Tip of the Cap, Amy.

A Short Critique of Amy Schumer’s The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo

A Note to The Reader:

Let me start by saying I plan to keep these book reviews brief and direct. As an avid reader (and one with a master’s in English) you’d think I’d love articles about the latest and greatest reads. But I don’t. I find most of them much too detailed; I’d rather just get the basics, and read the book to decide for myself whether or not it’s a complete waste of time.

It should also be noted that I’m a bit of a critical asshole when it comes to books. And music. And art. (But I swear I’m a nice person!) It’s just that I take the written word very seriously. There is so much out there (so much!) and I’m a firm believer that we need to separate the wheat from the chaff. (I hold myself to this same standard, which is why I’m giving myself a decade to complete my novel. I’d rather write a single masterpiece than a dozen half-baked pieces of shit.)

And so, let us begin!

Amy Schumer’s The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo (2016)

This is not a book I would typically read. I’m not into stand-up comedy and the only movie of Amy Schumer’s I’ve seen was Trainwreck, of which I wasn’t overly impressed. I also don’t have some obsession with exclusively reading works written by female authors, which I find can be counterproductive to the gender equality initiative I stand for.

But a few Christmases ago I decided it would be fun to ask my friends and family what they were reading, and to download said books to my iPad. As a writer, I aim to stay relevant. And sometimes this means reading works outside my usual, which typically includes: literature, contemporary short stories, and anything by Stephen King.

And so, my best friend had said The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo was currently on her shelf. 

Last month I was struggling with depression, and needed a light-hearted read. Finding Schumer’s memoir on my then-dusty iBooks app, I thought Eh, what the hell. I’ll give it a go.

I could not have been more pleasantly surprised at the depth of Schumer’s tales.

Neatly organized by chapter, Schumer literally had me laughing out loud at her crass yet on-point recounting of life’s intimate moments. I also choked up as she described her relationship with both of her parents. Her tone was earnest, and utterly hilarious at times.

Reading this book was like chatting with an old friend: I found myself comforted, and reminded that we all have stories. We all have memories–many from long ago– that somehow stay with us as we love, grieve, and evolve.

There were many delightful turns-of-phrase, but if I had to pick my favorite, it’s this one:

“Some of us want to look like ourselves. How we were born, a little goofy with some rough angles and some beautiful ones” (Schumer).

I mean… right? Throughout the book Schumer nails just how fucked up our society is, and does it in a refreshing and thoughtful way.

So in closing, I’d highly recommend this book to just about anyone. Curl up on the couch, pour yourself a glass (or three) of wine, and embrace how perfectly imperfect we all are.

Well done, Amy. I think we should be friends.

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