Meaty: Essays

By Samantha Irby
Published on September 10th 2013
Published by Curbside Splendor Publishing, Inc.
Source: Purchased
The debut essay collection by Chicago writer and performer, Samantha Irby, creator of

Samantha Irby explodes onto the page in her debut collection of brand-new essays about being a complete dummy trying to laugh her way through her ridiculous life of failed relationships, taco feasts, bouts with Crohn's Disease, & more, all told with the same scathing wit & poignant candor long-time readers have come to expect from her notoriously hilarious blog,

In addition to co-hosting The Sunday Night Sex Show, a sex-positive live lit show, and Guts & Glory, a reading series featuring essayists, Samantha has performed all over Chicago. She opened for Baratunde Thurston during his "How to Be Black" tour. She has been profiled in the Chicago Sun-Times as well as in Time Out Chicago, and her work has appeared on The Rumpus and Jezebel. Samantha and partner Ian Belknap write a comedy advice blog at

I've been a fan of Samantha Irby's blog for a while now, so I was very excited to learn that she was going to be compiling her writing into a book.  In this collection of short essays, Irby is brutally honest about life as a single thirty-something in Chicago and about her life in general.   Some have been previously published in one shape or another on her blog, but I believe that there's an abundance of new content, as well.

Most of these essays are laugh out loud funny.  Irby writes in a very real voice -- I'm pretty sure if you talk to her in person, she isn't going to sound much different than she does in her writings -- so it feels just like she's talking to you as she narrates her adventures in dating, work, college, social life, health challenges, etc.  I really connected with her chapters on dating -- or, more like it, why dating is ridiculous and absurd and it's much nicer and less stressful to sit at home with some ratty yoga pants and take-out, watching Netflix and snuggling with your cat.  I was like, well, yes, you're describing my life perfectly, thank you!  It really should be required reading for single ladies who embrace their single-ness, or, at least, are seeking to.

There's plenty for all readers to enjoy, not just single cat ladies like myself.  If you've ever worked a crappy job, or had a family full of drama, or ever felt like you didn't fit in somewhere, this is a book for you.  And for all of the hilariously funny moments in this book, Irby really hits it out of the park with the essay "My Mother, My Daughter", a touching story about caring for her own chronically ill mother when she was just a young girl.  There are moments of humor in that one, but it is a somber, heartfelt tribute and look back at growing up too fast and having to parent your own parent.

This is basically a blog on paper, so if you're expecting perfect grammar and style and not USING CAPS LOCK TO MAKE A POINT and such, you might be annoyed, but if you've been looking for the internet in paper form, this is a book for you.  Also, there is copious profanity and frank talk about sex, bodies, health, illness, etc., so the book is probably better suited for mature readers.  The content is more relevant to thirty-somethings and up, anyway.  Scroll through a few essays on her blog and you'll know exactly what you're getting yourself into.

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