As much as I try my hardest to stay up-to-date with current world affairs, I admit that sometimes pop culture completely passes by me (I actually had to Google what “The Dab” was the other day).
I love comedy, but I shamefully admit that I didn’t really know much about Amy Schumer until my sister went to see her live show in Milwaukee about a year ago. I mean, I know I had heard her name, but I wasn’t all that familiar with her work or her comedy. Since then, however, I’ve become a big fan myself. I mean, what’s not to like about Schumer? She’s really built her career from bottom up, she’s hilarious, she’s a feminist, and she’s tight with Lena Dunham. Therefore, I was obviously ecstatic to get my hands on a copy of her new book, The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo (published by HarperCollins UK).
First of all, there is nothing I appreciate more about a book than if it can make me laugh out loud. I can honestly say that in regards to humor, Schumer’s book is on par with Lindy West’s Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman. I have never laughed so hard and so genuinely while reading a book. What I like about Schumer is that she is authentic– a no-filter, no you-know-whats given kind of woman. She stated at the beginning of her novel that it was not a memoir, but merely a collection of stories detailing her life thus far, and I must say that I agree.
Some of my favorite parts of The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo were Amy’s commentaries on her past diary entries. She literally had me in tears, because in some respects I imagined myself doing the same thing with my own diaries, and therefore I felt like I was equally laughing at myself. Her talent as a comedian truly shines through her writing because she is able to unashamedly poke fun at herself.
I also enjoyed reading about Schumer’s journey to becoming a successful comedian, because it felt extremely relatable– basically the American Dream becoming reality. She was born into a privileged family who lost everything when she was a kid; she worked her way up from the absolute bottom, waitressing while juggling her passion on the side until her passion became her career. She clearly worked hard to get to where she is and it’s refreshing to hear a story from someone who originally came from a similar socioeconomic background.
Finally, alongside the happy, hilarious, go-lucky stories in Schumer’s book, there are equally some very wrenchingly emotional ones. When I wasn’t laughing aloud, I was completely engaged in an entirely different manner. Her chapter about her abusive partner drawing a knife on her had me on the edge of my seat. Her chapter about watching her father soil himself in an airport and at an amusement park was heartbreaking; her chapter about her complicated relationship with her family kind of hit home. I admit, I am actually quite surprised and also a bit shocked that she had the guts to write about a lot of her intimate family issues, because I don’t think I could. Finally, her stance and advocacy for gun control was very inspiring, and I thought it was delicately intertwined with the rest of the book.
As a feminist, and just simply as a woman, I especially admired Schumer’s acknowledgement on body shaming, female pleasure, and sexual assault. As one of her follower’s on Instagram, I see how bombarded she gets by trolls, and how she impressively handles them. She is somewhere between an American size 6 and a size 10 (as she quotes in her book) and represents the average American woman (she also represents me). Schumer is strong, curvy, and beautiful; she knows it, and she’s not afraid or ashamed to flaunt it. We need more people like her in mainstream culture. I equally appreciated her love for sex and orgasms, and her unapologetic attitude towards female sexuality. She jokes a lot about her vagina, and sometimes I found myself thinking, “Am I actually reading this!?” while simultaneously thanking her for the breath of fresh air.
If I did have any criticisms about The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, I’d say it was a bit disjointed and sometimes hard to follow with its seemingly random sequencing. I skimmed over one or two excerpts that didn’t really interest me, or I thought were a bit too long, but overall, I found it to be a great read. I feel that she was able to express her experiences as a woman in a very honest and relieving way. I’ve been through a lot of similar experiences as Schumer, and it was nice to know I’m not alone. The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo is an intricate mix of lighthearted laughs and serious topics; in a way, it not all what I was expecting, but it was pleasantly surprising.
If you are interested in purchasing your own copy of The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo, you can do so by clicking here.
Disclaimer: HarperCollins UK kindly provided me with a complimentary copy of The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo, but all opinions are my own.