Monday, September 13, 2021

The Witches Are Coming by Lindy West


Lindy West is a relatively new author for me. I've never seen or read Shrill, the work from which she drew fame; the first thing of hers I read was her collection of essays about popular films. That collection of essays was one of the funniest things I've ever read. I don't think I've laughed out loud so much since reading David Sedaris's DRESS YOUR FAMILY IN CORDUROY AND DENIM. That collection of essays was the impetus that finally got me to watch The Fugitive. Obviously, I needed to read more of what this woman wrote, asap.

THE WITCHES ARE COMING is quite a different beast from her other book. It's still funny, in parts, but the overall tone is much more despairing and serious. This book was written during Trump's presidency and reflects a lot of growing frustrations shared by people who ended up further marginalized under his callous leadership. A lot of the complaints about this book are about the fact that it's too political and too depressing, but I think that's the point. It's a call to action. Nobody listens to a polite whistle. You need an air horn.

Luckily for me, West has very similar views to me when it comes to politics and pop-culture (the only thing we majorly disagree on is pockets-- I'm sorry but dresses with pockets are the BEST and I will fight you, Lindy West). I found myself agreeing with a lot of what she was saying and also the way she said it. Some might find her essays long and meandering and they do circle around a lot, making multiple loops sometimes before she finally goes back to her original point, but the journey is part of experiencing the destination and some of her side-tangents ended up being really engaging.

Some of the topics she writes about that were particularly noteworthy to me: society's tolerance with problematic or flawed men while condemning women for basically breathing too loud and not being nice enough; bad and/or limited female representation in media-- either in the roles or the production of; why Gwyneth Paltrow is ridiculous (although honestly, this essay was the weakest-- you should check out Cynical Reviews on YouTube for his takedown of both Gwynnie and Goop Lab); South Park and why its creators actually suck a lot; reproductive rights and why they matter; men feeling marginalized even though they're not and how that can lead to violence and bullying of women; and the importance of combating climate change and participating in causes you care about.

It's a pretty big mixed bag of subjects but I really enjoyed most of these essays, and I liked that she chose to end the collection on a note of hope after dealing some pretty emotionally intense truths. My friends had a lukewarm reception to this book on the whole, but I'd honestly recommend it to anyone.

4.5 out of 5 stars

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