MEATY: A Strange, Uncomfortable, and Valuable Journey


MEATY coverEssays

By: Samantha Irby
Narrator: Samantha Irby

PRHA Audio: Random House Audio
Genre: Humor – Form – Essays
Release Date: April 03, 2018
7 Hours and 40 Minutes

I voluntarily reviewed an advance readers copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.

Smart, edgy, hilarious, and unabashedly raunchy New York Times bestselling author Samantha Irby explodes off the printed page in her uproarious first collection of essays. 

Irby laughs her way through tragicomic mishaps, neuroses, and taboos as she struggles through adulthood: chin hairs, depression, bad sex, failed relationships, masturbation, taco feasts, inflammatory bowel disease and more. Updated with her favorite Instagramable, couch-friendly recipes, this much-beloved romp is treat for anyone in dire need of Irby’s infamous, scathing wit and poignant candor.


My Take Oblong Shaped

Not knowing anything about Samantha Irby, at first I found the book and narration off-putting, but in just a little while  realized her raw style of story telling perfectly fit the story she had to tell.  I have spent most of my life with an “intestinal complaint” and until I understood it, I spent most of my life being ashamed of something about my body over which I had no control.   As my husband once said, in sympathy, “You’re either in the bathroom or looking for a bathroom.” Her story: her parent’s illnesses and deaths, her difficulties in getting an education, her struggles to raise herself as her mother deteriorated, is sad, and poignant, but it sure as hell ain’t pretty. 

And, that is where the value of the book: Irby gets into all the little places we never go willingly, never discuss in polite company.  And, she pulls no punches. Like Irby, I swear  a lot, but even then, I was a little uncomfortable.  This is definitely an audiobook you would listen to with headphones in any public space unless you want to raise eyebrows.

This book will make you uncomfortable about poverty and medical treatment in America, about fat shaming, shame about sex, about sexual orientation, about sex in general, about the education system in America.  Irby doesn’t attack race relations as much as I thought she might, she doesn’t put blame for her life’s issues there, even though race would certainly have played a huge part there.

As a white woman, it can be, should be, uncomfortable to have the privilege accorded me because of my race pointed out.  The way Samantha Irby’s mother passed resonated deeply with me, the doctors did the same thing 56 years ago with my Italian grandmother; claiming it was a mercy. And at that point in listening to the book, race did not matter, Samantha Irby’s story is simply the human story: we live, we die, and shit, usually a lot of it, happens.

Another thing, the stuff Irby lived through, continues to live through, the Crohn’s disease, the working so many hours for little, the way she is treated by men (apparently she has since come out and is happily married) doesn’t destroy her.  She lives  through it, she writes it and does more than survive it she beats it back everyday. 

Irby is probably not the best narrator on the planet, but autobiographical works, memoirs, are best read by the author; it offers an even more personal glimpse into the life of the author.  The inflection and emotion is unmistakable when the author reads her own work.

Hers is a story that deserves to be heard, not because she’s a black woman, not even because she is a woman, but because she is a person living  beyond the tragedy her early life’s tragic experiences could have made her adult life.

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