The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo
by Amy Schumer
I did not so much read this as listen. Ms. Schumer read her own audiobook. This is part of the reason I wanted it in this format. I have liked some of her shows, so I thought that listening to her read it would give me a good sense of mood and voice.
I was surprised. In a couple of ways. I really went into it not knowing about the contents. Was it a memoir? Was it humor essay? Or standup? Or something else altogether? In the end, I think it was a bit of all the above, so something else.
One of the first chapters was titled An Open Letter to My Vagina. Ohhkaay. This is like her standup. I wouldn’t call it raunchy, though. It’s actually very matter of fact. It is also a letter, so it is more than standup. It has humor, but it’s also simply frank.
Another early chapter is called I Am an Introvert. I wonder if this was meant to surprise. Because it did. I also found it hard to believe. People who are introverts don’t go on stage night after night, seeking laughs if they’re introverts. I chose to see this as she feels she’s more of an introvert than many of her counterparts. I was willing to believe that.
It was very real, which is not a very descriptive term, sorry. I should say that it seemed honest, at times visceral. These parts were memoir-ish. She wrote about being suddenly rich, getting on private jets with friends just to go out. She seemed both pleasantly pleased with this and also surprised. Maybe she’s still the girl from the neighborhood, but she likes having the cash. So would I. Good for her.
I expected to be shocked. Her standup is shocking, very honestly sexual. Part of the humor is the shock value. The part that shocked me the most, however, was not about her sexuality, though there were a couple of stories that were sexually frank. I blushed, even though I was sitting alone in my car during my commute. No, what surprised me was her brutally frank discussion of her father, who has MS. She tells the story in parts throughout the book, letting us know in pieces. I forget the exact words, but I believe it was something like, there were three times that her Dad shit his pants.
She is an MS activist. I suspect that she used her brutal honesty to bring attention to her activism. My first thought in hearing the story was that she was crossed a line. I don’t think I would want the public to know my Dad had shit his pants. But in the right context, for the right reasons, I totally get it and applaud her.
Audiobooks are probably not her best medium, however. She came across as reading, which of course she was, but I had expected that as a comedian the timing and rhythm would be more natural. She’s a pro on stage and on screen. Maybe she would have done better if she had seen the book as more of a performance than a reading. It is a minor thing, however.