sublime relief of deferred This book was just what I needed. Smart, funny, insightful, unflinching. I appreciate West's moral interrogation of pop culture, toxic masculinity, sexism, racism, and America's historical (and current) amnesia. "When faced with a choice between an incriminating truth or a flattering lie, America's ruling class has been choosing the lie for four hundred years. White Americans hunger for plausible deniability and swaddle themselves in it and always have--for the sublime relief of deferred responsibility, the soft violence of willful ignorance, the barbaric fiction of rugged individualism. The worst among us have deployed it to seduce and herd the vast, complacent center: It's okay. You didn't do anything wrong. You earned everything you have. Benefiting from genocide is fine if it was a long time ago. The scientists will figure out climate change. The cat's name is Tardar Sauce." (34) "Chasing likability has been one of women's biggest setbacks, by design. I don't know that rejecting likability gets us anywhere, but I know that embracing it has gotten us nowhere. ... Someone will always pop up to say, 'You would be more effective if you were nicer.' 'You would have a more receptive audience if you adjusted your tone.' 'You catch more flies with honey.' Well, I don't want flies. The most likable woman in the world is crawling with fucking flies." (64) "Both sides, inasmuch as there are two 'sides,' are not equally stupid or equally bad. The notion that they are is human-extinction-level dangerous. Maybe it took you until Donald Trump started tearing children from their parents and then LOSING THEM like he's fucking Andy Capp looking for his kets to notice that Republicans have slightly different priorities than even fully starfished, middle-of-the-bed centrist Democrats, and that's fine. We are all in process. But at this point, when we have maybe thirty more years (if we're lucky) before there is no more ice and many people on the right are over here calling for a RETURN TO MOTHERFUCKING COAL, and you're still smirking at the libs for being try-hard, bleeding-heart "social justice warriors" because we want our grandchildren to experience, I don't know, fish, then you have crossed the threshold from kicky contrarian into fully detached-from-reality genocidal psychopath." (109-110) "By 2019, the far Right's unflagging message that it alone is the steward of the 'real' America--and the Democrats are the party of venality, of snobbery, of self-interest cynically masked as beneficence--has come to full fruition, its ultimate purpose revealed: to justify the stigmatization of care itself. It's not just caring about the environment that's effeminate and therefore despicable, it's caring about anything. It's care. If you train people to scoff at community and stewardship--at tending to the needs of others, yes, but also at advocating for oneself--you can do whatever you want to them and they will not complain. You can strip away their ability to earn a living wage, to send their kids to college, to retire. You can undermine their most sacred values. You can allow children to be massacred, and they'll weep for the guns. This is toxic masculinity at its most pitiful. How sad--and I don't mean that with disgust, it is truly, profoundly sad-- to let us die because you've been taught that wanting not to die is cowardice; that vulnerability is weakness; that anything short of charging into the increasingly brief future, assault rifle blazing, exhaust belching, with half-chewed feedlot steak falling out of your mouth, constitutes some sort of romantic tongue kiss with a perfect male figure skater, and that a romantic tongue kiss with a perfect male figure skater would be something worth genociding the planet to avoid. How did we let it get this bad?" (237-8) "The term political correctness (much like the slimy pro-life) is a right-wing neologism, a tactical bending of reality, an attempt to colonize the playing field, a bluff to lure dupes into dignifying propaganda. True to form, the credulous Left adopted it wholesale in the early nineties--PCU was very much of the zeitgeist--electively embroiling us in three decades of bad-faith 'debate' over whether discouraging white people from using racial slurs constitutes government censorship. Of course it doesn't. Debate over. Treating anti-PC arguments as anything but a bad-faith distraction props up the lie that it is somehow unfair to identify and point out racism, let alone fight to eradicate it. Pointing out and fighting to eradicate racism is how we build the racism-free world that all but racists profess to want. ...But the reality is that there's no such thing as political correctness; it's a rhetorical device to depersonalize oppression." (244) "The problem with America is that we refuse to look at the problem with America." (249) "The witches are coming, but not for your life. We're coming for your lies. We're coming for your legacy. We're coming for our future." (259)

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