I don’t often write book reviews, and I certainly don’t write them before I’ve finished a book.
I first heard of Shrill by Lindy West when one of my Facebook friends mentioned it, and when I saw a copy in the store I opted to pick it up. And when I started reading it, I could not have wished more that this book had been around when I was a teenager. So I want other girls who are currently teenagers to be able to read it too and feel less alone.
When I was a teenager I felt surrounded by popular culture that told me menstruating was this super great adventure marking the path to motherhood. I feared my period. I didn’t want anything to do with growing up. It was bad enough I was the first girl in my class to have to buy a bra. I didn’t want to spend a lifetime worrying about how hairy my legs looked or whether my eyebrows were thin enough. I didn’t want to wonder if people were judging me for not wearing makeup or wonder if I looked like a fool in makeup.
And in all of this I felt alone. It felt as though every girl around me was blossoming and thrilled about it and I was missing out on the excitement because I was so scared of what came next.
I cannot imagine what it would have been like to read Lindy West’s words instead of Seventeen Magazine. To know that at least one person out there knew. That one other person felt it too. It feels life-changing now. It would have been life-changing then. It would have set into motion all of the things I’ve found out for myself along the way to adulthood. Along the way I have managed to find friends who have made me feel less alone, less different, less wrong.
And so I thank Lindy West for this book. For giving me a book I can hand to my daughter when she’s 14 or 15 knowing that she’ll understand that there are all sorts of girls out there. All of them becoming all sorts of women at their own pace.