I will make fun of myself a lot in this book, but understand I feel good, healthy, strong, and fuckable. I'm not the hottest chick in the room. I would be like the third-hottest bartender at a Dave & Buster's in Cincinnati."
The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer
I chose to read most of Amy Schumer’s The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo while travelling to and from Cape Cod on a wonderful visit with my best friends. Since I was travelling alone I can’t be positive of this, but I have the feeling that I had a smile on my face, occasionally interrupted by a more pensive expression, nearly the entire time that I read this exceptional book. I’m sure that these facial expressions, (in addition to my bulky black laptop bag, which Mary Catherine assured me was not cute), went a long way toward convincing those sitting near me that I was a well-meaning but awkward stranger, which is, in fact, what I was.
A series of essays, lists, journal entries, and meditations on Amy Schumer’s life, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo is very frequently LOL-funny, often inspirational and insightful, and by turns sad or sentimental, without becoming cloying. Schumer covers a gamut of topics, ranging from her family life (her relationships with her parents and siblings, her dad’s battle with MS), to her sexual and romantic experiences, to her drive to be a stand-up comic, to what she would want people to say and do at her funeral.
These are some of the things I love about her book: Schumer is unapologetic about what she believes in, like common-sense gun reform. Second, she’s absolutely clear that while she is able to laugh at herself and the things that she has done, this self-deprecating humor is not an indication of low self-esteem. And third, she shows compassion toward the younger girl she was, the woman she is, and the woman she will be.
A recurring theme in her book is that it's possible to learn from mistakes and appreciate that that growth and evolution help make us who we are; beautiful, complex humans. This was a huge lesson for me, someone who still internally cringes when I remember awkward/insensitive/arrogant things that I’ve said and done. Schumer even includes old journal entries (with 2016 annotations) in her book; can you imagine putting yourself out there like that?
While I am aware that any kind of creative project—autobiographical or otherwise—allows the author to control in some way how they are perceived (by what they tell or don’t tell, how they tell it, what they focus on and omit, etc.), this is how I, as the reader, walked away feeling: that I knew Amy Schumer better and that I could relate to her.
This was a hilarious, moving read.
Perfect If You: Love Amy Schumer, comedy, memoir, coming of age stories, dirty humor; want to celebrate being human
Not Recommended If You: Would rather not read intimate details about Schumer’s life (but if you have watched her show or stand-up, you probably won’t be surprised by some of the things that she includes)
Check Out: Last week’s recommendation on Jessi Klein’s You’ll Grow Out of This; Amy Schumer’s show Inside Amy Schumer; any of the essays written by Klein, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Mindy Kaling.
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