Watched SHRILL? Read these books next!
Hulu’s latest piece of original programming is Shrill, starring SNL cast member Aidy Bryant. Loosely adapted from the 2017 memoir of the same name by Lindy West, Shrill follows the adventures of Annie, a woman who is just living her life while fat. Like West’s book, the television show challenges conventional ideas and beliefs about women and bodies and women’s bodies, all told with a biting humor that makes you both laugh and cry.
At only six episodes, Shrill is going to leave you wanting more. So until a second season (hopefully) comes along, we have a complete list of Shrill readalikes to read in the meantime. Here are some of my personal favorites:
Along with writing this frank, funny and edgy collection of essays, Irby also served as a writer on Shrill (episode 4, the one with the pool party which was probably my favorite episode of the whole season). I am not one who literally LOLs, but both Meaty and her second book We Are Never Meeting in Real Life had me literally laughing out loud. No topic is off-limits for Irby, and she finds the humor in the most mundane situations. I highly, highly recommend these titles on audiobook, which Irby narrates herself.
In this follow-up to her 2015 book Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls, Baker shares her own deeply personal story about being a fat woman in today’s society. From the pressures of dating, to finding out you didn’t really grow up fat like you remember, to rejecting diet culture and rejecting insults, Baker lays it all out there.
Honest and raw, Hunger is a difficult read. It’s meant to be. Gay holds nothing back in this collection of essays that explore her relationship with her body. The good, the bad, and the ugly. And most of it is bad and ugly, but Gay tells it in that breathtaking way that she always does. It’s clear that for most of her life, Gay has felt uncomfortable in her body and we, as readers, are forced to sit in that discomfort with her. Hunger truly is a remarkable book.
Taylor champions the idea of radical self-love. Going beyond just self-confidence and self-esteem, radical self-love is about so much more than just accepting ourselves as we are. It’s about transcending all of that and transforming how we view ourselves. As shown in Shrill, refusing to acquiesce to society’s pressures regarding looks really is a very radical notion.
Lindy West is a very outspoken supporter of reproductive rights. She discusses her own experiences in Shrill and the television show doesn’t shy away from the topic either. In Make Trouble, Planned Parenthood president Richards discusses navigating the world as an outspoken advocate for women’s rights, starting back in childhood when she watched her mother Ann Richards lead the charge as governor of Texas.
The title essay in this collection tells the story of a party Solnit attended about ten years ago with her friend. At the party, a male guest found out that Solnit had written a book about Eadweard Muybridge and goes on to ask if Solnit had heard about the “very important” Muybridge book that recently came out. He then proceeds to explain to Solnit all about this very important book, taking it upon himself to educate her on a subject she knows very well. The problem was, the book that he was lecturing on about was the same one that Solnit wrote. When her friend attempts to interrupt him and tell him this, he just continues talking over her. While Solnit admits that she did not coin the term “mansplaining” and rarely uses it herself, this essay was the inspiration for the phrase.
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