TWIL: Samantha Irby Is My Hero

I don’t even know where to begin. I've been influenced and inspired by many people over time, but boy howdy.

Last year, when I decided I was going to start reading more frequently, I came across a bright yellow book of essays with a picture of a wet cat on the front. Open to just about anything, I read the free Amazon sample to get a feel for what it was about. It was great. It was from the first essay of the book, "my bachelorette application," where the author “filled out” an application to appear on the ABC reality show. I was simultaneously in stitches and in awe within the first two pages. I bought that book with no hesitation.

We Are Never Meeting In Real Life Book Cover

Samantha Irby is delightful. She is super talented, super funny, and super relatable. We Are Never Meeting In Real Life was such a great book, I couldn’t put it down. I was pretty much sobbing at the end.

If you aren’t familiar with Samantha, which you absolutely should be, she is a writer who runs a blog called bitches gotta eat, where she continues to be great. She’s a fat, black, queer woman from Chicago (er, Evanston) who essentially writes about her life pretty explicitly. Her latest blogpost is about getting her uterus “microwaved.” But everything she writes is like a conversation with a friend who’s telling you about all the weird shit that’s been happening to her while you nod and say, “yeah, same.”

I recently started reading her other book, Meaty. I’m only three essays deep, and I’m already in love with it. In “i want to write your mom’s profile,” which I had to stop reading because it got waaaaaay too relatable way too fast, she talks about awkwardly getting to a party in an outfit she hates that her mom made her wear, and wondering how long she can sit just outside the party before someone comes out and sees her and her off-brand Oreos that she brought. She talks about not wanting to face the humiliation of being the girl that the boys try to avoid during spin the bottle, and how she was one of the smart kids who got to go to the school’s ice cream social for reading a certain amount and would rather watch Wheel of Fortune than deal with a high-stress party situation. I literally slammed my book closed because I felt like I was reading my own life written by someone else. And the way she writes is so fantastic, it was like I was there in this dimly lit house in Evanston, where the mom of the kid hosting the party was sitting in her kitchen doing a crossword puzzle. I could hear the fifth graders laughing and screaming at the party and Samantha’s mother’s nails click-clacking as she she braided Samantha’s hair.

Samantha Irby is part of the reason I started this blog. When I finished WANMIRL, I felt valid (lol). I felt like I could tell my own stories and someone would be interested in reading what I have to say. Someone could relate to me how I related to her. She got me excited about writing - and reading - again. She’s my big sister in my head and I absolutely want to be like her when I grow up.

Check out her blog bitches gotta eat.

Find her books We Are Never Meeting In Real Life and Meaty (recently re-released) and please read them.

Follow her on twitter @wordscience

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