This audiobook was another impulse checkout from my library. I’ve never watched a lot of stand-up comedy or Amy Schumer’s show. I never even watched SNL regularly until last November. I did see “Trainwreck” and liked it (although I saw it with my mom, which was a huge mistake. Don’t ever watch that movie with your parents).
I saw this book when it came out and hated the title – why do I care if Schumer has a tramp stamp?
But I was between audiobooks and on Overdrive one day when my library was all “Hey, guess what we just got?” And I impulsively requested it.
I’m really glad I did.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. Schumer narrates it herself and she did as excellent a job narrating it as she did writing it.
There are points in the book that made me laugh out loud, so if you’ve seen a girl walking down the street wearing earbuds suddenly burst out laughing like a crazy person, that was probably yours truly.
But overall, it’s not a funny book. Schumer talks about some seriously messed up issues, both for herself personally, and our society as a whole. And while she’s certainly capable of presenting these issues with humor, she doesn’t always choose to do so.
Schumer really holds nothing back in this book. She says it’s not a memoir because she’s too young to have a memoir, but it really is a memoir. She talks about her childhood, her relationships with her parents and how they’ve evolved over the years, some of her more memorable boyfriends, and her career.
The book is partially a how-to book on getting to the top, which involves the same basic advice everyone provides: work on your craft, work on it some more, and then continue working on it. Oh, and collaborate and get feedback whenever and wherever you can. Then get back to work.
Schumer’s frank descriptions of her boy troubles were hard to listen to, but I appreciated her openness and honesty about it. When I say “boy troubles” I don’t mean “why won’t he call me back?” I mean “why did he feel the need to take my virginity when I was unconscious, when he knew I would have happily given it to him when I was awake?” She tells the story in a very no-nonsense manner and then uses the opportunity to talk about rape, sexual assault, and our society’s mistaken insistence on blaming the victims of sexual assault/denying it’s even a thing.
She did the same thing when relating the story of the boyfriend who nearly killed her. It had all the signs of an abusive relationship, but she didn’t think of herself as the kind of person who would end up in an abusive relationship, so she ignored all the signs until it was almost too late. It was super suspenseful and I was holding my breath the whole time, even knowing she made it out OK because she obviously lived to tell the tale.
Schumer used that as an opportunity to warn everyone about the dangers of abusive relationships and the fact that no one is safe. If you think you’re not the kind of person who would end up in an abusive relationship, you are. It was another example of Schumer’s unwillingness to blame the victim in horrendous situations and I thought she handled it beautifully.
She did the same for gun control. Apparently (I hadn’t heard or didn’t remember this story), a man walked into a movie theater that was showing “Trainwreck” and shot and killed two women. Schumer was heartbroken and uses it as another example of, not just the need for gun control, but the recognition of aspects of our society that actively hate women. Some person (she refused to name him) targeted a movie by a woman, about a woman, for women, for the theater in which he would go and take two innocent lives at gunpoint.
Schumer said she’s used her platform before to promote gun control and she did so again in her book. She said some people have told her she should stick to making jokes, but she refuses. She has a platform and I applaud her for using it for good.
I think the one thing I didn’t like about this book was Schumer’s preoccupation with her weight. There were plenty of times when it was pertinent to the story, but I don’t think you can adequately point out the ridiculousness of society insisting all women remain a certain size, then make jokes about how you eat obscene amounts of food.
I doubt Schumer eats obscene amounts of food, but to say, or even imply, that she does, just provides more ammunition to the people who think it’s OK to ridicule fat people because they presumably have bad habits that lead to them being fat. I know there’s a difference between making fun of yourself and others making fun of you, but there are a lot of people out there who don’t. They’ll see Schumer’s jokes about how much she eats and drinks as an excuse to make fun of her for her size (which, by the way, is not fat).
Finally, I have to give Schumer credit for her lower back tattoo. At the very end she talks about how she made a joke at Mike Tyson’s roast about how it looks like he has a lower back tattoo on his face. Then she admits she was a hypocrite because she has a lower back tattoo. She and her sister made the decision to get the tattoos when they were teenagers, and who hasn’t made a stupid mistake when they were a teenager? It’s completely understandable and made me like Schumer so much more. I just wish I had known that story before I decided not to read the book.
What did you guys read/listen to this week? Anything else that turned out to be much better than you had expected?